The Leon County School Board discussed new legislation impacting Leon County Schools at the February 25 Board meeting.
HB 7079 and SB 1498 are expected to change the state’s current testing requirements and redefine the turnaround process.
Lobbyist Jessica Janasiewicz said HB 7079 would eliminate the geometry end-of-course exam and the ninth grade ELA exam and replace them with the SAT and ACT for eleventh graders.
She noted that there may be a house bill appropriation to pay for the change.
Janasiewicz said it is yet to be determined if the SAT and ACT scores would be counted as school grades.
“We know the SAT and ACT are not designed to assess the Florida standards, either our current standards or the new ones that we’re going to have, so we’ve made the argument that that’s not really fair to include that in the school grade because that’s not what we’re teaching,” she said.
SB 1498 includes revisions to the turnaround process for underperforming schools.
Currently, according to FLDOE, a school that receives a yearly “F” grade or two consecutive “D” grades is required to enter a turnaround plan.
The new legislation would change the definition to only one “D”.
“You can imagine the impact that would be statewide, how many more schools would be a part of that process,” Janasiewicz said.
In Leon County, Bond Elementary School, Riley Elementary School, and Griffin Middle School received “D” grades in 2019.
The bill also includes an amendment that allows school districts to close schools that do not improve to a “C” grade, re-purpose them as charter schools, or contract external operators to run the schools.