John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Scholarship Information for Students searching for John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities, Vouchers are provided to public school students with exceptional needs who have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 plans to attend private or other public schools via the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities.

The Florida legislature expanded the program in 2000. The Florida Family Empowerment Scholarship (Unique Abilities ESA Program) will incorporate this program in 2022–2023.

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You may find information on the most recent program specifics, including eligibility, funding, rules, legal background, and more, on this website.

Through Florida’s school choice programs, parents can choose the finest public or private educational environment for their child.


The McKay Scholarship Program for students with disabilities will make it possible for close to 30,000 special needs students in Florida to attend a participating private school in the 2021–2022 academic year. Parents who qualify for the McKay Scholarship Program may also move their eligible child to another public school.

John M. McKay Scholarships for Disabled Students requirements

Vouchers can be worth up to 100% of each student’s funding under the Florida Education Finance Plan, but funding cannot be greater than the tuition and fees for private schools. Based on the district’s services offered under the student’s IEP or 504 plan, calculations are made. Parents are allowed to add their own money to tuition vouchers.

On July 1st, 2022, the McKay Scholarship Program will be added to the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program under the Unique Abilities section (FES UA).

Present McKay families will have the option of continuing to send their children to their current public or private school of choice or using the extra possibilities provided by the FES UA education savings account model to further tailor their child’s educational experience to their particular requirements.

Qualifications for Students under John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

IEPs or 504 plans for disabled students who have attended public schools for at least a year are required. If the state’s Office of Early Learning reports that a student received specialized instructional services in prekindergarten or if they transfer to a private school in a year in which they were previously enrolled in a public kindergarten in October, they may also qualify for kindergarten without enrolling in public school. The previous public schooling requirement does not apply to foster students or dependents of active duty military personnel who moved to Florida from another state as part of a military assignment.

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school prerequisites:

  • Applicants should be accepted by the government
  • Annual sworn compliance reports for all local and state health and safety codes must be submitted to the state.
  • Observe the 42 U.S.C. 2000d statutory nondiscrimination rules.
  • Teachers and other school employees must submit to federal background checks before working with scholarship recipients.
  • A bachelor’s degree, three years of teaching experience, or specialized knowledge are requirements for teachers.
  • The value of the scholarship payments for one quarter must be covered by a surety bond or letter of credit for schools that have been in operation for less than three years.
  • A minimum of 170 actual school days must be covered by the instruction program.
  • The Florida Department of Education should be notified whenever a scholarship recipient leaves the institution.
  • Confirm participants’ enrollment three to four times per year
  • Report student’s advancement to parents annually

John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Learning disabilities

Legal History

On January 4, 2019, the Florida Supreme Court in Community members for Strong Schools v. Florida Education Board rejected a claim that the state did not adequately fund education, marking the end of a 10-year litigation effort.

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The high court also maintained Florida’s alternative education programs due to the plaintiff’s failure to properly preserve their arguments all through the litigation.

The high court proclaimed two lower court rulings (Citizens for Strong Schools, Inc. v. Florida State Board of Education, No. CA-4534 (Fla. 2d. Jud. Cir. May 24, 2016; and Residents for Positive Schools v. Florida State Board of Education, No. 1D16-2862 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 13, 2017).

John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Conclusion

keeping that plaintiffs could have no standing to sue regarding the taxi credit scholarship program and that Florida’s school choice programs did not divert state funding or have any detrimental effect on Florida’s system of public schools.

Bush v. Holmes, 886 So. 2d 340 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004), aff’d on other grounds, 919 So. 2d 392 (Fla. 2006), the Florida Supreme Court’s earlier decision opposing vouchers, the Court also held that the McKay voucher program was advantageous and legal. Florida State Board of Education v. Citizens for Strong Schools, case no. SC18-67 (FL. Jan. 4, 2019)

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