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The HEF Position on SB 632/HB 859

Updated: Jun 7, 2023


First, I need to let you know the policy of HEF and secondly to clarify current law regarding this issue.

  1. Policy of HEF:   HEF normally does not alert parents to bills that are filed that we do not believe will pass. We believe that parents only need to worry about the bills that have the possibility of passing. As your lobbyist, I use a strategic plan to oppose and hopefully defeat bills that have a potential to hurt home educators. Only after I have done my best to defeat or change a bill, I will reach out to the home education community.  We want home education families to be able to educate their children and not worry about bills that are unlikely to pass.  If you want to know which bills challenge your right to educate your children, please subscribe to our HEF newsletter at www.flhef.org where I will send out notifications as needed if I need your help to defeat threatening legislation.

  2. Clarification of the law:  This bill will not affect home educators signed under the county. There is no mention in these bills of home education programs.  However, parents who teach their children at home under an “umbrella” private school may be effected if the bill does move and we are not able to get it amended.  The Home Education Program, which applies to students signed up under the county is s.1002.41 FS and Private School law, which include “umbrella” private schools, is s.1002.42 FS. There are major differences in these two laws, and the legal status of each is important when dealing with Florida Statutes.  HEF is very aware of these differences, and, because I also lobby for an association of private schools and work together with a larger group of private schools (FAANS), I follow the private school laws carefully every Session and work to protect private school autonomy and independence.  Many times over the years, I have protected the rights of parents teaching through “umbrella” private schools as the laws have changed. I will continue to do so.

  3. Status of these Bills:  These bills are focused on private schools that take state scholarship students in s1002.421 FS. Since “umbrella” private schools are not allowed to take state scholarship students, these bills are unlikely to affect “umbrella” private schools.In the early 2000s when the state scholarships (John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program and the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program) were created, I was lobbying for the Florida Association of Academic Non-Public Schools (FAANS) and fought with the Governor and the Department of Education to create a separate section of law which only pertains to private schools that participate in these scholarship programs. This section of law is 1002.421 FS.

SB 632/HB 859 targets these schools that participate in the state scholarship programs. There are some changes proposed in these bills which would apply to all private schools in the Annual Database Survey section 1002.42 Florida Statutes.  If the bill passes, ‘umbrella” private schools would have to administer the Florida State Assessments (FSA) to their students.  “Brick-and-Mortar” Private schools would fight this infringement on their rights too. Therefore, I do not believe these changes would be implemented because it will be too expensive for the State to administer the state assessments in all private schools.  I think this would be easy to argue against since all private schools do not receive state funding.

Also I believe these bills will not pass this Session because the Governor is placing emphasis on raising teacher’s salaries and has asked the Legislature to cut current programs in order to accomplish this.  It is likely that additional requests for appropriations will not be considered favorably, therefore, I am 95% sure this bill may not even be heard. So far neither of these bills have been put on a Committee agenda.

Rest assured that you will hear from HEF if a bill threatens your rights.  Please make sure you subscribe to our newsletter at www.flhef.org in order to receive any notifications.

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