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House panel OK’s more than three dozen education appropriations bills

The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee voted on those measures Monday afternoon.

The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee approved more than three dozen appropriations bills Monday that requested funds for local education projects.

A total of 40 measures were scheduled to be heard at Monday’s meeting of the committee, which is chaired by Republican state Rep. Chris Latvala of House District 67.

Among the measures approved by the panel was a $300,000 request from Democratic state Rep. Lorrane Ausley that would help train educators in the Panhandle on information about the Holocaust.

State law mandates that Holocaust education be part of the curriculum for public schools in the state. Ausley’s bill (HB 2593) would aim to help ensure teachers are properly trained to handle that portion of the curriculum.

Another funding request advanced at Monday’s meeting was a $1.4 million ask from state Rep. Jackie Toledo for “social and emotional learning” instruction for students within Hillsborough County (HB 2797).

“Social and emotional learning — also called ‘life skills’ — are how children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, and establish and maintain positive relationships,” Toledo told the committee.

“The bill will have a direct impact on over 200,000 students across 235 schools and serve as a blueprint statewide.”

Toledo cites a report from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which recommends adding such a program to the curriculum.

State Rep. Byron Donalds also appeared before the committee Monday to put forward several bills. One of those measures (HB 2845) is a $2 million request to help “print and distribute abuse and human trafficking prevention/personal safety curriculum materials at no cost to Florida’s public schools.”

The 2019-20 budget put forward $1 million for that effort. Donalds is asking to double that for the 2020-21 budget.

A full list of projects advanced by the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee Monday is available on the Florida House website.

The funding inquiries will be debated during the upcoming 2020 Legislative Session, as lawmakers wrangle over the final budget. That document will then be submitted to the Governor, who has the power to veto individual projects.

The committee will hear another 30 education appropriation bills at a 9 a.m. meeting Thursday morning.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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