High-impact charters. Lawmakers for years have drafted plans to bring more nationally regarded “high-impact” charter schools to areas where existing public schools struggle. That concept finally passed, in more headline-grabbing form: “Schools of Hope.” HB 7069.
Charter school capital funding. Charter school capital funding. Lawmakers have also pushed for years to require school districts to share their property tax revenue that funds construction with charters. The version passed this year would require them to share that money, but it would give them an allowance for district revenue that’s tied up paying off past construction debt. HB 7069.
More generous scholarships. Per-student funding in Florida’s tax credit scholarship program for low-income and working-class students would increase to $6,354 in elementary school, $6,643 in middle school and $6,931 in high school. Military families would be able to apply for the program year-round. A little-noticed portion of the program would increase transportation scholarships for families that send their children to public schools across district lines from $500 to $750*. HB 15.
Special needs scholarships. More children with special needs — including those with rare diseases and traumatic brain injuries — would become eligible for Gardiner scholarships. HB 15. Meanwhile, HB 7069 would set aside $30 million in new funding for the program, which is level-funded in the state budget*.
No limits on virtual education eligibility. The last remaining restrictions on virtual school eligibility — including those affecting private school and home education students — would be eliminated. HB 7069.
Public school deregulation. A new “Schools of Excellence” program would increase principals’ autonomy, and reduce state regulations, in the highest-performing 20 percent of Florida’s public schools. HB 7069.
Title I portability. School districts would be required to send federal education funding directly to their schools, including charters, with an 8 percent allowance for administrative overhead. HB 7069.
Increased charter school authority. More charter school networks would have the ability to form Local Educational Agencies, allowing them to receive federal funding directly. To qualify, charter networks would have to share the same governing board, be located in the same county and enroll more students than at least one school district in the state. Schools of Hope could also qualify. HB 7069.
High-performing charters. Right now, high-performing charter schools can use a streamlined application process if they want to open similar schools in new locations. But they’re limited to one “replication” per year. HB 7069 would eliminate that cap for charters that want to replicate in areas where existing public schools are low-performing.
Graduation accountability. Public schools would be held accountable for the academic performance of students who leave to attend private learning providers under contract with their school districts, a response to accusations districts shifted students to game graduation rates. Alternative charter schools, included in some earlier proposals, would not be affected. HB 7069.
Teacher training and certification. School districts could offer a new mentorship-based path to a state teaching certificate, and charter schools could offer their own professional development programs. HB 7069.
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