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Senate OKs mandatory recess bill

in Statewide by

Recess scored a big win the Senate, but the proposal faces an uphill climb in the House.

The Senate voted 36-0 to approve a bill (SB 78) that would require school districts provide students in kindergarten through fifth grade with 20 minutes of recess each day. The vote marks a big milestone in the Senate, which just last year refused to hear to hear a similar proposal.

But the Senate proposal is significantly different than one moving through the House, and Sen. Anitere Flores, the Miami Republican sponsoring the Senate bill, said she hoped the Senate would send a message to House with its vote.

“The Senate feels strongly … if we’re going to have recess, it’s going to be recess. It should not be in competition with other things,” she said. “Recess should be able to stand on its own.”

The House proposal (HB 67) calls on school boards to include free-play recess for students in kindergarten through third grade as part of 150 minutes per week of physical education requirement. It also requires school districts to provide 20 minutes of recess on days when physical education classes aren’t held.

The House proposal originally mirrored the bill passed by the Senate, but was amended during its first committee stop. That proposal now heads to the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.

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