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2003 Opinions

Date:   July 28, 2003
Prepared By:   Scott Odenbach
Phone:   (850) 245-0442
Suncom:   205-0442
Opinion No.:   03-07
Staff Contact:   none
MEMORANDUM OPINION
TO: Stephanie J. McCulloch
McLin & Burnsed, P.A.
FROM: Daniel J. Woodring
General Counsel
SUBJECT: GPA Requirements

QUESTION PRESENTED: May a school board increase the GPA requirements and/or the number of credits required to obtain a 3-year high school diploma?

SHORT ANSWER: No.

DISCUSSION: The new Section 1003.429, Florida Statutes, establishes the accelerated graduation option and sets out, in parts (1)(b) and (c), the two 18-credit options available. One is a “college prep” coursework option and the other is a “career prep” coursework option. Both accelerated graduation options include 18 credits.

Subpart (4) of the statute states:

“District school boards shall not establish requirements for accelerated 3-year high school graduation options in excess of the requirements in paragraphs (1)(b) and (c).”

This provision may be distinguished from Section 1003.43(4)(c) Florida Statutes, governing graduation requirements under a four-year curriculum and which authorizes and encourages school boards to establish requirements in excess of the minimum. Unlike that section, the new statute specifically prohibits school boards from increasing the requirements under the three-year option.

As to the GPA, the plain language of the statute says in part (5)(b) that in order to complete the 3-year option, students are required to “achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, in the courses required by the chosen accelerated 3-year high school graduation option.…”

CONCLUSION: The new law establishing the 18-credit graduation option is clear: The requirements are 18 credits and a 2.0 GPA in those credits – and no more.

DJW/sol


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