State

State agencies, including the Department of Education, have been directed to develop 10% “cut budgets” for FY18 as part of the Governor’s review in preparation for next year. Such exercises are not uncommon, but give a dire glimpse into FLDOE thinking should there be a major revenue shortfall–and none is predicted currently for FY18. Attached is the worksheet for all of education. Of direct note for K-12 are pages 22 and following which would show a $734 million FEFP reduction from current year. Other programs and functions are also listed by category.

A LobbyTools (my contracted service) notes:
A total of $1.4 billion in cuts from the Department of Education are needed to reach the 10 percent directed by the governor, with $1.2 billion coming from General Revenue and $200 million from trust funds
Of the cuts suggested, the state’s share of the Florida Education Finance Program, the primary funding for K-12 public school districts, would see a $734.3 million reduction. The School Recognition Program, funded by the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, would see $13.5 million in cuts. Non FEFP state grants would lose $64 million.
The Department of Early Learning would lose $55 million in funding under the proposed cuts.
The executive budget for PreK-20 would also see $13.3 million in cuts.
My reporting of this is not to alarm anyone, but let everyone know that this exercise is occurring and I suspect it will get some press. Again, the state is still projecting revenue increases for next year and the State Board of Education has recommended a 2.48% increase in total state/local potential funding. The State Board will meet in Tallahassee on October 26th. The agenda will be announced later this week.

Federal

The US Department of Education has issued final teacher preparation guidance for states and school districts. The regulations focus on higher education institution teacher prep programs and outlines specific measures by which program quality would be judged. These regs are separate from ESSA implementation for K-12 schools. ESSA does not address teacher requirements, having stricken the “high quality” teacher language of 2001 No Child Left Behind legislation. The regs will be of interest to HR/Personnel staff and can be viewed here.

Meanwhile school districts and any member of the public has until November 7th to weigh in on proposed US-Ed rules regarding supplement-not-supplant requirements for ESSA programs, specifically Title 1 for disadvantaged students. The rule, executive summary and procedure for input is at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=ED-2016-OESE-0056-0001.

As noted in an update last month, the Administration offers four options, based on dollar amounts rather than FTE which had been the common practice. The main points noted by US-Ed include:

Incorporate the requirement under section 1118(b)(2) of the ESEA that an LEA must demonstrate that the methodology used to allocate State and local funds to each title I school ensures that such school receives all of the State and local funds it would otherwise receive if it were not a title I school.
Restate the general requirement under section 1118(b)(1) that a State educational agency (SEA) or an LEA use title I, part A funds only to supplement, and not supplant, State and local funds.
Clarify that an LEA may demonstrate compliance with the preceding requirement under the ESEA in a number of ways.
Provide numerous flexibilities to ensure that an LEA can implement the requirement in a way that reflects local needs, circumstances, and decision-making.
Clarify the implementation timeline for the proposed regulations.

House and Senate Education committee chairs oppose the rule, saying it goes further than the legislation allows. As the rule-making continues, it is possible an effort by House Ed Chair John Kline and Senate Ed Chair Lamar Alexander may be made to attach a “rider” onto the pending appropriations legislation to restrict some of the rule.

Last, speaking of appropriations, current street word is to look for a lame duck session in late November/December to pass a year-long continuing resolution (CR) that continues the current year level of funding through federal year 2017 (our 2017-2018 school year). If such does occur, it would mean about a half (.5) percent decrease in Labor/HHS spending, including K-12 education. The CR projection may well change depending of the outcome of the presidential election, but both chambers and both parties are significantly apart in domestic and defense spending going into the October election hiatus.