While the Florida House has plenty of education-related bills to consider, Senators have introduced even more.
The Senate has also introduced a bill, SB 180, granting the U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants in-state tuition rates. Those students would have to attend school in Florida for four years and apply to college within twelve months of graduating from a Florida high school.
Another Senate bill would open up in-state tuition to U.S. military veterans. Veterans say it is often difficult to cash in their education benefits because they can not secure in-state tuition rates using military documents.
The bill, SB 260, grants in-state tuition to veterans who reside in Florida while attending college, or who attend a physical college campus in Florida.
Another bill, SB 198, proposes a constitutional amendment which would require Florida school districts pay teachers at least the national average. The bill would need legislative approval as well as 60 percent of Florida voting in favor.
Four bills deal with disabilities.
The most important would eliminate the requirement that students enroll in a traditional school before becoming eligible for a McKay scholarship. McKay scholarships allow students with disabilities to use the money for tuition at a private school of their choice.
One, SB 226, creates a two-week “disability history and awareness” instruction program starting in the 2014-2015 school year. The bill creates a committee to help the Department of Education design program curriculum.
SB 150 creates a “Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights,” and requires state and local school officials to recognize the needs of hard-of-hearing students. Another bill, SB 128, requires physicians refer children to a specialist if his or her parents suspects they are autistic.
Other bills would make smaller changes:
- SB 134 requires school districts hold one meeting per quarter “after school hours or during the evening hours.”
- SB 162 changes how much students earning high school equivalency diplomas count in the state school grading formula.
- SB 154 requires schools to employ one counselor per specified number of students, with an overall school district ratio of one counselor for every 300 students.
To check out all the Senate bills which have been filed so far, click here.