Halfway through this year’s Florida legislative session, here’s a brief look at the school choice related bills that are still moving. To compare to the bills at the beginning of the session, click here. Things are changing fast. Several bills, for instance, are up for a House vote today.
CS/CS/SB 1076 by Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz. On Senate floor, on Special Order Calendar
April 4. Creates funding incentives to increase innovation in public school programs to better prepare students for future careers; provides for the development of industry certifications at the middle school level; requires financial literacy to be included in high school graduation requirements; revises the funding for industry certifications earned in high school and at postsecondary institutions; and requires the development of multiple pathways to meet high school graduation requirements.
The Senate Education Committee conducted a workshop March 18 to discuss the charter bills that were filed. The committee took input from the workshop and proposed a substitute for SB 1282, related to charter schools, during their next meeting April 1.
CS/SB 1282 by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland. Committee Substitute favorable by Education Committee on April 1. Includes financial and accountability requirements for charter schools; prohibits a governing board under deteriorating financial condition, financial recovery plan, or corrective action plan from applying for a new charter school; requires a charter agreement to immediately terminate when the charter school closes; requires the use of standard charter and charter renewal contracts; clarifies that members of a charter school board may not be an employee of the charter school; prohibits a charter school that closes from spending more than $35,000 unless the sponsor approves in writing or previously approved.
CS/SB 1390 by Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee. Committee Substitute favorable by Education Committee on April 1. Includes a mechanism through which a school district may establish one innovation school within its district to enhance high academic achievement and accountability in exchange for flexibility and exemptions from specific statutes; exempts facilities leased by the district from ad valorem taxes; and provides that the class size calculation be changed to the school level for district schools or schools of choice.
CS/CS/HB 7009 by Choice and Innovation Subcommittee. On House floor, on 3rd reading. Provides for increased charter school accountability by prohibiting a charter school, upon termination of the charter, from expending more than $10,000 without prior written permission from the sponsor; requires the DOE to develop a proposed statewide standard charter contract by consulting with school districts and charter schools; and requires that a district board-owned facility that has previously been used for K-12 educational purposes be made available for a charter school’s use, with the charter school responsible for the costs to bring the facility into compliance with the Florida Building Code.