Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has been a leader in advocating for the expansion of the popular Gardiner Scholarship so more families can find the best learning atmosphere for their children with special needs.  It only takes a few minutes for Floridians to contact their lawmaker in the House and encourage them to join the Senate and increase funding to serve more families.

Highlights:

In just a few clicks, Florida families can also ask Senators to help more students by adopting House proposals on the Florida Empowerment Scholarship. More details below.

Research finds that Florida’s Tax-Credit Scholarship program helps ALL students succeed.

Interested in learning more about school choice or want to find out if your student is eligible for any scholarships? Here’s a new website that makes it easy!

Elaine Roberts’ son has thrived in a new learning environment where smaller class sizes and focused instruction have helped him thrive. Elaine met with Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, to encourage his support.

Legislative Update

OPPORTUNITY

  • SB 1220, sponsored by Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr. was approved Tuesday by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. There are many good components in the bill, but as a statement by our Executive Director, Patricia Levesque, said, students and families will have more educational opportunities if the Senate adopts proposals in House Bill 7067. SB 1220 would:
    • Increase the number of scholarships available annually for the Florida Empowerment Scholarship Program;
    • Allow students receiving a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship to remain in the program regardless of increase in household income; and
    • Provide additional educational and professional development options for teachers.
  • HB 7067, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, passed the House Appropriations Committee. Patricia Levesque, our Executive Director, praised the bill. The bill:
    • Increases the number of scholarships available annually for the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program;
    • Expands eligibility for the Florida Empowerment Scholarship by removing the prior public school requirement for grades 1 and 2;
    • Provides an automatic 25% increase in household income eligibility when more than 5% of total available scholarships have not been awarded;
    • Allows students receiving a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship to remain in the program regardless of increase in household income;
    • Modifies other provisions regarding Hope Scholarships, Gardiner Scholarship Program, standardized assessments, civic literacy and Pathways in Technology Early College High School Program.
  • HB 7097, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill requires that school capital outlay surtaxes approved by voters in the future be proportionately shared with charter schools. Several other tax reductions and tax-related modifications are included in this bill.

 

INNOVATION

  • HB 523, sponsored by Rep. Nick DiCeglie, R-Largo, which would allow additional school districts and lab schools to apply to the Mastery-based Education Pilot Program, has passed the House and is waiting to be heard in the Senate.

 

QUALITY

  • SB 836, sponsored by Sen. David Simmons, R-Longwood, passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill would include incentive funding in the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) for school districts with students earning an Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma and a standard high school diploma.
  • SB 1688, sponsored by Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. The bill revamps early learning programs, including the Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK) Program and School Readiness.

 

MILITARY

  • HB 171, sponsored by Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Fort Walton Beach, passed the House floor and was sent to the Senate.  The bill would:
    • Provide a uniform process for active military and veterans to earn postsecondary credit and clock hours for military education and credentials; and
    • Requires the Board of Governors and State Board of Education to annually adopt the Articulation Coordinating Committee’s list of postsecondary course equivalencies and minimum postsecondary credit or career education clock hours that must be awarded for courses taken and occupations held by individuals while serving in the military.

HB 395, a Transportation bill by Rep. Alex Andrade, R-Pensacola, includes language that extends the time a servicemember has to apply for a commercial driver license after they separate from the military. The bill passed the House State Affairs Committee.