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Intersection: Getting Schooled On Florida's Education Bill HB 7069

Classroom desks
Christopher Sessums

The Florida legislature passed HB 7069 last session and Governor Rick Scott signed it into law this summer. In reaction to the bill, school boards across the state joined a lawsuit to block it.

It’s a massive piece of legislation that touches several aspects of the state’s education system, from testing standards to requiring recess.

Provisions in the law favoring charter schools have more than a dozen school districts taking the measure to court. Another lawsuit claims the bill violates the state’s constitution because it covers so much territory.

Leslie Postal covers K-12 education reporter for the Orlando Sentinel and joined Intersection to explain the details of HB 7069.

Postal said the biggest concerns about the bill are that it requires regular public school district to share local property taxes with charter schools. It allows Schools of Hope charter schools to come into a district where there is a struggling public school and open up without approval.

Postal said the Schools of Hope charter schools also do not have to hire teachers that are certified.

"They would be opening without local approval, and they've also noted that those schools could hire teachers who are not certified which other charter schools and traditional public schools are not allowed to do," Postal said.

"In the traditional system you need to be working toward your certification if you don't have it when you're initially hired, in this it would just let you be there so that would be the concern."

Postal said the Florida Supreme Court case against the bill looks at how the bill was filled. Orange County, didn’t join that lawsuit. She said the county felt that it wouldn't be successful and took a different approach to the circuit court system.

"In Orange they felt that the argument that 'this wasn't a single subject and how the law was passed' wasn't going to be terribly successful," she said. "They thought that they would have more success arguing that their charter school provisions usurp their local power and violate the constitution."

Postal said the case that's going through circuit court that Orange County is apart of may take a couple years to find a ruling, and may also go to the Florida Supreme Court.