Parent trigger bill returns to state Senate


The Parent Empowerment in Education bill, also known as the “parent trigger bill,” has returned after being denied by the senate last year.

Sen. Kelli Stargel, who is sponsoring the bill, picked it up after last year’s defeat.

If the bill passes through the education, appropriations and policy committees, among others, it will be voted on when session starts March 5. The bill gives parents voices in what happens to their children’s schools if the schools receive F ratings.

Parents are given options for their children’s schools. They can vote to close it, privatize it, create a charter school or change the school’s administration.

The parents’ votes are then compared to the state board’s decision. If they don’t align, the state board of education will decide the school’s fate. 

Parents have mixed views on the bill.

“This bill sounds like it’s good on one hand and bad on the other,” said Jennifer Milner, whose daughter attends R. Frank Nims Middle School.

Ryan Snowden, another concerned parent, thinks the bill is a good idea.

“I think it’s about time that we’re being included,” Snowden said. “I think this is for the best.”

According to the Florida Department of Education, in the 2012-13 academic year, more than 200,000 students were enrolled in charter schools in Florida. There are currently more than 339,000 students in Florida private schools.

Parents will be able to access information about their children’s teachers and see if teachers are teaching outside of their fields.

“The more parents that step in and let their voice be heard, I think the better the outcome,” Snowden said.