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Voucher expansion bill advances

The Gradebook reports: Not surprisingly, a bill aimed at increasing the cap for Florida's corporate tax credit scholarship program passed its first Senate committee on Monday along partisan lines.

Sponsor Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, cast the effort as one to provide better educational options to the state's most financially needy students. The program offers low-income students vouchers to private schools.

"The intent is to serve asbolutely the most needy children in our communities," Benacquisto said, criticizing those who labeled the program as vouchers.

She noted that the scholarships help those students while also leaving about 32 percent of the per-student funding behind for other school needs.

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