The 2022 Florida Legislative Session had ended with a number of bills which directly affect Florida’s kindergarten through 12th grade students. The Alliance for Public Schools monitors education policy and educates and informs the public about the changes occurring in public education.
According to the Alliance for Public Schools, “The Legislature passed the new state budget with record-high pre-K-12 funding thanks in large part to money provided by the American Recovery Act. Lawmakers also passed a number of bills that will bring sweeping changes to public schools across the state, mainly to the testing and assessment system.”
First up, the Legislature passed one of the largest pre-K-12 budget increases in state history. The budget includes an increase in per-pupil funding. The base student allocation, which determines the base level of funding for a district, was also increased. The budget specifies that $100 million in nonrecurring funds will be used to provide an increase for VPK providers who raise all employee salaries to $15 per hour. The Teacher Salary Increase Allocation was also increased.
According to the Alliance for Public Schools, “Advocates successfully prevented the original bill language that cut $200 million from 12 of the state’s largest districts. Instead, the Florida School Recognition Program (A-School Money), will only be granted to schools that were ‘not found in violation of emergency rules promulgated by the Department of Health related to face covering mandates during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school year.’ Although not taking funding away from districts was less punitive, this means that 12 districts with some of the state’s neediest students will not be eligible for supplemental funding.”
Bills that take effect on Friday, July 1 when signed by the Governor include SB 1048 regarding Student Assessment. The Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) will be replaced with newly created progress monitoring and testing standards.
HB 7 is a bill called Individual Freedoms. This bill eliminates some mental health programs for students and restricts how race-related issues can be taught in public school.
According to the Alliance for Public Schools, “This is an attempt to eliminate critical race theory, which has never been taught in Florida’s K-12 public schools.”
HB 1467 creates requirements for school districts when selecting material which are placed in media centers.
HB 461 revised the requirements to qualify for Bright Futures Scholarships. In addition to volunteer hours, students can use paid work experience as well.
For more information, please visit www.all4schools.org.