Bill requiring high school finance class passes Senate panel

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 3:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 3:38 p.m.

A financial literacy bill that would require students to get a semester of personal finance instruction to graduate high school passed its first hurdle this week.

Senate Bill 212, sponsored by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, was passed by the Senate Education Committee and will now move to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.

If the bill gets through the appropriations subcommitee, it could end up on the Senate floor for a vote before the session ends in about month.

The passage "brings us one step closer to providing the financial education our students need," Hukill said. She added that "students will be able to use this knowledge of financial matters to build a strong economic future for themselves."

Hukill said students should be required to pass a half-credit course — which is 18 weeks — in order to graduate high school.

"Personal finance skills do not come naturally," Hukill said. "Developing a student's knowledge of finance will provide for a secure financial future as they move on to college or the workplace."

Called the Financial Literacy Education Act, it requires the curriculum of the proposed course to include instruction on money management, spending and credit, insurance, taxes and income.

Hukill said in a prepared statement that the course will ensure graduates will have the necessary skills to be "consumer savvy and well-equipped to handle their personal finances."

Hukill acknowledged earlier this year that many school districts do offer some type of financial literacy instruction, though only in bits and pieces in an array of courses during the school year.

As it stands, a high school student must earn 24 credits to graduate. Sixteen of those credits are in courses such as English, math and science. The remaining eight credits are earned through electives.

If the financial literacy bill passes, students would have only seven and a half credits for electives.

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