Florida Session Week 5 Highlights: Bills, Budgets and More

Florida Session Week 5 Highlights: Bills, Budgets and More

Friday, February 9, 2018

Week 5 Highlights

Florida policymakers continued to advance several pieces of student-friendly legislation and began formalizing the budget in each chamber.

  • The Senate Pre K-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee passed legislation that increases access to Computer Science Education to students.
  • The Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee passed the Hope Scholarship bill which gives parents of a student who has been bullied or harassed the option to transfer to another school, public or private.
  • The Senate and House passed their respective appropriation bills; both include increases in per-student funding.

College and Career Readiness:

More students will have access to computer science courses under legislation sponsored by Senator Kathleen Passidomo. SB 1056

 passed its second committee, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Pre K-12 Education on Thursday. This bill will dramatically increase the number of students with access to computer science courses across Florida. To incentivize teacher participation, the bill also provides opportunities for bonuses for teachers who become computer-science certified.

Ensuring more access to dual enrollment courses, SB 1064

, sponsored by Senator Dennis Baxley, was passed by the Senate Higher Education Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday. The bill ensures all students, including private school students, have free, open access to dual enrollment courses at their local state colleges.

Legislative changes made in 2012 and 2014 have limited private school students access to dual enrollment courses by making each private school negotiate an articulation agreement with local colleges.

Educational Opportunity:

On Tuesday, the Florida House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee passed HB 1035

, sponsored by Representative Jennifer Sullivan. The legislation expands the Personalized Learning pilot project to include any school district that chooses to participate and provides flexibility to participating districts regarding awarding of grades and the awarding of class credits for college transcripts.

Budget Appropriations Continues:

This week House leadership unveiled the chamber’s preliminary budget, which increases Florida’s per-pupil funding by $100. Senate leaders published their preliminary budget this week, which also includes an increase in K-12 funding to $110 per student.

However, there are two items that are either missing or underfunded:

Gardiner Scholarship Growth Funding

 – Neither preliminary budget includes funding to ensure the 1,300 students with special needs who are waiting to participate in the program can have access to a customize education.

Assistance to Low Performing Schools

 – With both chambers heading into the budget conference period with slightly different totals in the line item for the AP Partnership, Florida’s successful program that expands access to Advanced Placement courses, especially for underserved students, we have an opportunity to advocated for the increase we have been discussing. Restoring funding to the partnership, would ensure Florida continues to help students earn college credit while in high school, saving families millions of dollars each year.

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