A Christian homeschool in dire financial straits after a delay in receiving Florida per-student payments under its school choice law has suddenly started to see some cash.
Generations Christian Homeschool in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, was missing state payments that were supposed to arrive in early September – and had warned this week it would run out if options if the state didn’t come through soon, according to the local CBS News station.
But an email sent by The Lion Wednesday morning to the press office of Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was immediately referred to the state’s Education Department by Jeremy Redfern, the press secretary for the governor.
Generations Christian founder Paola Mendoza says she had several calls about the issue from the state Wednesday, though it’s unclear whether the governor’s office’s swift action was in response to The Lion’s inquiry.
“A lady called me a couple times yesterday [from the state]. And she was trying to figure out if there was something wrong with what I had done or the system to see why I have not gotten paid,” Mendoza told The Lion Thursday. “I actually checked the account [Thursday] morning at 5:30, and I noticed that they had [made] some payments.”
Previously, Mendoza was relying on contributions from students’ families to bridge the gap, but said that she was afraid that couldn’t last much longer.
“Right now, the people who are able to pay out of pocket are the ones holding the fork if you would,” Mendoza told the local TV news station. “I’m really conservative in my spending, and I don’t have any debt and I feel like that’s how we’ve been able to hold this long.”
One parent said she was doing the best she could to come up with the money to support her child’s education, but the family has limited means.
“We scrounged together what we could to make some form of payment to contribute, but again, not something we were planning for in our budget,” parent Melissa Martz told the CBS station. “Things are already tight for all of us even just buying food and the daily things that we need to survive. So, we would have never taken on an extra expense thinking that we were going to have to try to cut corners and come up with extra money, which is basically the position we’ve been put in.”
Mendoza said that so far the growing school has 90 students, 64% of whom are enrolled in the state’s school choice program. Mendoza said the state owes the school about $87,000 for the quarter.
Generations Christian Homeschool is used as a supplement to parent-led learning and social training. The school provides expert teachers that “develop students to be Jesus’ disciples by instructing them in biblical teachings, individualized education, hands-on learning and academic excellence,” the school’s website says.
Mendoza said that while they’re not completely out of the woods yet, the payments are a big relief.
“I still haven’t figured out how much of it or how many payments, and I’m hoping that is going to just continue to come, that it’s not going to be any issue at all anymore,” Mendoza told The Lion. “But I think we’ve made quite a bit of progress. And, you know, I’m very, very thankful.”