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Sweeping changes could be in store for Florida's public schools

Republicans tout funding increases while Democrats say provisions are vague

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – This week, the Florida House approved sweeping changes to the state's school system.

State representatives voted 66-43 in favor of a 200-page education bill.

The megabill includes measures on everything from bullying to scholarships to teachers’ unions. 

On "This Week in South Florida," hosts Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg spoke with two lawmakers to get their take.

“It increases teacher salary so we’re gonna give teachers a bump in salary. ... It increases funding for students by 100 bucks. We are consistently moving in the right direction, and I think (the bill) does just that,” said state Rep. Daniel Perez, a Miami Republican.

However, Democrats, including state Rep. Shevrin Jones of West Park, worry that the open-ended parts of the bill could be abused.

In particular, Jones is concerned about a provision that allows students to receive vouchers for private schools if they say they are the victims of bullying.

“Now we’re opening another opportunity, if you’re bullied, which we have not defined, you can also receive a voucher to go to another school," Jones said. "There’s no regulations, no rules on what does it mean for a child to be bullied."

The bill now heads to the Florida Senate.