Gov. DeSantis Works Towards Increasing Funding for Scholarships Benefiting Special Needs Children



Governor Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey DeSantis.

Natali Barias, Reporter

On Monday, February 4, 2018, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis announced his proposed plan to increase funding on the Gardiner Scholarship.

The Gardiner Scholarship was created in 2014 to provide funding for students with special needs. Conditions that qualify for this scholarship are Down Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, along with other intellectual disabilities.  This scholarship aids families in paying for schooling that normally would not be affordable. As of right now there are roughly 2,000 people on the waiting list. This new plan will work to eliminate the student wait list entirely.

DeSantis announced his plan at The North Florida School of Special Education in Jacksonville Florida. Parents at the school greeted DeSantis’s new plan with cheering and applause.  DeSantis plans to add an additional $19 million to the Gardiner Scholarship. By providing this money to students, parents are given a choice about which school their children go to.

Both Senate budget, Chair Rob Bradley, and House budget chair, Travis Cummings, were optimistic about DeSantis’s plan. Although many are supportive of this plan, there have been some concerns. House Speaker, Jose Oliva, stated that the legislature will be looking over DeSantis’s plan very carefully. In addition he reminded the public that, “The Constitution requires a balanced budget” while still respecting “Florida’s taxpayers by spending each dollar wisely.”  DeSantis responded to Oliva’s comment by stating that the he has meticulously thought the budget through. According to DeSantis, the budget will have a “1.4 billion dollar surplus.” Many are hoping that the Florida State Legislature approves of the plan.