The 2021 Florida Legislative Session ended on April 30th. Lawmakers will return on May 17th to discuss details of the gaming compact. No money from the compact is in the current budget and plans are to keep it in reserves until the 2022 session. However if anything related to education funding arises, we will keep you updated.
Thanks to your overwhelming advocacy, you saved Bright Futures! In addition, your emails and calls helped pass the Purple Star Campus bill, the School Safety Act, and important Early Learning legislation. These bills will provide additional protections for students and families including our youngest learners.
The 2021 Florida Legislative Session ended with the passage of the General Appropriations Act- the budget- which will go into effect July 1st. The legislature only allocated a portion of the federal stimulus funds intended for schools.
We must continue to advocate for students, educators and public schools on issues like COVID relief spending, vouchers, and teacher evaluations.
To learn more about the budget and other issues you care about, read the update below and visit the Advocacy Dashboard to take action for children and Florida’s public schools. The following are specific issue updates and ways you can advocate:
Show Teachers Your Appreciation
An emergency order issued by the governor waived many of the harmful impacts from state testing. However, the order did not go far enough to protect educators who have gone above and beyond for children. Unreliable student test results may still be included in their performance evaluations. Tell the governor and lawmakers educators deserve protection, too.
Governor Signs Voucher Bill
The governor signed a bill that drastically expands voucher programs. These programs drain millions of dollars from public schools, colleges and universities every year by paying for children to attend unregulated, privately owned schools with no accountability or oversight. Tell the governor to support Florida’s students by investing in public schools.
You did it! Bright Futures bill dies
Because of your emails, calls and tweets, a bill to change Bright Futures as we know it avoided passage by the House. This bill eliminated Bright Futures and Benaquisto Scholarship funding guarantees to divert funds to other items like the expensive voucher bill (see above). The $600 book stipend was striped from this year’s budget but it could be funded in future years. Thank you for your advocacy!!
Tell the Governor to Release the Funds
The state budget was passed in the last days of the legislative session. Lawmakers used federal stimulus relief to create a $101.5 billion balanced budget and allocated only a portion of the federal, COVID relief money. An initial outlay of money was distributed yesterday to districts but billions of stimulus dollars intended for schools have yet to be released. Tell the Governor to release the funds for students today.