(the Center Square) — Education in the Sunshine State went through a flurry of changes this session and several education-related bills could be directed to the governor’s office once lawmakers return from the Easter recess.
House Bill 633 is sponsored by state Rep. Michelle Salzman, R-Cantonment, and removes penalties for schools that exceed allowable class sizes, a requirement that must be met in order to receive funding from the Florida Education Funding Program. the invoice He is set to make his way to the Senate floor, after the House passed him 110-3.
HP 679 It contains penalties for public colleges and universities that accept gifts or grants or have agreements with any college, university, or entity related to a foreign country of interest and the bill is under second reading in the House calendar. Sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Kennedy, R-Lakeland, the bill identifies several countries of concern such as China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria and Venezuela.
Senate Bill 780 Sponsored by Sen. Alexis Calatayud, R-Miami, it is designed to better integrate computer science into elementary school curricula and is currently with the Senate Education Appropriations Committee. The bill additionally provides bonuses for qualified teaching staff who teach elementary computer science classes, where previously bonuses were only available to middle and high school teachers.
SB926 Provides flexibility for school-specific assessments for full-time students at the Florida Virtual School, who are part of active-duty military families and who reside outside of Florida. Now on the Senate Appropriations Committee and sponsored by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, the bill allows children of active military members to take their school exams at a later date if they are prevented from doing so by their parents’ absence.
SB 1328 He currently serves with the Senate Appropriations Committee and is overseen by Senator Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton. The bill outlines a proposed splitting of the additional tax between eligible charter schools and school districts. To be eligible, charter schools must have been in operation for at least two years, be governed by a board established in the state for the same period of time, be accredited by a regional accrediting association designated by the state board of education and have acceptable student achievement rates.
SB 1564 Introduced by State Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, it is a pilot program that, if enacted, would be implemented in five school districts in Florida to study the impacts, benefits, and scheduling options of a year-round school program. School districts apply to the Department of Education to be part of the program and must include in their application the number of students enrolled, the rates of achievement, absenteeism and commitment of teaching staff, and how they plan to implement the program throughout the year. The bill is currently in the appropriations.
Governor Ron DeSantis signed some of the largest education reforms in Florida history, including HB 1which expanded the choice of schools in the Sunshine State by eliminating financial requirements and enrollment caps—making every eligible K-12 student able to access the scholarships.
The Parents’ Rights Education Act was also strengthened by extending restrictions on sex education from kindergarten to eighth grade, from where it had previously moved to third grade.