Prek-12 Legislative Update 3/16/17

Vern Pickup-Crawford 

State

First, a correction from last night’s update: I listed a possible $150 million reduction in class size funding. That was not put on the table. Please ignore that reference. My apology.

Senate Appropriations today approved SB78 which requires 20 minutes a day of unstructured activity (recess) for elementary school students. The bill moves on to Rules Committee for approval to be placed on the Senate floor calendar at some point. The House version, HB67, has not been heard in committee, yet.

I promised last night we’d forward SB374 on community/state colleges (that includes PSAV) when the amendments were engrossed into a committee substitute. It is not out yet, but I will forward it as part of our next update.

The 2017-2018 Constitutional Revision Commission has launched its website (http://flcrc.gov/) with notice of its first and organizational meeting to be held next Monday 2-4pm in the Senate Chambers. The 37-member panel will be sworn in officially and will set its rules and undergo a brief session on ethics. The Commission is expected to start most of its work at the conclusion of this legislative session.

Today’s bill for your review is HB303 (compare SB436) on religious expession in schools. Attached is the committee substitute approved this week 14-0 in Prek-12 Quality subcommittee in the House. It goes next to Judiciary. SB436 is on the Senate floor calendar on special order for 2nd reading (questions and any amendments) Tuesday. Debate and Senate vote will occur later in the week. The essence of the bill authorizes public school students & school personnel to express religious viewpoints & engage in certain religious activities without discrimination. Both Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron have advocated its passage this session.

Federal

This is President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget summary (our 2018-2019 school year…our 2017-2018 funding still pending further action on the Congressional CR that expires April 28th). Overall, it provides for a 13% or $9.2 Billion reduction from the current 2017 Continuing Resolution. There’s a $1 billion carve-out for portability–which was indicated to me in Washington Monday will face a very difficult time in the Senate although it’s likely to get strong consideration in the House (it was deleted from ESSA in conference in 2015). Actual budget details are forthcoming, but no date has been set. The full detail is required by May.

See pages 17-18, and the back chart summary attached. Link also here:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget

Washington Post has initial story: https://www.districtadministration.com/news/trump-seeks-slash-education-department-make-big-push-school-choice. By the time you see this, there will likely be other articles on the budget.

Education Week is here: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/03/trump_budget_massive_cuts_education_boosts_school_choice.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news1-RM