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Get the latest coverage of the 2022 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Hillsborough County Public Schools are dealing with Florida legislature impacts

Screenshot of man in suit speaking at meeting.
Hillsborough County School Board
Superintendent Addison Davis discussed implementation of the approved legislation at a workshop Tuesday.

Hillsborough Superintendent Addison Davis said these changes will be explained to officials at upcoming principal meetings and the summer leadership institute.

Education was a hot topic in the Florida legislature this spring — with lawmakers passing bills to shift the book review process in schools and tamp down the mention of sexual orientation and gender in primary grades, among other changes.

Hillsborough County School Board members met Tuesday to discuss how to implement these new laws — as well as the state funding for the district for the coming school year.

Superintendent Addison Davis said these changes will be explained to officials at upcoming principal meetings and the summer leadership institute.

"With the new language that's out there, I would say sensationalizing the opportunity to move forward with (lawsuits),” Davis said. “We've got to continue to make certain that all of our leaders are very clear about what we have to do from an implementation perspective and also a monitoring perspective with new language (from the state)."

Davis said the district has reached out to the state Department of Education for clarity on the implementation of legislation.

Board members also had questions about the Parental Rights in Education bill — which critics call the "Don't Say Gay" bill, shifts in charter school policy, and the replacement of the Florida Standards Assessments.

Davis said superintendents asked state officials questions about the latter item — eliminating the annual FSA exams and replacing them with three progress monitoring tests given throughout the year — at a recent

“...Openly, they didn’t have answers,” he said. “For me it’s concerning.”

The district is waiting for state guidance so that they can train teachers on the new exams and discern what data will be available to see where students are, Davis added.

School board member Stacy Hahn noted that the end of the school year is near, and teachers need to have the information as soon as possible.

"This is not something we can afford to build the plane while we're flying so to speak, and nor can the DOE,” she said. “I mean there's a lot at stake here."

The state needs to answer more questions about the progress monitoring process before the local assessment calendar can be built, Davis said.

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.
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