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DeSantis Expands Empowerment Scholarship, Provides COVID Update

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants children from the state’s low-income backgrounds to have all the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.

Speaking at Cristo Rey Tampa Salesian High School in Tampa on Thursday, the governor signed a bill that expands Florida’s Family Empowerment Scholarship.

The scholarship is intended to help children from low-income and working class families get into the schools that best fit their needs.

“If we in the state of Florida can say, we’re doing everything we can to make sure that any child, regardless of income, regardless of income status, regardless of race and ethnicity, has tools to be able to make the most of the God-given talent,” DeSantis said.

The governor added that the expansion of the initiative will essentially clear the wait list for the scholarship, and will end up helping around 30,000 students in the state annually.

“We believed that we wanted those kids off the wait list,” he explained. “We wanted to be able to empower parents. Many of them are low-income parents. Many of them are single mothers.”

On Wednesday, DeSantis also signed a $500 million education funding bill that increases the minimum salary for public and charter school teachers.

“That will, one, reward teachers who are doing a good job,” DeSantis said while signing that legislation. “It’ll also help us continue to recruit people into the profession.”

DeSantis also provided an update on Thursday regarding the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, again asking Floridians to avoid crowded spaces and close quarters.

“Outdoors in Florida is better than the air conditioning in terms of the virus,” DeSantis said, adding that many COVID-19 outbreaks have been traced back to multi-generational homes. “The spread outdoors is minimal. If you’re cooped up inside, you just tend to have more spread.”

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 114,018 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 5,004 cases from Wednesday.