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HomeEducationSchool Board Receives Update on Legislative Moves

School Board Receives Update on Legislative Moves

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Less new regulations, more money in the budget.

Those were positive talking points for Shawn Foster of Sunshine Consulting Group during his presentation on May 28, providing a legislative update during a Hernando County School Board workshop.
“The more that are passed, somebody gets hurt, somebody gets helped,” Foster said. “It was a very interesting session. You had different leaders with different goals.”

The state budget has increased to $117 billion. The Florida Education Finance program has seen a 6.73 percent increase to $28.4 billion, with a $40 million raise in funds toward school safety.

Among some of the new statutes to come out of the recent legislative session was SB 994/HB 1045 concerning student transportation safety. It will allow the district to use video to enforce school bus stop sign violations, as well as use fines levied from those violations to maintain detection systems and enhance safety.

According to HB 1291, educator preparation program courses are not permitted to distort historical events and teach identity politics, instruction must comply with Florida’s Education Equity Act and coursework can’t be based on theories of systemic inequities.

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HB 1285 was an education package that clarified virtual school assessment participation, removed the need for annual tax exemption applications for charter schools, defines classical schools and enables enrollment preferences, and requires specialized teaching certificates for classical schools.

Chaplains will be allowed in schools, according to HB 931, to provide support, services and programs for students with parental consent. The chaplains must pass a typical background check but do not need the same licenses and training as school counselors.

Patriotic organizations can have representatives visit schools to speak with students and distribute materials that encourage participation in those groups via HB 1317. These organizations are defined as youth membership programs serving those under the age of 21 with an educational purpose that promotes patriotism and civic involvement. The eight on the list are the Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Club of America, Civil Air Patrol, Future Farmers of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Marine Corps League and the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

History of communism classes were addressed by HB 1349. Students will start receiving instruction on this topic in the 2026-27 school year and the bill sets up the establishment of a state museum on the history of communism.

“Senate bill sponsor Jay Collins from the Tampa Bay area, also a veteran, felt young people are increasingly viewing communism in a positive light and he just felt that needed a warning,” Foster said. “Before the final passage Democrats attempted to include lessons on McCarthyism and how the January 6 Capitol riots could lead to communism. Those amendments didn’t make it.”

Lastly, Foster spoke about HB 1403, a bill that outlined a plan for the use of education vouchers, ensuring families receive those vouchers to cover education costs. It also provided guidelines for homeschool purchases using voucher funds and streamlining the distribution of those funds.

Chris Bernhardt
Chris Bernhardt
A resident of Spring Hill since 1986, Chris graduated from Springstead High in 1999 before moving on to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida. In summer of 2003 he joined the staff at Hernando Today, working at the paper for 11 years as a sports reporter, the last three as sports coordinator in charge of the paper’s sports coverage. After an initial 3-year stint with Hernando Sun, he spent four years as a staff sports reporter at the Citrus County Chronicle. Follow on X @cpbernhardtjr.
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