Updated: Jun 7
By Brenda Dickinson, HEF President, Lobbyist
The Session is over and we are waiting for the Governor to review the Bills and the Budget and decide if he will sign, veto or let the bills go into law without his signature. So, this information could change depending on the Governor’s action on them. As I comb through the other issues which passed during the last week and determine how the details fit together, I may send out additional information. For the moment, here is information which may affect your students.
The Florida Virtual School (FLVS)
Thank you so much to those who called legislators at the prompting of HEF’s Legislative Alert about the Florida Virtual School. HEF is happy to report that the Legislature:
Did not limit the time a student has to complete a course. During the budget conference the House refused to accept the Senate language which would have limited the time a student has to complete a ½ credit to 20 weeks and 1 credit to 40 weeks.
Cut FLVS funding 8% per student for 2010-2011 rather than the 21% per student funding cut that was proposed by the Session over the next two academic years (2010-11 and 2011-12).
FLVS believes that the detrimental effects of these cuts can be minimized by increasing enrollments in the next year. FLVS student to teacher ratio may be increased slightly to offset the approximately $450 reduction in per student funding.
HEF believes that your calls made a difference. If you called your legislators about the FLVS, please call or email to thank them for reducing the amount of the proposed cuts.
Bright Futures Scholarships
Summary: New legislation will raise SAT/ACT test scores required to earn Bright Futures Scholarships for public and private school students over the next four years, while test score requirements for home education students, without documentation of coursework, will remain the same for the first three years. In the fourth year, 2013-14, test scores required for home education students, without course documentation, will only increase by 30 points above the scores currently required of them and 50 points above their public and private school counterparts.
As HEF has been anticipating, the test scores for Bright Futures Scholarships were raised this Session. The Senate had the increase in test scores in their budget conforming language, but the House did not. HEF was very concerned because the test scores currently for home education students were set by the State Board of Education in Administrative Rule. Having to work with the SBE and the Board of Governors to establish new test scores would be very tenuous. The members of these Boards are not elected and they would have to be convinced that home education students not only should be able to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship, but they would be in a position to establish the scores. HEF was very concerned about this task. It was really a miracle that within a 2 – day window, HEF was able to bring this concern to Senator Stephen Wise, Chair of the Education Appropriations Committee. His staff worked with Senator Evelyn Lynn, Chair of the Higher Education Appropriations Committee, to create a section for home educated students specifying their test scores in the statutes. Without this provision home education students would be in limbo.
The increase in test scores for home education students who cannot document their coursework through a public or private school, FLVS or Dual Enrollment or chose not to document their coursework only results in a 30 point increase in the 2013-2014 academic year. The SAT test score for home education students remains at 1070 for the Florida Medallion Scholars Award while the public and private school students are increased over the next 4 years. When the public and private school SAT score reaches 1050, the home education test score jumps to 1100. There is a 50 point difference at the higher level, but the increase for home education students is only 30 points. Home Education students who can document test scores with courses taken at a Florida public or private school, FLVS or Dual Enrollment increases as the scores for public and private school students increases.
Florida Academic Scholars award was raised as follows:
For high school students graduating in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years, the student must earn an SAT score of 1270 or a concordant ACT score of 28.
For high school students graduating in the 2012-2013 academic year, the student must earn an SAT score of 1280 which corresponds to the 88th SAT percentile rank or a concordant ACT score of 28.
For high school students graduating in the 2013-2014 academic year and thereafter, the student must earn an SAT score of 1290 which corresponds to the 89th SAT percentile rank or a concordant ACT score of 29.Academic YearAll High School Graduates2010 – 2011 and 2011 – 20121270 SAT or 28 ACT2012 – 20131280 SAT or 28 ACT2013 – 20141290 SAT or 29 ACT
Florida Medallion Scholars award was raised as follows:
For high school students graduating in the 2010-2011 academic year, the student must earn an SAT score of 970 or a concordant ACT score of 20 or the student in a home education program whose parent cannot document a college-preparatory curriculum must earn an SAT score of 1070 or a concordant ACT score of 23.
For high school students graduating in the 2011-2012 academic year, the student must earn an SAT score of 980 which corresponds to the 44th SAT percentile rank or a concordant ACT score of 21 or the student in a home education program whose parent cannot document a college-preparatory curriculum must earn an SAT score of 1070 or a concordant ACT score of 23.
For high school students graduating in the 2012-2013 academic year, the student must earn an SAT score of 1020 which corresponds to the 50th SAT percentile rank or a concordant ACT score of 22 or the student in a home education program whose parent cannot document a college-preparatory curriculum must earn an SAT score of 1070 or a concordant ACT score of 23.
For high school students graduating in the 2013-2014 academic year and thereafter, the student must earn an SAT score of 1050 which corresponds to the 56th SAT percentile rank or a concordant ACT score of 23 or the student in a home education program whose parent cannot document a college-preparatory curriculum must earn an SAT score of 1100 or a concordant ACT score of 24.Academic YearAll High School Graduates (documentation of required courses and GPA)Home Education Students (without documentation of required courses and GPA)2010 – 2011970 SAT or 20 ACT1070 SAT or 23 ACT2011 – 2012980 SAT or 21 ACT1070 SAT or 23 ACT2012 – 20131020 SAT or 22 ACT1070 SAT or 23 ACT2013 – 20141050 SAT or 23 ACT1100 SAT or 24 ACT
School District Virtual Instruction Program (SDVIP) changes:
Siblings of students who were enrolled in the SDVIP at the end of the prior school year are eligible to enroll in the program.
McKay Scholarship Program Summary: The new bill makes it possible for families to access help for a preschooler with certain disabilities without having to send the child to a public preschool at four years of age. It also allows the parent who missed the enrollment time period to take advantage of the McKay Scholarship if the child was enrolled in a public school and had an IEP within the last 5 years.
HB 1505 made changes to the McKay Scholarship Program for students with Disabilities that will serve as a bridge for children who were served by Child Find from birth to 3 years of age so that they can access a McKay Scholarship without having to enter public school. It will allow a 4 year old with certain disabilities and a current IEP to use their VPK money ($2562) to receive specialized instructional services.
These specialized instructional services may include, but are not limited to: (a) Applied behavior analysis as defined in ss. 627.6686 and 641.31098. (b) Speech-language pathology as defined in s. 468.1125. (c) Occupational therapy as defined in s. 468.203. (d) Physical therapy as defined is s. 486.021.
HEF worked on this language several years ago when the House had a Select Committee on Autism. However, the recommendations were not accepted by the Senate and the bill died. Only a portion of those recommendations were passed this year, but it is a beginning to providing services to children in their homes. Since many children with disabilities are better served in their homes than in an institutional setting, it is my hope that in the future we will be able to gain more ground.
HB 1505 opens the McKay Scholarship Program to children who were enrolled in a public school and had an IEP in the last 5 years. Parents who did not know about or take advantage of the opportunity to enroll their child with a disability in a private school will have a second chance.
If a parent is interested in taking advantage of these opportunities details will be available from the Florida Department of Education Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/
Private School Student participation in Athletics at their Zoned Public School:
The Pilot Program which allowed students who attend a private school without an athletic program in Duval, Nassau and Bradford County to participate in athletics at their zoned public school ended this year without being reauthorized. No new students will be allowed to participate and it will not be expanded to the other counties in the state.