Expanded School Choice Law in Florida

Governor Rick Scott signed a new bill last week which allows parents to pick any public school in Florida, including charter schools.

School Choice is here to stay.

Governor Rick Scott signed a new bill last week which allows parents to pick any public school in Florida, including charter schools. This new law allows parents to bypass traditional county boundaries and school districts, and pick any public school they think best suits their child. This includes picking a charter school.

There are some limitations.  

The new school must have room (meet class size requirements). The parents must provide transportation. And the child must not be under an expulsion or suspension order. Governor Scott did not comment after signing it. But lawmakers stress that the new law will give parents more opportunities to pick the best school for their child.

Not everyone is on board with the new law. Some school officials believe the School Choice law will hurt School Choice is here to stay.schools who lose students, and make it harder to project growth. Nevertheless, the new law will allow parents to start making these choices in August, 2017. And it will be interesting to see its impact on parenting plans and time-sharing.

Florida law provides for time-sharing and parenting plans. These plans include designating which parent’s address will be used for school boundaries and registration. This new law may make this designation a moot point. Such a “designation” has no bearing if the other parent can place the child in a different school district. And unless one parent is given the right to decide all school districts (which is not often done), this leaves both parents vying for a particular school.

Equally interesting is what impact the new law will have on special needs students. There may be a certain charter school or other public school with a stellar program. But it may be in a different county. The new School Choice law allows parents to enroll their child in schools located in a different county. There just has to be room in the class.

It will be interesting to see how the new School Choice law works out. I hope it helps all parents find the right fit.