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Teachers union to take legal action against controversial voucher law

The statewide teachers union is taking legal action against a new law that expands the school voucher program and creates new scholarships for children with special needs.

The Florida Education Association will release details Wednesday during a 10 a.m. news conference in Tallahassee. Vice President Joanne McCall, attorney Ron Meyer and Lee County social studies teacher Tom Faasse are expected to speak.

SB 850 passed on the last day of the legislative session.

One of its more controversial provisions expands the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program, which provides private-school scholarships to children from low-income families. The new language increases the amount of the scholarship beginning in 2016-17 and allows children from higher-income families to receive partial scholarships.

The law also creates a new program allowing students with profound disabilities to access state dollars for tutoring, educational materials and therapeutic services. The policy was a priority for former Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future.

The union opposed both policies, saying they would drain money from public schools. Several parent groups also fought the bill, along with the Florida Conference of NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens.