2020 Legislative Initiative

Revising the McKay Funding Formula


The Coalition of McKay Scholarship schools has been concerned with the disparity between the scholarship amounts for McKay students and other scholarship programs.  McKay students’ scholarships at the 251 levels and the 504 students are lower than scholarships for students on the new Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES).  We ran a comparison on several large counties and several small counties.


County K-3




McKay 504




McKay 251

4-8 McKay 251 9-12 McKay 251
Large Counties          
Broward $6,989 $5,192 $6,250 $5,855 $5,536
Duval $6,985 $5,176 $6,170 $5,771 $5,472
Dade $7,123 $5,283 $6,353 $5,961 $5,638
Small Counties          
Gulf $7,734 $4,940 $5,892 $5,523 $5,236
Liberty $7,916 $4,967 $5,909 $5,543 $5,259
Jefferson $8,801 $5,365 $6,334 $5,962 $5,670


Since the Family Empowerment Scholarship is based on the FEFP as is the McKay Scholarship, The Coalition began asking how this disparity has occurred.

The McKay Scholarship statute states “The calculated amount shall include the per-student share of supplemental academic instruction funds, instructional materials funds, technology funds, and other categorical funds as provided in the General Appropriations Act.”  This is but one part of the McKay funding formula, however, it is the main reason for the difference between McKay Scholarships and Family Empowerment Scholarships.

The McKay Scholarship has had only 3 categoricals (supplemental academic instruction funds, instructional materials funds, technology funds) used in the scholarship funding formula.  When FES was developed, the 17 categoricals (as they applied to individual districts) were factored into the funding formula.  This along with each student being assigned “95 percent of the funds per unweighted full-time equivalent in the Florida Education Finance Program for a student in the basic program…” also added to the scholarship amount.  (McKay receives 90% we have been told; it is not stated in the statute.)

McKay’s statute does indicate that “other categorical funds as provided in the General Appropriations Act” may be applied to the scholarship.  No additional categoricals have ever been applied.

The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools has begun working with legislators and other stakeholders to address this disparity in the funding formula.  For some students, especially in the 504 and 251 levels, it could make a difference of $2,000 in scholarship funding.  We will keep you posted.


Make an appointment with your state representative and senator.  Invite them to your school.  Educate them on what the McKay Scholarship does for children and families (see our fact sheet).  Alert them to what we are attempting to do.