As many of you know, my husband and I adopted our children through foster care when they were toddlers. They each experienced varying levels of early childhood trauma, and as a result have significant but unique mental health issues. Local public schools are too large and do not have the student to counselor ratio needed to provide appropriate services to students with mental health needs like mine.

Over the years two of my children have benefited from the Step Up for Students scholarship, they qualify because of their adoption status and not by income. While my older children now attend public school, my youngest son is currently enrolled in private school. The scholarship does not cover the full cost of his tuition nor does it pay for the additional expenses like book fees, sports fees and other extras. In addition to financial sacrifices we have also had to provide transportation, going out of our way to make sure he gets a good education. We also miss out on the social opportunities within our neighborhood because our son is not in his neighborhood school. I believe that all children deserve a quality education, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances, I’m running to ensure that all kids are provided with the uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality public education required by the state constitution.

I am thankful that as a working class family we have been able to make the sacrifices necessary make sure our children’s educational needs are being met, but this is not a choice parents should have to make. I welcome the day when my youngest can return to public school because that means the public school is fully funded and has the resources they need to provide for his unique needs. There are hundreds of children in the same situation as mine, it’s unjust that our state has decided to push them to the side and I’m running to go to Tallahassee to make sure that we have a school system that works for all.