The City Commission has adopted a resolution opposing legislation in the Florida Legislature that would remove the State of Florida’s promises to provide (1) 100-percent tuition for Academic and Medallion Scholars, and (2) a full textbook stipend to students who receive the Academic Scholars Award.
Here is the full text of the resolution:
RESOLUTION NO. 21-27
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF ATLANTIC BEACH, FLORIDA, URGING ALL MEMBERS OF THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO RESPECTFULLY OPPOSE CS/CS SENATE BILL 86, WHICH WOULD REMOVE THE STATE’S PROMISES TO PROVIDE (1) 100% TUITION FOR ACADEMIC AND MEDALLION SCHOLARS, AND (2) A FULL TEXTBOOK STIPEND TO STUDENTS WHO RECEIVE THE ACADEMIC SCHOLARS AWARD; DIRECTING A COPY OF THIS RESOLUTION BE TRANSMITTED TO MEMBERS OF THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE, THE FLORIDA LEAGUE OF CITIES, THE DUVAL COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION, AND ANY OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, the Bright Futures Scholarship Program, which is primarily funded by the Florida Lottery, was created in 1997 by the Florida Legislature to assist students in pursuing post-secondary educational and career goals; and
WHEREAS, more than 880,000-and-counting Bright Futures scholarships have been awarded, giving children a chance to survive and advance in their education and in life, and contributing largely to Florida’s job growth and economic vitality; and
WHEREAS, with all the challenges students face, including interruptions due to hurricanes and pandemics, Bright Futures is paramount to helping keep students focused on their big-picture goals; and
WHEREAS, a cornerstone of the Bright Futures program is that a student awarded a scholarship can depend on the award throughout their college or university career so long as they remain eligible for the scholarship; and
WHEREAS, Bright Futures it not an entitlement program; it is merit-based, and students work diligently to earn this prestigious scholarship; and
WHEREAS, Florida Senate Bill 86 authored by State Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala would remove guarantees of 100-percent funding of college tuition and fees for top-performing students (Academic and Medallion Scholars), and instead would tie scholarship awards to amounts set aside in the annual State of Florida budget, which could fluctuate from year-to-year or be cut entirely; and
WHEREAS, the bill further proposes to remove the assurance of providing a full textbook-funding stipend to students who receive the Academic Scholars award; and
WHEREAS, this legislation would break promises made to thousands of Florida schoolchildren and their families, who depend on consistent scholarship funding while attending a college or university in Florida; and
WHEREAS, by creating uncertainty with Bright Futures funding, the State likely would drive away many of our most talented students, who would instead seek guaranteed college scholarship in other states.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that, to continue to guarantee Florida children a chance to survive and advance in their education and in life, and to advance Florida’s employment opportunities and economic vitality, the City of Atlantic Beach respectfully opposes CS/CS Senate Bill 86, which would remove the State of Florida’s promises to provide (1) 100-percent tuition for Academic and Medallion Scholars, and (2) a full textbook stipend to students who receive the Academic Scholars Award.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution be transmitted to members of the Florida Legislature, the Florida League of Cities, the Duval County legislative delegation, the Duval County School Board, and any other interested parties.
THIS RESOLUTION shall become effective immediately upon passage.
PASSED AND ADOPTED by the City Commission of the City of Atlantic Beach, this 12th day of April, 2021.