Now more than ever, families may need assistance to support their choice for the education that best suits their child. Luckily, here in Florida there are many options for scholarships for students of school age.

In 2001, the Florida Legislature created the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to assure that lower-income children have more learning options. In May 2019, nearly 20 years later, the Family Empowerment Scholarship was created by the Florida Legislature to further help lower-income children.

Both scholarships are based on financial need, and income qualification is based on the last 30 days. If you have had a drop in income due to the pandemic, you are encouraged to apply. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) allows families to choose between financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees, OR with transportation costs to attend a public school other than the one the student is assigned to attend. The Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) may only be used towards private school tuition and fees. You can apply at

Florida Tax Credit Eligibility Criteria:

Age Eligibility:

  • Students entering Kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept. 1.
  • Students entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept.1.

Income Eligibility:

  • If a member of the household receives SNAP (food stamps), TANF, or FDPIR, the student may qualify.
  • If the household income qualifies for free or reduce-priced lunch, the student may qualify.
  • If the household income is at/or below the income chart found in the chart below titled “Eligibility Chart”, the student may qualify.
  • Additional FES criteria:
  • The student is eligible to enroll in kindergarten or has spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida public school. Prior attendance means the student was enrolled in and attended a Florida public school during both the October and February student counts.
  • Both FTC and FES applicants only need to income qualify 1 time, rather than re-qualify each year.

You can find the elgibility chart here. Remember, only documentation for the last 30 days is required to qualify. If your income has lowered due to the pandemic, you are encouraged to apply now to secure funds for the upcoming school year, and year thereafter.

In addition to income based scholarships, there are scholarships for unique abilites as well.

The Gardiner Scholarship program helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs was named the Gardiner Scholarship in January of 2016. The name honors Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, who led the legislative effort to create the program, and his family. 

A different kind of scholarship: The Gardiner Scholarship is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.

This scholarship is for Florida students 3 years old through 12th grade or age 22, whichever comes first, with one of the following disabilities: Autism spectrum disorder, Muscular dystrophy, Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Phelan McDermid syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome, Intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment), rare diseases as defined by the National Organization for Rare Disorders, (such as PANDAS), anaphylaxis, deaf, visually impaired, dual sensory impaired, traumatic brain injured, hospital or homebound as defined by the rules of the State Board of Education and evidenced by reports from local school districts, or three, four or five year-olds who are deemed high-risk due to developmental delays.

You can apply at

Also for special abilities there is the McKay Scholarship. The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, originally created in 1999, provides scholarships for eligible students with disabilities to attend an eligible public or private school of their choice. Students with disabilities include K-12 students who are documented as having an intellectual disability; a speech or language impairment; a hearing impairment, including deafness; a visual impairment, including blindness; a dual sensory impairment; an orthopedic impairment, an other health impairment, an emotional or behavioral disability; a specific learning disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia; a traumatic brain injury; a developmental delay; or autism spectrum disorder.

Any parent of a public school student with a disability who has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 accommodation plan may receive a McKay Scholarship if the student meets the following requirements:

  • The student has spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida public school (the student was enrolled and reported by a Florida school district for funding during the preceding October and February FTE surveys in Pre-K through grade 12), or
  • The student received services under the Specialized Instructional Services (SIS) program during the previous school year and has a current IEP developed by the local school board in accordance with State Board Rule or a 504 accommodation plan

Mangrove School of Sarasota is proud to participate in all of these programs; every child should have the opportunity to have the education that is the best fit for them. Now accepting students for 2020-21, preschool through high school.

Now in its 11th year, the annual Sustany Sustainable Business awards recognize businesses and organizations in the Tampa Bay area that are committed to making a positive impact on the planet. Since 2008, more than 120 businesses have received the award. From small local farms to large corporations, this award honors commitments to social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

Mangrove School of Sarasota was thrilled to be included among the honorees this year!
The Sustany Foundation looks at: how each business contributes to the environmental health of Tampa Bay through sustainable environmental practices, their relationship to the area as well as the world through fair and beneficial business practices for employees, community and supply chain, and their ability to provide a positive economic impact in the Tampa Bay community while aligning sustainability values throughout organization.

We are honored to be recognized amongst such fine company for our commitment to sustainable and humanity focused practices in our school and community, and further inspired by fellow nominees and the incredible activities they are involved in to better our area, and the world!

Congratulations to both teams, “Team Garbage” and “Team Spanky” for their impressive showing in the 3rd annual Custom Car Open, (with the theme of “Junkyard”) hosted by the Suncoast Science Center!

Team Garbage (Owen, Ethan and Andre)  once again won the top prize in Design for their age group, with a “Mad Max” themed custom car.  Team Spanky (Viveka, Grace and Trey) won second place in the same category, with a tow truck design!

We are so proud at their exceptional skills at the lab, bringing their visions to life! It is particularly impressive considering that we are a school that eschews technology in the younger years, allowing the students to build capacities such as creativity and resourcefulness. Once they are given these other tools, not only do they learn to use them quickly, but they are capable of bringing in this wonderfully imaginative element, outside the box thinking, and focus yielding effective and innovative designs!

It was quite a detailed process!  “The lab was accessible throughout the build time prior to the race.  Participants had access to 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, dremels, design software, electronics and an vast assortment of hand tools for fabricating their designs.  An example of creativity and a new understanding for making things is CAD(Computer Aided Design).  This software creates a 3D rendering created from a sketch that can be generated into a parametric mesh of triangles and 3D printed. The 3D printer machine heats up a nozzle that extrudes and layers a plastic filament starting on a base until the model is complete.  The vinyl cutter uses a knife to make the cuts from sketch lines made in Coreldraw, a 2D vector design software.  The cutter was used to outline the stickers that were transferred to the shirts teams wore.  Volunteers and staff are always in the lab to help transform an idea into something to behold!”, explained Eric McGrath, of the Suncoast Science Center.

AND Team Garbage also won the entire contest over all age groups, and all schools!!!!!  That is some impressive building kids!  

Last but not least, congratulations on their pure sportmanship, with kind words to competing teams, and admirable conduct throughout the day.  A very special nod to Mangrove Dad, Bryan Suter, who helped ANY team who needed his expertise.  In fact, in the last heat it was Bryan who was able to get the competing team’s car to work, with a battery loan from the “e-lemon- aters” (another wonderful team in the open)!  He is an authentic example of  respect, honor, and virtue.  Thank you, Bryan!

Thank you to all the parents who made many trips to the lab to support your child’s passion: Keshara Alleyne, Jasen and Yolanda Benoit, Natalie and Christ Maute, Jennifer and Bryan Suter, and Abel and Lisiane Jimenez!  What a commitment to make, and another excellent example for the kids!

Did you know there is now an income based scholarship for low AND middle income Florida families?

Now in its 15th year, Florida Tax Credit Scholarships are now being made available to middle income families for the first time!

The current award amount for a full scholarship  for 2016-17 is $5886.

This amount is awarded to students with household incomes not exceeding 185% of the poverty level.  Beginning this year, partial scholarships, from 88% to 50% of the total full award amount, will be provided to students whose household income is too high to qualify for the full scholarship.

Click here for complete income guidelines

The partial scholarships will be available for students with household incomes up to $62,010 for a household of four, with the amount of scholarship reduced in proportion with increase of income.

The 2016-17 school year application are now available.

Income-based scholarship login

Families are encouraged to apply as soon as applications become available.  Students with household incomes not exceeding 185% of poverty will still receive full scholarships and will receive first priority.

Our school offers an affordable tuition program, in addition to accepting the Tax Credit Scholarship, McKay, and PLSA scholarships.  We have also initiated a Tuition Service Credit Program for those who do not qualify for the aforementioned scholarships, but desire a progressive private education for their child.  TSC applications are processed through after the student has applied and been accepted to our school.

It is our ultimate goal to have this form of education available to all who seek it for their child.

If you have any questions, please call our office at 941.927.3711

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