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Hillsborough County School leaders prepare to make changes to fall in line with education bills

Hillsborough County school bus
Posted at 7:44 AM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 08:04:17-04

On Tuesday, the Hillsborough County School Board is having a workshop to go over more than a dozen education bills from this legislative session.

“So we’re going to be looking at what those laws are and how it will impact our district,” said Nadia Combs, Hillsborough County School Board Chair.

Some of those include:

  • House Bill 1557: Parental Rights Bill, which critics call the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill. It will in part prevent any talk about sexual identity and orientation in schools. The bill states this applies to kindergarten through 3rd grade or when “not age appropriate” according to state standards.
  • House Bill 7: Individual Freedom Bill, also known as the ‘Stop WOKE Act.’ It prohibits Florida public schools from talking about topics that could make students feel uncomfortable or guilty over their race, sex, or national origin.
  • House Bill 1467: It creates an approval process for all school literature, allowing parents to examine classroom materials including every book in the school library.

“First we have to look really look at the law, interpret the law and see how it’s going to impact us and then the superintendent, as well as the school board and our cabinet, will look at direction from the Department of Education to see what that looks like. Then we'll see how we’re going to bring that down to the district level and the school level,” said Combs.
Some of the other bills Hillsborough school leaders will be going over on Tuesday include:

  • Senate Bill 1054: requires students to learn about financial literacy
  • House Bill 899: expands mental health services for students
  • House Bill 1421: adds more school safety measures including extending the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission
  • Senate Bill 1048: revamps the state’s testing system, eliminates the Florida Standards Assessments

“Probably the biggest impact is really looking at the testing and progress monitoring and what that will look like when we’re testing students. That also will impact on what other tests that we currently have, if we will continue those or if we will let those sunset,” said Combs.

Tuesday is just the beginning for Hillsborough County School leaders to figure out how the district will move forward with these changes and what the financial impacts may be.

They plan to enforce these new rules through policy and training principals and teachers to prepare for the new school year.

“I think this summer we’ll be really looking at that more closely seeing if there’s any changes and what changes need to be made to make sure we’re following the law,” said Combs.

These bills become law on July 1.

Tuesday’s workshop begins at 10 a.m.