Financial literacy class could become high school requirement

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - A 2016 study found nearly two-thirds of Americans can't calculate interest. The number has been on the rise since at least 2009.

"We want to provide our students with financial management skills," said Senator Dorothy Hukill.

Senator Hukill is sponsoring legislation that would require all high school students to pass a semester-long course. It would teach skills like balancing a checkbook and determining interest.

"We want to give them the real world skills so they don't get deep in debt, that they don't make decisions that are going to affect them for the rest of their lives and affect them negatively," said Senator Hukill.

Seventeen other states require a similar course.

The bill passed a Senate committee unanimously, but the are concerns.

Some Lawmakers worry the bill continues a trend of cramming more curriculum into a school year they already consider too short.

Former Superintendent and now State Senator Bill Montford says lawmakers will eventually have to take a serious look at lengthening the school day or even school year.

The Financial literacy course would take the place of an elective course, leaving one less opportunity for students to take arts or fitness classes.

"It's a simple matter. The more we require for graduation, the less options there are for electives," said Senator Montford.

Schools Boards say they can't effort the cost of the course, estimated at between $130,000 and $8.8 million without state help.