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The Florida Senate

President Office — Press Release


March 6, 2024

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

President Passidomo Marks Final Passage of Learn Local, Cutting Red Tape and Supporting Neighborhood Public Schools

Maintains high standards and safety, enhances parental involvement, empowers teachers

Tallahassee —

The Florida Senate today passed SB 7002 and SB 7004, a comprehensive package of education legislation entitled “Learn Local,” designed to reduce onerous and excessive regulations on public schools, empower parents, teachers, and local school districts and preserve strong accountability, transparency, and safety measures at neighborhood public schools. The legislation was initially passed by the Senate in January, and saw final passage today, including amendments made in partnership with the Florida House of Representatives.

“I am tremendously grateful to Speaker Renner, his staff, and all of the members who worked to finalize our Learn Local package. The Senate bill sponsors have been working closely with their House counterparts throughout session, and the result is a tremendous win for Florida’s traditional public schools as Florida begins the process of reevaluating what level of state oversight is necessary in an environment of universal school choice,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), who has prioritized deregulation of Florida’s neighborhood public schools during her two-year term as Senate President.

“Our public schools deserve the opportunity to compete, right along other school choice options. My goal was to make serious headway this year, and I could not be more pleased with the final product,” continued President Passidomo. “My vision for this critical initiative is a multi-year effort. Every year more and more regulations are put on our school districts, and every year we need to be looking at regulations we can remove. With two years left in the Senate after my term as Senate President comes to an end in November, I look forward to joining Senator Simon and Senator Calatayud as we continue to dig in on deregulation in the years to come.”

SB 7000, Deregulation of Public Schools/Instructional, Administrative, and Support Personnel, led by Senator Alexis Calatayud (R-Miami) reduces certain regulations related to public school personnel, providing local school districts more authority to meet the needs of their community, staff, and students. Specifically, the bill provides additional authority to school districts related to teacher certification and training, instructor contracts and salary schedules, personnel evaluations, and collective bargaining.

SB 7002, Deregulation of Public Schools/School District Finance and Budgets, Facilities, and Administration and Oversight, led by Senator Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine), Dean of the Florida Senate, simplifies financial requirements, enhances facilities management, and advances efficient administrative processes, preserving requirements for transparency and accountability.

Returning from the House, provisions of SB 7000 and SB 7002 were combined into SB 7002, and today passed the Senate as one piece of legislation.

“Florida public school teachers are an invaluable resource for our state. We know that the impact of just one teacher can motivate and inspire a student, influencing their education, career path, and their whole life. This legislation demonstrates that we are listening. We are supporting our great teachers and other instructional personnel with needed flexibility and other key resources that will help keep our best teachers in the classroom, and assist professionals in other fields who want to pursue a career in teaching,” said Senator Calatayud.

“As we reviewed the Education Code this summer, I was shocked by the number of onerous and outdated requirements in place for the general day-to-day administration of our school districts. I think most businesses would have a hard time focusing on customer service when facing such outdated financial and administrative requirements. Our teachers and school administrators should be able to focus on serving and educating our students, not outdated bureaucracy. This bill cuts the red tape from the administrative side of our school districts, while maintaining student safety, school security, and transparency,” said Senator Hutson. 

SB 7004, Deregulation of Public Schools/Assessment and Accountability, Instruction, and Education Choice, led by Senator Simon, provides school districts greater authority over determining student progression, implementing school improvement programs, and providing instructional materials and early learning programs.

“Our state education code is contained in a book that is 3.5 inches thick. I think that’s big enough,” said Senator Simon. “There are so many areas regulated from Tallahassee that could be handled more efficiently at the local level, where parents have direct access to teachers, school administrators, and school board members. This bill eases the burden for our district schools and teachers, who just want to spend their time doing the job they love, focusing on our students. It also magnifies the voices of our parents, affirming their right to guide their child’s education.”

“With Learn Local we do not lose one inch of the accountability measures instituted over the last thirty years. These metrics and measurements provide information to help parents make the best decisions for their children. Parents are more involved than ever before. Parents are the ultimate arbiter of performance. Parents will hold neighborhood schools, charter schools, and private schools accountable with their voices and their feet,” continued President Passidomo.

SB 7002, as amended, does the following:

  • Provides flexibility to districts in setting salaries for instructional personnel, including allowing for the use of advanced degrees in salary adjustments. The bill maintains the long-standing expectation of fairness and transparency in this process to ensure Florida recognizes, retains, and promotes our most effective teachers, and ensures our local schools can retain their highest performing teachers in a competitive job market.
  • Specifies policies for which collective bargaining may not preclude or limit school district activities.
  • Streamlines initial and renewal professional learning requirements for educator certification, including for VPK teachers, allowing for SAT/ACT/and CLT to satisfy the General Knowledge Test requirement. 
  • Provides fee waivers for educators seeking the second certification required to be an in-field elementary ESE teacher.  (Currently, to be considered in-field, elementary ESE teachers have to be certified in both ESE K-12 and K-6).
  • Authorizes teachers who are temporarily leaving the profession, or moving to an educational setting that does not require a certificate, to shift their teaching certificate to “inactive.” This change facilitates an easier return to public school teaching in the future.
  • Provides additional opportunities for certified teachers at charter schools to add coverages to their certificate.
  • Expands eligibility for the teacher apprenticeship program, a new pathway for individuals to work in education and ultimately become teachers.
  • Simplifies financial requirements for school boards.
    • Provides options to transition from newspapers to websites for certain notices.
    • Provides a more effective timeframe for financial reporting.
  • Enhances the ability of school boards to plan for and manage their facilities.
    • Expands revenue use for facilities.
    • Removes requirements for educational plant surveys.
    • Provides support for districts in staffing emergency shelters while ensuring safety under local emergency plans.
    • Provides additional flexibility in construction regarding cost per student station limits and in the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF).
  • Advances efficiency for school board administration.
    • Provides flexibility for school boards to delegate authority to superintendents for efficient district policies.
    • Allows online meeting notices and electronic notifications for student issues, with parental opt-in requirements.

SB 7004, as amended, does the following:

  • Revises elementary school student progression planning to identify students in kindergarten through grade 2 with substantial deficiency in reading or math; requires parental notification and input if the student is retained; allows parents to request additional supports currently provided in statute and any additional services offered by the school district.
  • Provides additional time for schools that pursue a community school as a turnaround option.
  • Requires that changes made to the school grades model or scale may not go into effect until the following school year.
  • Creates a streamlined process for districts to adopt state-required instructional materials, by creating timelines for the DOE to adopt instructional materials.
  • Provides greater flexibility for districts in the provision of virtual instruction.
  • Allows flexibility in offering VPK summer programs and reporting requirements.
  • Repeals a number of reports and programs (e.g., charter technical centers, competency-based program).


Reducing regulations for public schools is a component of HB 1 (2023). HB 1 expands eligibility for Florida’s School Choice Scholarships to all students who are residents of Florida and eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a public school. Under the bill, now law, parents receive an education savings account to take dollars the State of Florida has appropriated for their child in the public education system and choose among a variety of options to customize their child’s education.

The bill made several immediate revisions to Florida’s Education Code, identified by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. For example, the bill reduced hurdles to a 5-year temporary teacher certificate for anyone with a bachelor’s degree and for those with three years of effective or highly effective service. The bill repealed the requirement that a student take one online course in order to graduate from high school, which is not currently required in private schools. The bill also offered districts flexibility in facility costs for new construction, and offered student transportation flexibility to improve efficiency, while maintaining student safety.

To further reduce additional regulation on public schools, HB 1 required the State Board of Education to develop for adoption during the 2024 Legislative Session recommendations to repeal and revise portions of the Early Learning-20 Education Code, Title XLVIII, Florida Statutes. Additionally, the Senate undertook an independent review of the Florida Early Learning-20 Education Code to prepare the legislation that passed today. This review included feedback provided from Senators, local school districts, the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, the Florida School Boards Association, and the Florida Education Association, among others. In addition to meetings with these stakeholders, the Senate reviewed more than 4,000 suggestions submitted online via the Department of Education’s public portal.

President Passidomo’s Memorandum to Senators - 8.24.23

President Passidomo’s Memorandum to Senators - 11.3.23