As a result of a comprehensive education bill (HB 7029) signed into law this past April 2016, Florida parents will be allowed to enroll their child in any public school in the state. This law will be effective beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.
Caveats are that the new school must have room, the parents must provide transportation and the student cannot be under an expulsion or suspension order. This new provision will also allow high school students to immediately play sports at the new school as long as they don’t play the same sport at two different schools within a school year. This one provision of the law though does worry some coaches as they fear students will only switch for athletic reasons and sport dynasties will be created at some high schools.
According to an article published earlier this year in the Sun-Sentinel, “This legislation removes district boundary lines as barriers blocking students from attending public schools that best meet their needs,” Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida's Future, said in a statement. “More children now will have a chance to succeed in the classroom.”
Lawmakers and education advocates who pushed for the new law claim that it gives parents more options.
On the other hand, critics of the new law believe that school planning will be disrupted; some schools might lose a large amount of students and choosing will only be an option for parents who can transport their children.
Palm Beach County school board member Mike Murgio, also quoted in the Sun-Sentinel article, said he had heard these concerns, but “does not think that losing students is necessarily a reason to not provide choice”. In his opinion, it gives the school an opportunity to make improvements to attract students there.
The law also says that districts must provide information on their websites telling parents which campuses can take in transfer students. Students who transfer could remain at their new school through the highest grade it offers.
It will be interesting to see how this new law affects parents and students in our area of southern Palm Beach County. We are already hearing from potential home buyers that they no longer feel bound to only look at schools within a certain school district. What are your thoughts on this? We would love to hear from you.
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