Yesterday, Governor Rick Scott signed two education bills that reform higher education and K-12.With HB 7055, students who are bullied will have a voucher that’ll cover private school tuition, and there will be a scholarship for students who’ve failed reading tests to cover the cost of tutors. In addition, millions will be directed from sales tax to cover the cost of vouchers. Teacher’s unions will also be required to have 50% of their eligible teachers to pay dues, or they will face being decertified.
With SB 4, the Bright Futures scholarship program will significantly expand for higher education students, and “free speech zones” on college campuses will be outlawed.
Governor Scott commented on the signing by saying that “This is an outstanding year for education. This is my last session of eight sessions, so we have had eight sessions where I’ve been focused on trying to make sure this is the place where a child can get a great education.”
Also, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg autonomy is stripped by having USF’s campuses and a campus in Sarasota-Manatee merge into one system. This was done to get all the campuses under the “preeminent” status that USF is expected to obtain in 2018.
The move was sponsored by Republican Representative Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor.