Schooling in Sarasota & Manatee

Welcome to Florida!

Or... Perhaps just welcome to parenthood local!

There are many diverse options in both public schools, and private schools in our local Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  In the State of Florida, we have Scholarships offered for familes based on income: both the Florida Tax-Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship, as well as for children who have disabilities  or special needs and need additional assistance: the Gardiner Scholarship

In Sarasota County the School Board offers School Choiceclick here to learn about how School Choice in Sarasota works

The Gardiner Scholarship

The Gardiner Scholarship program helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs. The name honors Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, who led the legislative effort to create the program, and his family. Gardiner and his wife Camille have championed the cause of children with unique abilities for many years. The Gardiners have two daughters and a son, Andrew, who has Down syndrome.

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.


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.

Applications usually* open in late winter early spring. 

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.

McKay Scholarships info and applicaton for your student can be found here:

Florida Private School Directory -

search here for a private school near you and use criteria to determine if they accept scholarships, Military School , Religous (and if so what denomination), Certifications etc.