It is hard to believe that what started as a conversation with the board of The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools and Dr. Patricia Hardman, director of Dyslexia Research Institute, has become a reality. Children with 504 plans HAVE become eligible for the McKay Scholarship.
While The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools and Dyslexia Research Institute led the charge on Capitol Hill with many trips to Tallahassee by President Steve Hicks, Robyn Rennick and Patricia Hardman, many others joined to lend expertise and efforts to this mission. Special thanks go to Marion Hammer for her support and behind-the-lines guidance. We want to thank Patricia Levesque of Foundations for Florida’s Future and her assistance with the drafting of the bill and her public testimonies. James Herzog of The Florida Catholic Conference stood shoulder-to- shoulder with us, championing the cause of parents and children on 504 plans. Adam Emerson with Step Up for Students assisted with the early research concerning 504 Plans.
Of course, the legislative process could not have moved forward without the assistance of the legislators and their aides. We want to thank Senator Wise who has stood by the McKay Scholarship and championed children with disabilities since the beginning of the scholarship program. Representative Bileca, a freshman representative, carried the bill forward in the House and every time he spoke, he showed that he truly understood the issue and was committed to helping parents receive access to the McKay Scholarship. Thank you to Alex Garcia and Dee Alexander, the assistants to the legislators who helped us through the process.
Always, we want to thank former Senator John McKay for beginning this wonderful program and for his words of encouragement and support earlier in the session through the article in The Bradenton Herald. His legacy to Florida’s children lives on and continues to grow.
Final thanks go to all the school administrators, parents, and other individuals who called their representatives and senators and urged them to pass these bills. Your voice was heard.
We’d like to encourage you to check your Representative or Senator’s vote on the issue and then contact them with a thank-you if they voted for the bill.