Last Friday, House Bill 443, Education, sponsored by Representative Susan L. Valdés (D-Tampa), unanimously passed out of the Florida House of Representatives. This bill streamlines processes and creates transparency for charter schools by allowing the Florida Department of Education to create a standardized site review form. This clearly provides guidelines charter schools must follow based on Florida Statutes and rules, creates uniformity, and provides transparency to Florida’s families to ensure we are holding charter schools to the same standard across the state.
This will also put money back into schools by expanding the staff eligible for the teacher classroom supply allocation, and directs districts to timely review federal grant reimbursements. Currently, the timeliness of reimbursement of federal grant funds by certain districts have been so delayed it has led to unnecessary hardship on charter schools, with hundreds of millions of dollars statewide being held up.
The bill also requires charter schools that limit enrollment to place a student that is not meeting academic standards on a progress monitoring plan for at least one semester before dismissing the student from the school.
“I am very passionate about our children’s education and the affordability of providing different education options that parents can choose for their children. This is a bill that will help streamline a lot of processes and become a little bit more uniform in what districts do, and collaboratively along with the charter school partners,” said Representative Valdés.
“One thing about Representative Valdés: she lives and breathes education for our children, and for that I’m very grateful and thankful for the work she put into this bill. Whether kids go to public school or charter school, they are all our children, and we need to ensure that they get the best education possible to succeed,” said Representative Marie Woodson (D-Hollywood). “We truly appreciate the work you put in, in order for our kids to be successful and move forward in life.”
The Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 986 sponsored by Senator Danny Burgess (R-Hillsborough), has unanimously passed through each Senate Committee and is ready for consideration in the Senate Chamber.