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Pending Legislation April 3, 2019

Progress on the dual enrollment front and other legislative activity

By LuAnne Schendel April 2019

Dual Enrollment fees: FAANS has lobbied for several years to address the inequity in dual enrollment fees for private school students. The Senate Education Committee just approved proposed legislation that would require that fees for dual-enrollment classes for students in private schools not be charged to the parents or to the private school. Books and instructional materials would also be free to students.

It requires state colleges and universities with dual enrollment programs to enter into articulation agreements with all private schools in their areas that want to participate. Institutions may not limit the number of private students participating and eligibility requirements cannot be more stringent than those required in public schools.

It requires institutions to provide an “early college program” to both public, private and homeschooled students in grades 11 and 12. This is a high school acceleration program that emphasizes required college courses, prerequisites, or industry certifications rather than electives. It gives students the option to complete at least 60 credit hours.

Sales Tax Holiday: Senate Bill 576 calls for a back-to-school sales tax holiday on purchases of clothes, supplies and computers in early August. This is part of a package of tax cuts introduced Tuesday in the House. The measure will get its first hearing next week.

Water filters for schools: The Senate Education Committee approved a bill that would require the school districts to add filters to drinking water sources in public schools built before 1986 in order to reduce high lead levels in drinking water. Although this bill addresses public schools, if your building was constructed before 1986 it might be wise to have your water tested.

Opinions on schools from redefinED ( Critics say the use of state funds for scholarships to help students attend private schools is unconstitutional. But Florida has a history of taxpayer funded scholarship programs that help students attend private schools, even religious schools. Patrick R. Gibbons, redefinED. Once again, legislation is moving in the Legislature as a “feel good” measure that will favor a few craft brewers looking for more opportunities to bring in revenue. But the move could cut the money the industry contributes to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship by nearly 25 percent. Peter Schorsch, Florida Politics. The bill to require public schools to offer a course in Bible studies may be dead for this session, but sponsor Kim Daniels, a Democratic representative from Jacksonville, is not the type to be deterred by a bill dying. This could be resurrected in the next session. A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics.

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