April 24- 2015:
Today the Florida House passed several key education bills that will provide greater educational choices for all Florida families and has now sent these bills to the Senate for consideration.
The Florida Coalition of School Board Members applauds Senators Don Gaetz and Lizbeth Benacquisto, Representatives Chris Sprowls, Mike Bileca, Manny Diaz and the Education Committee members for putting students first and providing more options for our students whether it is a public school, private school or home education setting.
We also applaud Representative Manny Diaz for his leadership in passing HB 549 today which will prohibit certain publically-funded associations from using public dollars to sue the state of Florida. FCSBM is opposed to the lawsuit filed by the Florida School Board Association to strike down the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program which currently is providing school choice options to almost 70,000 low income children in Florida. HB 549 will prohibit this group from using public tax dollars to enter into these types of legal challenges.
“Today the Florida House, in working with the Florida Senate, has put our state’s children first, allowing more of Florida’s families the opportunity to select the best educational environment for their children ”; stated Jeff Bergosh, Escambia County School Board Member and President of Florida Coalition of School Board Members.
Bill Details: SB 602 by Senator Don Gaetz cleared the House today with a unanimous vote and will expand the Personal Learning Scholarship Account to include younger children and will allow more students with unique abilities access to this life-changing program.
Representatives Sprowls’ bill, HB 1145 and the Senate companion SB 1552 by Senator Benacquisto, allows students to attend any public school if space is available as well as adds the provisions championed by Rep. Manny Diaz which provides more accountability for public charter schools and creates the Florida Institute for Charter School Innovation at Florida State University.
The Florida Coalition of School Board Members, founded in 2014, is an organization of individual Florida school board members and other concerned education stakeholders who together believe in strong fiscal accountability in education; giving parents expanded education options for their children; maintaining common sense levels of testing for accountability; and forming beneficial, positive relationships with Florida lawmakers to enhance the education of all of Florida’s youth. For more information visit www.FCSBM.org.
Jeff Bergosh, Escambia County School Board, President
Shawn Frost, Indian River County School Board, Vice President
Erika Donalds, Collier County School Board, Treasurer
Bridget Ziegler, Sarasota County School Board, Secretary