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2 wide-ranging education bills clear Florida Senate Appropriations


Nearly 30 education-related topics — including some of the most high-profile and contentious policies discussed this year — have been folded into two bills that the Florida Senate’s budget committee approved Thursday.

Niceville Republican Sen. Don Gaetz proposed sweeping rewrites of two of his bills in order to give House and Senate priorities a better chance at passage as the Legislature nears the final two weeks of session.

Both of the bills (SB 524 and SB 1166) were originally only three pages long and dealt narrowly with public universities’ performance funding and education funding, respectively.

The 59-page rewrite to SB 524 includes such controversial issues as the “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus plan, the Senate’s proposed reforms for capital funding to charter schools and school districts, and at least a dozen more topics.

Similarly, the new, 85-page version of SB 1166 now includes: open enrollment for public students, charter school accountability measures and high school athletics proposals, among other topics.

The individual policy proposals are working their way through the Senate in various forms, with a few — like the teacher bonuses — facing difficulty passing on their own.

More here.