FES--Special Needs (Gardiner Program)

Note: On 7-1-21, the Gardiner program became part of the Family Empowerment Scholarship program. The FES--Special Needs part of the program applies to some Florida Unschoolers students. There is information here about the new law: https://www.stepupforstudents.org/legislative-updates/?fbclid=IwAR08oMoqFlGea5SLHrKYbh1bk2ipsOIS99m2svTvn2y7ES5YrcPq3xMzXbI


General Information:

The FES--Special Needs program provides funding for some special needs students who are not enrolled in public school.

The organizations that manage the funding, Step Up for Students (SUFS) and AAA, each have their own process.

SUFS requires a letter from Florida Unschoolers verifying that your child is enrolled but your child will not be funded until cross-checks with the public school system confirm they are not enrolled in public school. SUFS can have a substantial waitlist.

AAA also requires a letter confirming enrollment with Florida Unschoolers but classifies Florida Unschoolers students as homeschoolers which is not, technically, correct.

If your child is enrolled with Florida Unschoolers and you need a letter confirming their enrollment for your FES-Special Needs application, request a letter by email -- director@floridaunschoolers.net -- include your child's name, birthdate, and the grade they will be listed in with the FES program.

For more information, contact SUFS or AAA.

SUFS -- https://www.stepupforstudents.org/

AAA -- https://www.aaascholarships.org/

The FL DOE has some information here -- https://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/fes/

There are also Facebook groups run by parents using this program. Here are a few:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/gardinermckaydvocacy
https://www.facebook.com/groups/687587161325676/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1849264868489345
https://www.facebook.com/groups/942029432618856
https://www.facebook.com/groups/FLPLSAparents