Governor Scott Signs Legislation to Strengthen, Expand Charter and Virtual Schools
Orlando, Fla. – Keeping his promise to make Florida the state with the best-educated workforce, Governor Rick Scott today visited Hope Charter School in Ocoee to highlight education reforms that expand and strengthen charter and virtual schools and increase scholarship opportunities that empower parents to choose schools best suited to student needs. Later today, Governor Scott will visit St. Petersburg Christian School and charter school North Broward Academy of Excellence.
While visiting, Governor Scott discussed how parents best understand their children’s needs and should have the right to choose the schools that meet those needs.
“One of the critical components of creating jobs and turning Florida’s economy around is to make sure our state has the best educated workforce, ready to work in our 21st century economy,” Governor Scott said. “The legislation I sign today moves our state closer to having world-class schools that graduate students ready for those jobs.”
Earlier this year, the first bill Governor Scott signed into law was the Student Success Act. It empowers principals to keep the best teachers and use merit pay to compensate them more, while also replacing low-performing teachers.
“Florida will now be able to recruit and retain the best educators for our schools,” Governor Scott said. “Children should not be locked into going to a failing school just because of where they live, and families should have the right to choose an education best suited to their children.”
The bills Governor Scott highlighted today are as follows:
- · Senate Bill 1546, Charter Schools – Charter schools will now have the opportunity to duplicate their success and grow to serve more students. Charter schools that earn an “A” twice in three years have the opportunity to earn a “high-performing” status, so they can increase enrollment and open more schools.
- · House Bill 7197. Virtual Education – Expands the Florida Virtual School to offer full-time instruction to K-12 students and part-time for grades 4-12. District virtual schools will be able to offer part-time instruction in grades 9-12 to more students. Charter schools can also now offer online instruction, either as a virtual charter school, or combined with traditional classroom learning.
- · House Bill 1331, Opportunity Scholarships – This bill empowers parents to choose a better school for their students assigned to chronically low-performing schools. It expands the definition of a failing school from those that earn an “F” two years in a row, to those that earn two “Fs” in the past four years.
- · House Bill 1329, McKay Scholarships – Students with special learning needs will be eligible for McKay Scholarships to attend private schools. Parents with children who receive specialized instructional plans must be notified every year of each student’s options, including the McKay Scholarship.
- · House Bill 965, Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program –The tax credit scholarship program is updated to help encourage more businesses to participate in the program, thereby helping more students attend the school best suited to them.