DeSantis suspends school choice scholarships to schools with 'ties to the Chinese Communist Party'

A spokesperson for two of the affected schools denied the allegations.

Ron DeSantis, Las Vegas, Nov. 2022
Ron DeSantis, Las Vegas, Nov. 2022
(Scott Olson/Getty)

Published: September 24, 2023 7:49am

Updated: September 24, 2023 11:14am

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' office announced that four schools will no longer receive school choice scholarships after an investigation from the state education department found the schools allegedly had "direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party."

DeSantis' announcement Friday targets the Lower and Upper Sagemont Preparatory Schools in Weston, located west of Fort Lauderdale, and the Parke House Academy and Park Maitland School, both of which are located in Winter Park, a northern suburb of Orlando.

A spokesperson from Park Maitland Schools told Just the News that the schools were not informed that their eligibility for the program would be suspended before DeSantis' announcement and that they are seeking more information while working to ensure students can remain enrolled.

"Our schools are locally run, abide by local, state, and federal laws, and do not have ties to any government or political party, either foreign or domestic. Our curriculum is accredited, standards-based, and academically rigorous," the spokesperson also said.

The education department is working with non-profit scholarship groups to help students who are affected by the measure enroll in nearby schools. 

"The Chinese Communist Party is not welcome in the state of Florida," DeSantis said. "We will not put up with any attempt to influence students with a communist ideology or allow Floridians’ tax dollars to go to schools that are connected to our foreign adversaries."

The announcement comes after DeSantis signed a bill in May prohibiting any school affiliated with certain foreign countries from participating in the state's school choice scholarship programs.

The schools impacted by the decision state on their websites that they are part of Spring Education Group, a private school network, which is controlled by Primavera Holdings Limited, an investment firm "owned by Chinese persons residing in Hong Kong."

Sagemont Preparatory Schools has not responded to Just the News' requests for comment.

The decision to ax scholarships comes as concerns are rising about the Chinese Communist Party’s alleged U.S. classroom influence schemes. The U.S. House held a hearing on the matter last week.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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