Florida Session Week 4 Highlights: Bills, Budgets and More

Florida Session Week 4 Highlights: Bills, Budgets and More

Friday, February 2, 2018

Week 4 Highlights

In addition to unveiling preliminary budgets, Florida policymakers advanced several pieces of student-friendly legislation.

  • Senate Education committee members passed legislation that ensures all students have free, open access to dual enrollment courses.
  • Legislation to give bullied students the opportunity to move to a safer school passed the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.
  • Senate and House leaders released preliminary appropriation bills, which both include per-student funding increases.  

College and Career Readiness:

SB 1064, sponsored by Senator Dennis Baxley, passed the Florida Senate Education committee on Monday. The bill ensures all students have free, open access to dual enrollment courses at their local state colleges.

Educational Opportunity:

On Tuesday, the Florida House Subcommittee on Education passed HB 1, sponsored by Representative Byron Donalds.

The legislation gives the parents of students who have been subjected to bullying or harassment the option of attending another public school or using a scholarship to attend a private school. Identical language included in HB 7055 passed the House Appropriations Committee this week.

To learn more about how this legislation would help bullied students, read Let’s give victimized students Hope! by Representative Donalds.

Preliminary Budget Appropriations:

This week, the appropriations bills for both chambers passed their appropriations committees. Both bills propose increases in per-pupil funding by approximately $100.

However, two important items are either missing or underfunded:

Gardiner Scholarship Program

Neither preliminary budget includes funding to ensure the 1,300 students with special needs who are on the program's wait list have access to a customized education.

Assistance to Low-Performing Schools

While the House’s budget maintains the current funding level for Florida’s College Board partnership, the Senate’s budget includes a decrease. Florida’s success in expanding access to Advanced Placement courses, especially for underserved students, is a direct result of this partnership.

Florida ranks first in AP exam participation and third in the nation for improvement over the last decade. Since 1999, both Hispanic and African-American student participation in AP courses has increased by more than 600 percent.

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