This blog post comes to you from The Florida Charter School Alliance (FSCA), a group of Florida educators, community leaders, and philanthropists. Florida legislative updates are posted here to help Florida school leaders stay in the know about policies that may affect them, empowering them to advocate for the futures of their schools.
With week seven under our belt, we are close to the finish line of the 2023 Legislative Session. Below is a brief summary of activities that took place at the Capitol last week — including education and charter school-related bills that moved forward. If you have any questions, contact Ralph Arza who leads the FCSA advocacy team.
The only requirement of the Florida Legislature is to pass a balanced budget. Formal negotiations/Budget Conference between the Florida Senate and House begins Tuesday, April 25. The budget will need to be agreed upon and published by Tuesday, May 2 for the session to officially close on May 5, 2023.
LocalTax Revenue Share
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved SB 1328, a bill that would require school districts to share revenues from local tax collections with charter schools. The bill is now headed to the Senate floor for a vote.
School Board Elections
A proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to shift to holding partisan school board elections passed the Senate last week and now heads to voters. The proposal would need support from 60% of voters next year to pass.
School Board Term Limits
HB 477 would impose eight-year term limits on school board members. The bill passed the House and is headed to the Senate floor.
Social Media Bans
The Senate approved HB 379 which would ban TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter and other social media platforms on public school devices and require schools to teach students about the dangers of the Internet. Next stop: Governor’s desk for signature.
State Board of Education meeting on April 19, 2023:
Middle/High Schools and Gender identity
The State Board of Education voted to bar middle and high school teachers from “intentionally” teaching students about sexual orientation or gender identity unless the lessons are part of a reproductive health course or are “expressly required” by the state’s academic standards. The Florida Department of Education is revising the state’s civics academic standards and textbooks. The standards would need to be followed by teachers in order to comply with requirements regarding discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity. More here.
CTE program update
Thirteen new career and technical education (CTE) curriculum programs for the 2023-24 school year were adopted. The courses will expand access to high-wage, in-demand jobs for Florida’s high school and Florida College System students.
Click here to see approved amendments and all action items from the recent State Board of Education meeting.