Florida Legislature: Week 5 wrap-up

educationThe fifth week of the legislative session may have been most notable for what didn’t happen, as a House floor hearing on a bill that would eliminate a waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship was postponed.

The bill, HB 7075, would create a state-funded program to eliminate a waiting list for those who applied for the tax credit scholarship for lower-income families. (That program is administered by non-profits such as Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog.)

The measure would accommodate about 28,000 students in 2019-20, including some 13,000 students currently on a waiting list for the tax credit scholarship. HB 7075 was one of several bills the House postponed Wednesday in response to a Senate request not to mix policymaking with the budget process.

Previous coverage of the bill can be found HERE. Previous coverage of the Senate’s bill, which would accommodate far fewer students than the House bill, can be found HERE.

In other school-choice-related matters:

The House moved forward on a bill that would increase the areas where a charter school may enter. The bill, HB 7095, also would change the definition of a low-performing school to one that has earned a D or F grade in three of the five most recent years. Under the current rule, schools that earn those grades in three straight years are considered low-performing.

Progress also was made on a SB 226, which would allow teachers and students to focus on mastery of grade-level skills rather than grades; it unanimously cleared the Senate Education Committee Tuesday. The bill would expand an existing “competency-based” pilot program to any school district that wants to participate. The program allows students to earn credits based on mastery of content and skills regardless of how much time they spend in the classroom.

Previous coverage of that bill can be found HERE.

The House is considering a similar measure, HB 401.

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BY Geoff Fox

Geoff Fox is a communications manager in Step Up For Students' office of Policy and Public Affairs. Fox covers legislative issues and writes about charter schools and other aspects of education choice.