Among parent and educator advocates speaking Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee in favor of legislation that would streamline scholarship programs for Florida’s schoolchildren was Jerold Maynard. The firefighter and father of two spoke in favor of SB 48, which would eliminate the requirement that students applying for a Family Empowerment Scholarship or a McKay Scholarship must have attended a public school during the previous year.

Here are Maynard’s remarks:

Hello, I’m Jerold Maynard. I’m from Apopka and live with my wife and daughters in Senator Bracy’s district.

My wife, Jessica, and I are firm believers that every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, and that is why I am here today.

We have made great sacrifices, including taking second jobs, to send our daughters to Trinity Christian, a school we felt was best for them.

But the pandemic created financial difficulties that made it impossible for us to afford the tuition.

Our daughters were heartbroken when we had to withdraw them from a school family they loved so much.

I’m not sure if any of you are parents, but I can tell you that predictability is a stabilizing force for children, and in a time when depression rates for our youth are at an all-time high, commitment to this is critical.

Ironically, now that the girls are in public school, they meet the prior-year requirement for the Family Empowerment Scholarship. But no family should have to pull their kids out of a school that works for them.

I’m glad Senator Diaz’s bill eliminates the prior-year public rule. Please pass this bill so future parents do not have to go through the struggles my family experienced trying to give our daughters the best education we could afford.

Thank you.

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