Editor’s note: At a bill signing ceremony Tuesday for school choice bill HB 7045, which is projected to expand education choice to 61,000 additional students, parents spoke to lawmakers about how this landmark legislation will impact their families’ lives. Among them was Lina Zelcer of Miami Beach, whose daughter, Chana Sofia, attends a local Orthodox Jewish day school.

Good afternoon, my name is Lina Zelcer, and I’m especially proud and happy to be here, to be a part of this event, because this new Florida education choice scholarship law will allow me to fulfill a promise to my late husband.

My daughter, Chana Sofia, was only 2 years old when her father died of a brain tumor at the age 39. I promised him that I would do everything in my power to give our daughter the best education and Jewish guidance that she can get. But as a widowed mom who works full time to put food on the table, it has been difficult to pay tuition to her private school that she loves.

So, I need help.

I was devastated when my application for the Family Empowerment Scholarship was rejected simply because Chana had not previously attended a public school. I was surprised how in the middle of a global pandemic, a single mom like me wasn’t able to have the chance to receive a little support for my daughter’s education.

Thankfully, this bill that Gov. DeSantis is signing into law today removes that public school requirement, which means Chana Sophia will be eligible to receive the scholarship and I will receive the financial help I need to keep her in a school where she feels safe, and loved, and is doing well academically and spiritually.

And, I will be able to fulfill my promise to my husband.

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