Legislation Opens New Opportunities

2016 Education LegislationIf you’re like me, you follow education policy closely.

Even if you don’t, it was pretty hard to miss the emphasis put on education this past session here in Florida.

You’ve probably at least heard about “House Bill 7029 – Education” in the news and know that it was pretty big. It addresses areas like athletic eligibility, parent and student rights, the option to attend any public school in the state (given that there is space), and so much more.

That last one, attending any public school, really opens up school choice. Luckily, children all over Florida already have the option to enroll in Florida Virtual School. That’s one of the many perks of being virtual – meeting the student where they are.

A few years back though, an unintended consequence from a new public school funding formula made it a little more difficult for some students to be able to take Florida Virtual School (FLVS). While free to most Florida residents (as any public school is), students on the McKay Scholarship (for students with disabilities) were no longer covered through the Florida Education Finance Program – meaning they had to pay for FLVS with their scholarship that was intended for private school tuition or transportation to a different public school. That made it hard for families to take FLVS courses.

This year, we are happy to share with you that “House Bill 837 – Education programs for Individuals with Disabilities” corrected this problem!

Starting July 1, 2016, students on the McKay Scholarship will be able to take up to two FLVS courses a year without it affecting their scholarship in any way.

President of the Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools, Steve Hicks, said,

“I am excited about the decision the Florida Legislature has made to restore funding to all McKay Students wishing to take Florida Virtual School classes. The students benefit from having access to FLVS courses and I am very grateful for the work of the McKay Coalition, FLVS and others to correct this funding issue.  Parents of children with disabilities deserve access to every option that will meet their child’s educational needs.  My heartfelt thanks to all of those who helped to make this a reality.”

We’re right there with you Steve! This is a great step forward by the state of Florida!

Post by Holly Sagues, Former Executive Director of Governmental Affairs & Strategic Solutions

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