Editor’s note: A bill to simplify Florida’s education choice scholarship programs cleared its first committee hurdle earlier today in a 6-4 vote along party lines. Among those speaking in favor of the bill was Osceola County School Board member Jon Arguello. Here are his remarks.
Good morning, Chair Gruters, members of the committee. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to address you this morning in support of this bill. I am Jon Arguello, Osceola County School Board member representing District 3.
I represent a heavily left-learning, minority-majority county. I can with confidence say that the community I represent is in support of this bill. The issues this bill addresses are directly related to the shortcomings and challenges school districts and families are facing. I know this as it was a large part of our discussions at our board meeting last night.
As a policymaker, I know this bill counts. As a father of five and a member of my community, I know this bill helps. The advancement of this bill is not just a consolidation but an enhancement that helps our children not only attend these schools but succeed with the resources necessary to achieve academic excellence. In other words, words it’s a refinement that extends the scholarships’ intent, reduces the social-technology gap, and increases the opportunity for true equity.
The bottom line is that these scholarships, and school choice in general, are a godsend to parents with needs that are not, or cannot, be met by the traditional environment.
To delay the passage of this bill is to delay an immeasurable number of educational opportunities for children. I ask that you continue to fight and bring this bill home where it will convert to brighter futures for thousands of deserving but disadvantaged students, not only in the county of Osceola, but in the entire state.
Thank you, Chair Gruters and members of the committee.