LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) — When Valerie Burks first reached out to 8 On Your Side, she said the scholarships she receives for her kids’ special education were a month late.
“It definitely means a lot to where I am able to do it with him and get it done,” Burks explained.
The Land O’ Lakes mother said she uses state vouchers handed out by Step Up for Students, a nonprofit.
When the money didn’t come, she said her older son, Josiah, had to stop online school, and she was running out of homeschool books for her younger son, Joel.
“It’s been very stressful, wondering if anything else was going to go wrong,” Burks said. “If we’re still not going to be funded.”
After 8 On Your Side reached out to Step Up for Students, it said Burks’ sons had mismatched ID numbers, which is why they didn’t get their money sooner.
The nonprofit said the money would come in early November, hopefully before November 1. But on that date, Burks said the money wasn’t there, so we contacted Step Up for Students again.
“I reached out to you and you were able to get an answer right away,” Burks said. “It was good that somebody can, because I couldn’t.”
A week after 8 On Your Side followed up, the money hit Burks’ account. In a statement, Step Up for Students said, “We’re pleased that Josiah and Joel are among the more than 360,000 K-12 students in Florida whose scholarships provide their families more options to choose the education environment that works best for them. We’re also glad to report that over 99 percent of second-quarter student accounts have been funded, with the rest being funded this week. Payments to schools will commence this week.”
Though Burks said she’ll probably have to cut into her boys’ summer next year to finish school, she said they know it’s important.
“Feels really good that I reached out to you guys,” Burks said. “That we were able to get something done because I was on pins and needles, not knowing what was next for my kids’ future.”