New bill seeks to expand school choice

2/1/2016

New developments in school choice have been taking place this week in the Florida Legislature, as several bills that address enrollment options have passed their first obstacles in the State House and Senate. One such bill, which passed through the Choice and Innovation Subcommittee earlier this week, seeks to extend school choice options for parents across district lines.

The bill proposes that parents be allowed to enroll their child anywhere in the state so long as that school has the necessary vacancy to accept their child. This would mean that parents and their children would no longer be limited by any district zoning regulations, and could send their children to a school across a district border if they choose. Although this might decrease the Duval County Public School’s budget, Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti has said that he supports the bill, because it does not limit parents to sending their child only to a neighborhood school, enabling them to pick a school that has opportunities that are a better fit for their child. 

The bill states that while parents would be free to seek enrollment for their child in any school in the state that is not yet at capacity, parents would be responsible for transporting their own child to that school. It is also important to note that enrollment in any given school would not be guaranteed. Like other school choice options, the ability to enroll outside of one’s county would require an application process and steps would be put in place to ensure that a resident student of a district could not be displaced by a student transferring from outside the district. To review the terms of this bill in more detail, click here.

The terms of the bill are somewhat similar to a proposal considered locally in Duval County two years ago. You can read more about that here.

 

 

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