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Legislative News

Prek-12 Legislative Update – 10/13/17

State

Legislative Committee meetings wrapped up yesterday with the Senate Appropriations Committee getting revenue updates from Economic/Demographic/Research (EDR) Coordinator Amy Baker noting that Hurricane Irma has cost Florida about $170 million so far with the price tag rising. Baker terms a one-time negative impact on revenue a  “black swan.” The back-up for the meeting is linked here. In addition to PDF files on budget and impact of Hurricane Irma, the packet contains background information on the increase of opioid abuse and consequences around the state. The budget data will likely be the last until sometime either late next month or December.

To date, Baker is projecting about a $170 million negative impact that Irma has had on Florida revenues, noting that will increase as damage tabulations and impact of sales tax (loss of tourism, etc) is tabulated. While Florida is projected with over $1 billion increase in revenues for next year, fixed expenses including increased student enrollment, were projected to leave a total $52 million surplus. Irma has now placed that estimate in the minus column. Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala warned next session will be tight from a revenue standpoint.

Meanwhile, the House has begun its annual exercise in budget reductions. Part of the information at Wednesday’s K-12 Appropriations subcommittee show a potential 9.68% cut across the board would mean a reduction of $777.6 million in state Florida Education Finance Program dollars from current year. Note the House has been doing these budget reduction projections for several years and this week’s exercise does not mean that will be the final position of the House. Budget development has not begun nor will until session begins on January 9th. The “cut” sheets are part of the packet which is linked here for your review.

State Board of Education members meet next Wednesday, starting at 9am at Jacksonville’s Florida State College’s Advanced Technology Center. This will be the first meeting that the SBE will deal with Schools of Hope designations for school districts that have applied under HB7069 and who face mandatory turnaround changes for FY19. The agenda item, here, will be modified with announcement of school districts meeting the criteria. At the same meeting, the SBE will be asked to approve the designated “Schools of Excellence,” also authorized in HB7069, that provide a modicum of school-based autonomy.

The full agenda is here. The meeting will be webcast on www.thefloridachannel.org.

Minutes of July 17, August 16 and September 13 Meetings (PDF)

Updates

  1. Florida College System – President Bioteau on behalf of the Council of Presidents(PDF)
  2. K-12 Public Schools – Superintendent Willis on behalf of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents(PDF)

Action Items

  1. Review of Turnaround Option Plan for Alachua County(PDF)
  2. Review of Turnaround Option Plan for Hamilton County(PDF)
  3. Approval of District Turnaround Option Plans for Schools Implementing Year 1 in 2017-18(PDF)
  4. Parrish Charter Academy vs. School Board of Manatee County(PDF)
  5. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-6.0781, Procedures for Appealing a District School Board Decision(PDF)
  6. Schools of Hope Program Awards for Traditional Public Schools – Whole School Transformation Model (TOP-3 applications)(PDF)

Member Comments

Chair Marva Johnson

Consent Items

Concluding Remarks

Chair Marva Johnson

———————————————————————–

The Constitutional Revision Commission meets next week to review public proposals for several articles that cover general provisions and “miscellaneous.” Education, Article IX, is not slated for discussion.The schedule and agenda is here. These meetings are also webcast on www.thefloridachannel.org.

A new scholarship proposal that is modeled after the Corporate Income Tax Scholarship for students in low state-rated schools was announced by Speaker Richard Corcoran this week. Recapping an earlier Update, there are few specifics in the plan as Corcoran said more will come about the start of session. Essentially, a parent of a child who has been bullied or abused IN school and when there is no resolution to the parent’s satisfaction after a 15-day period given school administrators to have a remedy may apply to the state for an estimated $6,000 voucher to have their child attend a non-public school that would be approved by FLDOE. Funding and the mechanics of exactly how the program would work are pending, as is any discussion on how to prevent abuse of the program, itself. The House leadership has done a brief PowerPoint that highlights the program here.

Federal

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has published in the Federal Register a list of her top 11 priorities as secretary. Foremost, understandably, is expansion of parent choice options including charter schools and various scholarship/voucher programs. She also lists several other issues including streamlining federal bureaucracy and strengthening STEM programs. The complete list including rationale can bedownloaded and read here.

DeVos and her staff have also been involved with expediting assistance–rule waiver and otherwise–to states, including Texas and Florida–hit by storms. Devos was in Collier County this week meeting with school representatives in Everglades City and Immokalee which were hit hard by Irma. Congress is tooling a disaster relief funding package, the first part of which passed the House this week and will get Senate consideration next week. Most of the funds covers building and infrastructure repairs. Details are not yet available, but funds would go to the states affected.

Also, House and Senate budget conferees are being named to work on a compromise for HR2810 which is looking to be the overall appropriations and tax bill for 2018. The House named its Education and Workforce Committee to deal on education sections. The Senate is expected to do the same. No timeline has been set except the current Continuing Resolution (CR) that extended last year’s funding levels beyond September 30th expires on December 8th. The House has several budget reductions in play, most notably elimination of funding for ESEA Title IIB funds for teacher and staff training/development (about $2.3 Billion) while the Senate continues K-12 funding pretty much at current year levels. The budget affects school districts for 2018-2019, not the current school year already in progress.

Vern Pickup-Crawford

Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.


Prek-12 Legislative Update 8/26/17
The Constitutional Revision Commission and its committees are set to start a series of meetings on September 18-19 in Tallahassee. The Schedule, linked here, calls for the Education Committee to meet 8am-12noon on the 18th and the full Commission Tuesday morning. Other committees will be deliberating Monday and Tuesday as well. The schedules for the next two sets of meetings during the weeks of Sept. 29, and Oct. 2 are attached. The substance of each committee generally follows the respective Article of the Constitution. For example, Education will cover Article IX. Members of the Education (Article IX) Committee and their bio’s is here.
Agendas for the committees and Commission are not get published, but should be out at least 7-days prior. All meetings will be webcast bywww.thefloridachannel.org. At this point, public testimony is not slated to be allowed during deliberations. As the Commission takes up issues for consideration and a vote, we expect to see public hearings held to provide for public appearances.
Of Significance to K-12 Education is a proposed filed by Commissioner Roberto Martinez to remove any restriction in use of state funds for non-secular (ie, religious school) entities. The attached “Declaration of Rights – Religious Freedom” is comparable to the 2012 Amendment Eight that Florida voters defeated in a 45-55% vote (amendments require a 60% voter approval). The restriction currently in law in Florida and over 30 states nationally is often referred to as the “Blaine amendment.” The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a very narrow ruling striking down a part of a Missouri restriction in connection with playground equipment. The Court majority noted it was not ruling on any restriction related to direct aid to education. This proposal is expected to get a lot of attention and debate.
Meanwhile, the Commission is considering a September 22 cut-off date to receive any further recommendations from the public at-large. A summary of citizen proposals already submitted is available here.
Bills are being prefiled by legislators in advance of the January 2018 regular session. I’ve begun a tracking chart which is attached on those that either will or may have an impact on schools or school district operations. Legislative Committees meet beginning the week of September 12th. Agendas will be published 7-days prior to the meetings (Senate publishes all 7-days in advance, House is by committee meeting date). It’s not clear yet if bills will be heard during this round of meetings. Generally, they are not as time is spent on status/progress reports of what passed during the previous session/s.
The distribution list of Public Education Capital Outlay funds from last June’s special session have been published by the Department of Education are are attached for your information. Public school districts are receiving $50 million this year. The funds are distributed based on the PECO formula and what is called “capital outlay FTE” (COFTE), similar, but not the same used for operating dollars). The $50 million for charter schools will be distributed by application from qualifying charter schools to the Department of Education.
Heads up that Phi Delta Kappa will be issuing results next week of its annual poll of public attitudes on education. Of interest, the Gallup poll this week issued its own survey which is here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/216611/americans-satisfaction-schools-edges-2016.aspx?g_source=K_12&g_medium=topic&g_campaign=tiles
Congress remains on break through the Labor Day weekend. Of note this week was a comment from House Speaker Paul Ryan, made during a town hall meeting, that he did not see budget approval by both chambers coming on or before the September 30th end of the federal fiscal year. If true, we would have yet another round of Continuing Resolutions that extend current year funding for a specific period of time in order to avoid a government shutdown of non-essential services. also expiring in September is the current debt ceiling authority (how much money can be borrowed to pay the federal debt). Non-renewal or adjustment of the debt ceiling can result in US loan defaults. Such has not occurred, however, in recent memory.
Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group
Prek-2 Legislative Update 8/9/17
State
The Constitutional Revision Commission, after a rules committee meeting today, has released its preliminary schedule of committee and full commission meetings. The schedule, linked here, will have committees start September 18-19, a week after the first pre-2018 legislative committee week (there are some members who serve in both rules) and the first full CRC meeting will be September 19th. The list of committees and members is here. Of keen interest to Prek-12 education is the Education Committee charged with review of Article IX and chaired by State Board of Education Chair Marva Johnston. Other members include:
Public testimony will be allowed at the meetings and agendas will be published prior to each meeting which will be webcast overwww.thefloridachannel.org. The full Commission is expected to work through most of the 2018 winter months. A concluding date has not been set, but final proposals voted on (60% or 22 members’ final approval) must be to the Secretary of State by the beginning of May.
The District Cost Differential DCD), the price level index adjusted for school districts, will be studied for modification for the fourth time since inception in the mid-1970’s. The last adjustment came in 2004 when then-Senate President Jim King of Duval County ordered a review that has since been known as the “amenities” factor–taking the Price Level Index and adjusting it to reduce the impact, in particular, of higher housing costs in a number of coastal districts. Economist Jim Dewey of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR), then at U-F and now at Florida Polytech, led that study which is used today. The 2016 report, issued last January and used in the 2017 Legislative budget, can be read here. In short, 14 school districts have a factor above 1.0 while 53 are below 1.0, the baseline as a multiplier in calculating FEFP funds. The formula is cost neutral, itself, but does cause a shift of dollars to individual districts one way or the other. Most smaller rural districts have an offsetting factor called “sparsity” to accommodate cost of services to those districts. A number of counties benefit from neither.
Senate Education Chair Dorothy Hukill ‘s request for a study (it was in the original budget and vetoed by Governor Scott) was approved yesterday by Senate President Joe Negron who has called upon the Office for Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) and the office of Economic Demographic Research (EDR) to conduct a study and provide findings and recommendations prior to the January 9th start of the 2018 session.
Bills for 2018 are now being prefiled as the “switch” was flipped today to post early prefilings. Lawmakers have from now to opening day to file bills. Both chambers have earlier deadlines by which proposals must be into the “bill drafting” office for formatting and legally correct wording. Additionally, the House rule that members must file a bill for each appropriation request also continues for next session. A very early listing of prefiled bills that do or may affect Prek-12 is attached for your information. You may see a few that you will want to track. Committees start meeting the week of September 12th. Look for bills to be heard starting in October.
The State Board of Education meets telephonically next Wednesday on a brief agenda, linked here. No discussion of legislative issues or the pending state plan for ESSA implementation is agended, but could come up briefly.
Federal
Congress is on break until September 7th. At that point, slightly over three weeks remain before the end of the fiscal year. The House has passed most of their appropriations measures. The Senate, held up by healthcare debate, has not acted on any education measure as yet. Also pending is Senate action on the House-passed reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Vocational Education Act.
Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update – Senate FEFP Proposal for Special Session 2017A – 6/6/17

The Senate has posted its budget proposals that includes SB2500A filed by Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala. The bill calls for use of $143M from new construction tax roll growth in Required Local effort, plus $72M in state dollars to reach the same $215M threshold increase as the House (which uses state dollars only to reach the $215M level. The Base Student Allocation in SB2500A is $.50 higher than the House at $4204.45/FTE. All categorical programs in the Senate bill, as well as other FEFP figures, match House Bill 3A. The Senate district “run” has just come out as of this hour and is here.

Of significance for tomorrow’s special session, is the newly filed SB2A on economic programs differs from HB1A in how $75+ million in incentives would be handled. If lawmakers get hung up on one version or the other, it could affect the intended outcome by Friday’s scheduled 6pmadjournment.

Both bills are attached. Also attached is the perfunctory implementing bill, SB2502A, which, in the end, will include the FEFP district run.

Toward the end of today, the earlier smoothness of an agreed to session started getting rough edges as Senate President Joe Negron first issued the attached memo to his members. Then, upon seeing the Senate was proposing to use new construction from local tax rolls through an increase in the required local effort, plus a different approach to economic incentives than the House, Speaker Richard Corcoran issued his attached response. Further, the specter of the need for a three-day cooling off period was raised in the hallways as debate went back and forth on whether the FEFP and economic incentives are “general appropriations” or “specific” appropriations within the general appropriations act (GAA)….the three-day session does not provide for an additional 3-day waiting period.

Federal

US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos presented the administration’s proposed FY18 education budget to Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations subcommittee members this morning. Chair Roy Blunt began the hearing, which set the tone, with these opening comments.  Her testimony was followed by a series of questions and comments, the comments mostly critical by members of both parties concerning recommended budget cuts. The committee took no action and stands in recess until 10am June 15th. The 2hr/40min hearing can be viewed here.

 

Legislative Update – 6/2/17 – Special 3-day Session Next Week

(Just a quick note beforehand that anyone who wishes to express their views on HB7069 still has time to do so. The Gov’s site for that is here). As you know, the district has a “call to action” out on this bill. Any emailing should be from personal emails outside of work hours).

With support from Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron, Gov. Rick Scott at a joint press conference today in Miami has issued a call for a three-day session starting at 9 a.m. next Wednesday and extending to 6 p.m. Friday for purposes of increasing the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) budget by $215M and increasing his priority issues of incentive funding for Enterprise Florida (EFI) and Visit Florida. The Proclamation is here: http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/SGS-BIZHUB17060209430.pdf. Because the entire budget it not being vetoed, the Constitutional 3-day wait period will not apply. Appropriations Committees will be convened to file, debate and pass specific bills that can be amended on the floor of either Reportedly Reportedly, the Governor has also vetoed in excess of $400M in individual community projects. It would be expected that some of those “freed up” dollars would go toward the special session issues. His office said his veto message and a list of the vetoed projects will be out later today.

It is important to note in the release below that included are comments from Speaker Richard Corcoran with whom the Governor has been at odds over EFI and tourism funding. Comments from Senate President Joe Negron are attached.

Two K-12 issues are not known at this point:

1) will whatever the Legislature appropriates in the FEFP flow as part of the Base Student Allocation or be earmarked for specific purposes; and
2) will the Governor sign or veto (or let become law without signature) HB7069 on K-12 education which has been a hot topic for the past month. Gov. Scott only said he was still reviewing the bill. It does contain, however, several sections that are tied to the FY18 budget. To this hour, it has not been signed by officers and presented to him. Speculation in the past day has focused on possible approval of the bill in return for House agreement to increase EFI/Visit Florida funding.

As with any special session, the presiding officers can agree to introduce other issues through a 2/3 vote of each chamber. On that short list is implementation of medical marijuana (HB1397 that failed to pass last month).

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

GOV. SCOTT CALLS SPECIAL SESSION TO FIGHT FOR STUDENTS & JOBS

MIAMI, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott signed the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year and vetoed $410 million in legislative projects that do not provide a great return for Florida families. Additionally, Governor Scott vetoed the Florida Educational Finance Program (FEFP) funding portions of the budget. Governor Scott is also vetoing HB 5501 which decreased funding to VISIT FLORIDA by over 60 percent. The Governor’s full budget veto list will be released later today.

Governor Scott is calling a special session to discuss the following measures beginning on June 7, 2017 and ending on June 9, 2017 (click here to view the proclamation):

Funding for Florida’s K-12 students through the FEFP: Governor Scott is calling on the Legislature to provide an additional $215 million to K-12 education than previously authorized. This would increase the per student funding by $100.

Florida Job Growth Grant Fund: Governor Scott is proposing to establish the new Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to promote public infrastructure and individual job training which will encourage more businesses to choose Florida as a destination to grow jobs. Governor Scott is calling on the Florida Legislature to fund it at $85 million.

Increase VISIT FLORIDA Funding: Governor Scott has been focused on funding VISIT FLORIDA at $76 million in order to bring more tourists and support for Florida small businesses. The Governor is calling on the legislature to pass legislation that funds VISIT FLORIDA at a total of $76 million and includes comprehensive transparency and accountability measures at the organization.

Governor Scott said, “Florida’s students deserve the very best and we must always do everything possible to provide them with the resources they need to get a great education. It is my goal that a total of $215 million more is allocated to the FEFP which is a $100 per student increase over current year funding during the upcoming legislative session. Our students are the future of our great state and I know Speaker Corcoran is committed to our students, parents and teachers and ensuring Florida offers a world-class education to students at all levels.

“In addition to our common focus on ensuring a world-class education for Florida’s students, Speaker Corcoran understands the importance of ensuring future economic growth for Florida’s economy. Today, I am announcing that I intend to veto HB 5501 relating to Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA. While I believe very strongly in these programs and their ability to help bring more jobs to Florida, there needs to be a new bill relating to these organizations and how they operate.

“During the special session, I am calling on the Florida Legislature to consider new legislation that funds Visit Florida at $76 million. Additionally, I am proposing to establish the new Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to be funded at $85 million to promote public infrastructure and individual job training which will encourage more businesses to choose Florida as a destination to grow jobs. I have fought for jobs since my very first day in office and I do not intend to stop and this new fund will give our state the tools we need to compete with other states and nations for jobs. Like the Legislature, I strongly believe in transparency, accountability and a strong return on investment for any taxpayer dollars used. There needs to be legislation that allows us to market our state for tourism and grow jobs while maintaining these important principals. I look forward to working with the legislature during the upcoming special session to achieve these important goals for Florida families.”

Speaker Richard Corcoran said, “I am proud to stand with Governor Scott as we fight for continued strong job creation, giving every child a competitive and world class education, ensuring Florida competes as a tourist destination, and faithfully stewarding taxpayer dollars — goals that unify us.

“The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund will create both public infrastructure and job training and put taxpayers in the driver’s seat. All Floridians know that Governor Scott is committed to jobs. His willingness to work with us on this new model for economic development demonstrates that commitment and is greatly appreciated in the House. It’s truly a model for the rest of the nation wrestling with ending corporate welfare. In addition, this special session will secure Florida’s place as the premier tourist destination in America while ensuring that VISIT Florida is completely open, accountable and transparent to the taxpayer.

“The people of Florida should be proud today that you can have leaders with competing opinions and still compromise to meet common goals — government in Florida is working and the biggest winners are all Floridians.”

Prek-12 Legislative Update 5/8/17

The 2017 Florida Legislature has ended as of 8:52pm with both chambers declaring “sine Die” (“without day”). The Conference Reports on budget listed below were approved albeit not without some debate. There were up-or-down votes as the conference amendments cannot be amended. Bills pertaining to Prek-12 included:

General Appropriations Act, the first two sections of SB2500cr (“cr” means conference report) pertain directly to education. Passed House 98-14; Senate 34-4. Other key bills are:

SB2502cr Implementing Bill that incorporates the FEFP district distribution. The complete FEFP conference report run is here;

HB7069cr, a 277-page Prek-12 conforming bill garnered the most attention. debate and opposition. The House approved it along party lines, 73-36. The Senate, three hours later, voted 20-18 to send it to the Governor. The Conference Report on HB7069 includes over 20 bills heard during session and includes required sharing of capital outlay dollars by districts with charter schools with specific stipulations, expansion of Best and Brightest scholarships to more teachers and to principals for the first time; insertion of directive language on how districts shall spend their federal Title 1 dollars, mandatory recess (20 min/day-100min/week), a phase-in of “schools of hope” allowing charter management companies to take over low performing district schools, and several changes to state assessment that we’ve discussed previously. One of my colleagues, Eva Rodriguez of Miami-Dade, was kind enough to do a draft section-by-section of the bill which is attached. Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala, who was not involved in this bill, suggested support of the bill and pointedly told detractors to take up the disputed sections with the Governor as he reviews all appropriations bills.

SB7022cr, contains FRS employer rates for next year and a provision for those entering FRS for the first time to enter in the investment program. They have 8 months to switch into the pension plan if desired.

SB374cr is the higher education conforming bill; it splits community/state colleges from the State Board of Education and recreates a 13-member governing board, much like what existing prior to 2002; the bill changes metric for performance, phases in a block full-time tuition fee for students regardless of hours (12 or 15), and caps four-year programs in state colleges at 15% of the enrollment;

HB7109, the tax cut package that includes a three-day (August 4-6) tax free holiday for back-to-school supplies and clothing; it also clarifies that property owned by non-profit charter schools is property tax-exempt. The bill contains other tax reductions that approach about $296 million, based on last estimates.

Once signed by the presiding officers (Speaker and President) and sent to the Governor, Gov. Scott will have 15 days to review and may sign, veto (including line-tem veto) or let become law without his signature.

Attached is an updated preliminary chart of bills that have passed the Legislature, as of tonight, and which either have a direct or indirect implications for Prek-12. A number of the bills passed with amendments so the final “er” (enrolled) version may not be out yet. I’ll be working on that during the interim. Again, if you find a bill you think we missed, let me know.

 

Prek-12 Legislative Update 4/17/17
Not surprisingly, there was no word on the start of budget conferencing today between the House and Senate. A major “player” in this year’s budget is SB8 on gaming (gambling). The House and Senate have passed differing versions (original House bill was HB7037) that have various levels of expansion and deal differently with the Seminole Compact that has since expired. At stake are several hundred million dollars in differences. The joint gaming committee, at the House’ request, is not meeting until at least Thursday afternoon. No proposals were exchanged today. a side-by-side comparison of positions was released and I’ve attached it, betting that you will read it.

It’s doubtful any serious budget negotiations will occur until the gaming issue is near or at resolution. If one were a tea-leaf reader, the published House calendar does not set any time aside for budget conferencing until April 26th. Of course, the dates and times can change any time.

Meanwhile, committees approved more bills today. One bill sparking a lot of debate–pro and con–was SB796 that would create “high impact” charter management organizations for location in low performing school areas. The topic of HB5105 that calls for national charter management companies under specific circumstances, and funded by $200M in general revenue, to come in to serve students in failing district schools. No action was taken on that discussion although the Senate bill was approved 5-1. Results of bill actions follow here:

(S) – Criminal Justice
SB 1662 Cannabis (Clemens (J)) – sets civil penalty for possession by minor – temporarily postponed (TP’d)
(S) – Education
SB 0796 Charter Schools (Bean) – creates high impact charter mgt organizations -passed 5-1 with amendment
SB 0902 Gardiner Scholarship Program (Simmons) – expands program, similar to HB15 – 6-1 with amendment
SB 1362 K-12 Education (Broxson) – removes requirement for comparison of data between charter and district schools – 4-3
SB 1474 Teacher Certification (Perry) – modifies temporary certificate provisions – 7-0
SB 1586 Student Eligibility for Interscholastic (Garcia) – modifies FHAA pre-participation physical eval form – 6-0
(S) – Community Affairs
SB 1494 Write-in Candidate Qualifying (Rader) – removes write-in provision to close a partisan primary election, 6-0
SB 0278 Local Tax Referenda (Steube) – requires 60% voter approval of certain local referenda, 6-1 with amendment
SB 0914 Public Meetings (Baxley) – provides guidelines for local board/commission member “fact-finding” or excursions, 7-0
(S) – Governmental Oversight and Accountability
SB 0856 Education (Broxson) – companion to HB373 prohibiting rolling annual contracts for teachers – T-P’d
SB 1224 Public Records and Public Meetings/Resp (Passidomo) – provides exemption for emergency situation plans – 5-0
(H) – Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, 212 K (4:00PM–5:30PM)
HB 0907 Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation (Killebrew) – changes trust fund stipulations (ltd effect on K-12) – 13-0
Tomorrow, the House convenes at 1pm for what may be a marathon session with over 75 bills on “special order” for questions and amendment. Several bills impacting Prek-12 are on the docket and listed below. These are all bills you’ve seen go through the committee process in recent weeks. The Senate Education Appropriations Committee, in one its last meetings, convenes to hear nine bills starting on 1:30. Both will be webcast on http://www.thefloridachannel.org.

9:00AM
(H) – Appropriations Committee, 212 K (9:00AM–12:00PM)
HB 0603 Publicly Funded Defined Benefit Retirement (Fischer)-redefines actuarial rates over long term
HB 1235 Military and Veteran Support (Latvala (C))-streamlines certification process for vets and spouses
HB 1397 Medical Use of Marijuana (Rodrigues (R)) – implementing provisions
10:00AM
(S) – SESSION, (10:00AM–12:00PM)
SB 0148 Students Remaining on School Grounds During the day (Garcia)
1:00PM
(H) – SESSION, (1:00PM–N/A) – special Order: bills up for questions/amendments; floor vote on Thursday
HB 7085 Workers’ Compensation (Insurance & Banking Subcommittee)-holds legal fees at 12.5%
HB 7101 K-12 Education (PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee)-expands charter school eligibility; restricts how districts spend federal Title 1 funds
HB 0015 Educational Options (Sullivan)-expands corporate tax and Gardiner scholarships
HB 1021 Construction (Avila)-large bill; of note: prohibits political subdivision from adopting or enforcing certain building permits or other development order requirement
HB 0909 Building Code Administrators and Inspectors (Goodson)-training/certification
HB 7057 Civic Literacy (PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee)-requires demonstration of civic literacy for higher ed entrance
HB 0899 Comprehensive Transitional Education Program (Stevenson)-Authorizes APD to petition for appointment of receiver for comprehensive transitional education program
HB 1331 Education (Grall)-schools of excellence with state flexibility
HB 0493 Enhanced Safety for School Crossings (Toledo)-DOT study process for signage
HB 7083 Ethics Reform (Public Integrity & Ethics Committee)-ethics and lobbying rules for higher education and former state officials
HB 0655 Exceptional Student Instruction (Porter)-prohibits districts in certain circumstances from refusing to serve students from another county
HB 0989 Instructional Materials (Donalds)-modifies parent/resident input for selection and disposition of materials
HB 0293 Middle Grades (Burton)-national curriculum/instruction study
HB 1109 Private School Student Participation in athletics (Antone)-allows participation by student attending non-FHSAA school
HB 0501 Pub. Rec. and Meetings/Information Tech (Leek)-higher ed public records exemption
HB 0163 Public Records (Burgess)-see SB80
SB 0080 Public Records (Steube)-requires complainant to have timely notice in order to be paid fee
HB 0127 Public School Attendance Policies (Plasencia)
HB 0867 Student Loan Debt (Leek)-see SB396 below
SB 0396 Student Loan Debt (Hukill)-requires informational notice to students
HB 1111 Teacher Certification (Plasencia)-modifies alternative certification
1:30PM
(S) – Appropriations Subcommittee on Pre-K – 12 Education, 412 K (1:30PM–3:30PM)
SB 0468 Voluntary Prekindergarten Education (Stargel)-requires FLDOE to provided teacher training for VPK;
SB 0808 Maximum Class Size (Mayfield)-sets school average as penalty for failure to meet CSR requirements for all schools
SB 0868 Educational Options and Services (Baxley)-expands options/services for prep for higher ed/PSAV programs
SB 0984 Shared Use of Public School Playground (Bean)-encourages open playgrounds
SB 1302 Private School Student Participation in athletics(Gibson)-Senate version of HB1109, above
SB 1368 Exceptional Students (Perry)-allows parent to excuse child from school for treatment of autism spectrum disorder
SB 1468 Education (Galvano)-establishes pilot arts program for schools in proximity of U-F
SB 1552 Florida Best and Brightest Teacher and Principals(Simmons)-expands current scholarship to principals; modifies criteria–closely watching these two bills
SB 1598 Education (Brandes)-Schools of excellence, see HB1331 above
4:00PM
(S) – Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, 401 S (4:00PM–6:00PM)
SB 0714 Comprehensive Transitional Education Program (Garcia)-see HB899 above
SB 1318 Child Protection (Garcia)-revises requirements related to sexual abuse treatment programs, screening/employing child protection teams, etc.

All bills, amendments, staff analyses are votes are online at http://www.flsenate.gov and http://www.myfloridahouse.gov.

Vern Pickup-Crawford

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Prek-12 Legislative Update 3/29/17

The Senate Education Appropriations Committee finished its budget actions today, rolling out the proviso, implementing and conforming bill specifics. The attached packet provides the details. The single page FEFP summary is also included and is the same as what I distributed yesterday.

Both House and Senate Appropriations Committees have set next Wednesday, April 5th, for committee amendment, debate and vote. What is approved then goes to the respective floors on the 12-13th, a week shortened in observance of Passover and Good Friday. after that, assuming the full chambers approve their versions, we will be in “conference” with a joint House-Senate committee appointed to work out the differences and have an agreed to budget online (“on the desk” is the technical phrase) by May 2nd in order to adjourn on time May 5th.

Bills continued to flow today. The outline of actions is below. Tomorrow, House Education meets on several bills including the Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) that I distributed last night that establishes “schools of success.”

Today:
(H) – Government Accountability Committee
HB 0493 Enhanced Safety for School Crossings (Toledo) – passed 21-0
(H) – Public Integrity & Ethics Committee
HB 0953 Legislative/Congressional Redistricting (Ahern) – process for approval and appeals, passed 14-3
(H) – Appropriations Committee
HB 7069 Best and Brightest Teachers and Principals (Education Committee) – passed 18-8, amended
HB 7083 Ethics Reform (Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) state offices, higher education – passed 24-0
(H) – SESSION
HB 0039 Autism Awareness Training for Law Enforcement officers (Jenne) – rolled to third reading/final vote
HB 0001 Judicial Term Limits (Sullivan) – 12 years – passed 73-46 (72 needed for approval)
HB 7021 Local Government Ethics Reform (Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) – affects school districts (bill and analysis are attached–legal and Board policy staff need to review for impact) – rolled to third reading/final vote from House
HB 7023 Trust Funds/Creation/Local Government L (Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) – rolled to third reading
HB 0479 Government Accountability (Metz) – sets auditing requirements/procedures – legal and Board policy staff need to review (bill attached)
HB 0011 Labor Organizations (Plakon) – requires election of union falls below 50% membership – rolled to third reading/final House vote
(S) – SESSION
SB 0080 Public Records (Steube) – amended, passed 38-0 (intent to stop or slow frivolous lawsuits)

Prek-12 Legislative Update 3/24/17

After delays last week, the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees kick into gear starting Monday to come up with spending plans for recommendation to the full committees later in the week. In the House, a full draft appropriations bill is to be ready by Friday for amendment, debate and vote by the full committee on April 5th. We believe the Senate is following a similar time frame. Intent is to get the bills to the floor of both chambers during the week of April 10th whose schedule will be shortened in observance of Passover and Good Friday. At this point, what is going to be in the bills is speculation as all sorts of scenarios have been abounding. One likely difference is the House will freeze Local Required Effort (RLE) revenues at current year dollar value which the Senate will take advantage to some degree of tax roll growth.

Week four starts Monday with a flurry of bills as legislators push to get their bills started or moved on in committee. For the House, it is the last scheduled week for subcommittees (e.g., K-12 Quality Education and K-12 Innovation, below). For the Senate, committees usually will meet through the 7th week of session. For any single day’s listing of education-related bills, this may be the longest we’ll see during this session.

Senate Education Monday afternoon at 1:30 will hear numerous bills including one on a new topic–administration/ possession of medical marijuana in schools (SB1472). Most of the committee’s time will be workshopping  12 bills on various charter and choice programs to get a sense of whether to combine any and which to hear at the following week’s meeting. In that light, after last week’s workshop and testimony on state assessment and accountability, the committee is poised to hear SB926 (Flores) which shortens the state testing cycle toward the end of the year, calls for a review of ACT/SAT tests for possible use in lieu of FSA and sets level 3 as the “proficient” level for promotion in FSA math and English/language arts. SB964 is not on the agenda. Only two amendments have been prefiled so far for SB926, one modifying language that passed last year in HB7029 to allow individual board members to visit schools and make recommendations on school programs, and the second to require school districts to provide parents, students and their teachers an easy to understand report of the student’s performance.

CS/SB 328 by Health Policy/Grimsley – Regulation of Nursing
SB 668 by Bean – Postsecondary Distance Education –

SB 782 by Mayfield – High School Graduation Requirements
SB 926 by Flores – K-12 Student Assessments
SB 978 by Powell – High School Graduation Requirements -authorizes use of high school credits toward apprenticeship programs – supported by PBC Schools
SB 1210 by Lee – Instructional Materials for K-12 Public Education – companion to HB989 below, original bill wording
SB 1222 by Bradley – School Grades
SB 1290 by Hutson – Career and Technical Education
SB 1472 by Galvano – Medicinal Cannabis Research and Education

Presentation on Charter Schools

Workshop – Discussion and testimony only on the following (no vote to be taken):
SB 538 by Clemens – Charter Schools – charter schools should meet a specific need – priority of PBC School Board
SB 692 by Baxley – Student Eligibility for K-12 Virtual Instruction
SB 696 by Baxley – Charter Schools
SB 796 by Bean – Charter Schools
SB 868 by Baxley – Educational Options and Services
SB 902 by Simmons – Gardiner Scholarship Program
SB 1302 by Gibson – Private School Student Participation in Extracurricular Activities
SB 1314 by Grimsley – Educational Options
SB 1362 by Broxson – K-12 Education
SB 1556 by Lee – Education
SB 1572 by Bean – Education Savings Account Program
SB 1586 by Garcia – Student Eligibility for Interscholastic Athletic Competition

Attached is the meeting notice for the House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee for Monday, March 27
Consideration of the following bill(s):
HB 955 High School Graduation Requirements by Ahern, Fitzenhagen
HB 1229 Committee on Early Grade Success by Grall
Consideration of the following proposed committee substitute(s) which are attached:
PCS for HB 233 — Students with Disabilities in Public Schools – restraint and seclusion – significant modification from the originally filed bill;
PCS for HB 265 — Computer Coding Instruction – calls for a detailed study before any implementation
PCS for HB 989 — Instructional Materials for K-12 Public Education – this is a major re-write from the original bill and focuses on access by parents and citizens to the review and appeals processes
Tuesday, the House Prek-12 Innovation Committee meets to consider the following bill(s):
HB 127 Public School Attendance Policies by Plasencia
HB 371 Assistive Technology Devices by Ausley
HB 1131 Shared Use of Public School Playground Facilities by Drake
HB 1365 Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program by Ahern
Consideration of the following proposed committee bill(s, which are attached):
PCB PKI 17-01 — Charter Schools
Consideration of the following proposed committee substitute(s):
PCS for HB 67 — Public School Recess – significant rewrite from the original bill to allow recess within the time frame required for Physical Education, but still with a 20 minute stipulation

In case you missed it, bills approved yesterday in committee and on chamber floors include:

(H) – Education Committee

HB 0303 Religious Expression in Public Schools (Daniels) – passed 15-0;
HB 0373 Education (Grant (M)) – prohibits locally negotiated automatic renewal of annual contracts for teachers rated effective or highly effective, passed 9-5
HB 0509 Postsecondary Fee Waivers (Ponder) – passed 15-0
HB 0591 Maximum Class Size (Massullo, Jr.) – passed 14-0
HB 0781 Designation of School Grades (Porter) passed 15-0
HB 0827 Teacher Bonuses (Porter), passed 15-0
HB 1109 Private School Student Participation in interscholastic sports at public schools (Antone) – passed 15-0
(H) – Judiciary Committee
HB 0779 Weapons and Firearms (Combee) – removes penalty if weapon of concealed permit holder is temporarily and openly displayed – passed 12-6
HB 0849 Concealed Weapons and Firearms on Private school property (Combee) – allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry weapons on private school campus where there is a religious structure – passed 12-6

(S) – SESSION
SB 0060 Children Obtaining Driver Licenses (Bean) – involves students in foster homes being able to get a license – passed 37-0
SB 0436 Religious Expression In Public Schools (Baxley) – identical to HB303 above – passed 23-13, goes to House
SB 0080 Public Records (Steube) – legal fees concerning public records, in part – rolled to 3rd reading for vote next week

Finally, I will be in Washington tomorrow through Monday for a further set of briefings on budget and workforce related programs. We’ll have results of Monday’s meetings and, hopefully, some preview of FEFP budgeting later Monday night.

Vern Pickup-Crawford

Prek-12 Legislative Update – 3/22/17

The State Board of Education today paid homage to Deputy Chancellor Brian Dassler who unexpectedly passed away earlier this week and whose passing was announced late yesterday. Dassler was highly respected in education circles and had a strong working relationship with school district staff and teachers. Commissioner Pam Stewart paid the following tribute to Dassler:

“Yesterday was one of the saddest days of both my professional career and my life. I am heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Brian Dassler. He joined the Florida Department of Education in 2013 and brought with him an unrivaled passion for students, educators and the field of education as a whole.

It is only fitting that he was scheduled to be recognized during this meeting for having volunteered 50 hours as mentor between July 1stand December 31st 2016. For Brian, it wasn’t enough that he spent countless hours encouraging students and providing professional development to educators in his official capacity. In his free time, he also mentored a student at Godby High School here in Tallahassee.

Brian was one of a kind. He was always the first to highlight the positive in any situation, and through his inherent goodness and relentless drive, he inspired others to go the extra mile and believe they too could make a difference.

For evidence of that fact, look no further than the position Brian held before becoming Deputy Chancellor – founding principal of a charter high school in New Orleans and the chief academic officer of the arts conservatory for the state of Louisiana. He went to New Orleans Post-Katrina – at a time when lifelong residents weren’t even sure they would ever return.

That was Brian.

He fiercely believed in the city and its people, and more than anything, he could not turn his back on a group of students and educators who had already been dealt one of the worst hands our nation has ever witnessed.

It comes as no surprise that the school and its students succeeded. And, in typical Brian fashion, he maintained the relationships he had built during that time and he returned regularly to celebrate in the achievements of his former students and colleagues who had seamlessly become friends.

Brian was always destined for greatness. Even in his first job, as a high school English teacher in Broward County, his impact was significant. He was one of the founding teachers of the Urban Teacher Academy Program and he was recognized as the county’s teacher of the year.
I believe he was able to achieve so much in his short 38 years because he never lost his desire to learn. Brian earned bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Florida where he has twice been named an outstanding young alumnus.

We are truly heartbroken. His loss will be deeply felt throughout the nation, and he will never be forgotten.”
State Board members and Commissioner Stewart said they plan to work on a lasting means by which to recognize Dassler.

In business action, the Board approved Palm Beach County’s “autonomous principal” pilot application. Broward and Pinellas Counties are also participating in this pilot which gives a school greater autonomy in return for student achievement increases.

The Board will also adopted several rule amendments concerning implementation of statutory changes from last year on how charter schools receive state dollars for capital outlay and related industry certification for career programs.

Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-2.0020, Eligibility for Charter School Capital Outlay (PDF)

Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-6.0571, Career and Technical Education and Adult General Education Standards and Industry-Driven Benchmarks (PDF) 

Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-6.0573, Industry Certification Process (PDF)

Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-10.0401, Gold Standard Career Pathways Articulation Agreements (PDF)

Gold Standard Career Pathways Articulation Agreements of Industry Certification to AAS/AS Degree 2016-2017 Academic Year (PDF) 

Upcoming at future SBE meetings will be proposed rules pertaining to conforming Florida rules on teacher qualifications with new federal ESSA requirements (which leave qualifications up to the states with “highly qualified” regs being discontinued under ESSA) and updating rules for English for Speakers of Other Languages:

Updating Qualifications for Assignment of Instructional Personnel (PDF)

Definition of Qualified Instructional Personnel Presentation (PDF)

Updating Four English for Speakers of Other Languages Rules (PDF)

The next full meeting of the SBE will be May 16th in Miami.

Tomorrow, House Education meets starting at 9am on bills previously approved in subcommittees the past two weeks. The meeting will be aired overwww.thefloridachannel.org. the agenda for that and other meetings of K-12 interest include:

9:00AM

(H) – Education Committee, 102 H (9:00AM–12:00PM)
HB 0303 Religious Expression in Public Schools (Daniels)
HB 0373 Education (Grant (M)) – prohibits locally negotiated automatic renewal of annual contracts for teachers rated effective or highly effective
HB 0509 Postsecondary Fee Waivers (Ponder)
HB 0591 Maximum Class Size (Massullo, Jr.)
HB 0781 Designation of School Grades (Porter)
HB 0827 Teacher Bonuses (Porter)
HB 1109 Private School Student Participation in interscholastic sports at public schools (Antone)
(H) – Judiciary Committee, 404 H (9:00AM–12:00PM)
HB 0779 Weapons and Firearms (Combee) – removes penalty if weapon of concealed permit holder is temporarily and openly displayed
HB 0849 Concealed Weapons and Firearms on Private school property (Combee) – allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry weapons on private school campus where there is a religious structure

10:00AM

(S) – SESSION, (10:00AM–12:00PM)
SB 0060 Children Obtaining Driver Licenses (Bean) – involves students in
SB 0436 Religious Expression In Public Schools (Baxley) – identical to HB303 above
SB 0080 Public Records (Steube)

Bill for review–as promised–is HB757 by Rep. Byron Donalds. The bill seeks to have the DOE revise its Just Read Florida program and provide increased training for teachers. Those interested or involved in early childhood education should review this bill. The bill is attached as amended yesterday and the staff analysis, which reflects the amendments on p. 7, is also attached for your review. Much of the change was to remove the fiscal impact and funding. Such would be considered as part of the budget process (speaking of which, we understand–at this point–Senate budget action is slated to get back on track next week).

Last, the Constitutional Revision Committee has announced a “Floridians Speak, we Listen” series of public meetings around the state. The schedule is attached. The CRC was officially sworn in Monday. Proposed rules of operation remain pending Commission discussion, amendment, debate and adoption. The fledgling website is http://flcrc.gov/.

Vern

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group

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

Vern Pickup-Crawford 

Federal

In her first appearance before the Council of Great City Schools, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told district representatives today in Washington that she and the Department looked forward to working together with school districts for a system that “trusts parents, trusts teachers and trusts local school leaders to do what’s best for students.” DeVos, who released the revised state plan template that’s linked below, said the revisions would require states to do only what is “essential” in implementing Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and pledged to make sure states and districts have greater flexibility. She highlighted her guiding philosophy of “parents know what’s best for their children…parents know children’s unique needs…parents showed be empowered and have quality choice, private and public, that work best for children.”

Currently at stake is development and issuance of regulations that would replace those passed during the Obama administration on state requirements, professional staff development and others which were negated by recent administrative action and Congressional passage last week of HR57 (state) and HR58 (teacher prep).

Meanwhile, President Trump is expected to release the abbreviated version of his proposed 2018 (our 2018-2019 year) budget that would take effect next October 1st. There is a lot of speculation here in Washington that domestic spending–and education is part of that–could face significant cuts from current year, ranging from 5% to over 10%. The President’s announced priority is to increase defense and national security spending.

April 28th is the expiration of the current Continuing Resolution for this year’s budget (our 2017-2018). It is unclear if Congress and simply continue current year through the remaining 5 months of the federal fiscal year or craft a different budget. Regardless, states are slated to take an additional 3% setaside (“reservation” in federal parlance) off the top of Title 1 funding per ESSA which could reduce district appropriations below current year without any offsetting increase of federal dollars.

And…look for House and Senate education committees in the near future to begin work on either taking up where they left off last year or developing new legislation for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and Perkins Career/Vocational Education Act (House passed a bipartisan bill last year, but the Senate took no actions). Not mentioned so far is any reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that has also technically expired and is awaiting renewal.

03/13/2017 01:00 PM EDT
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Announces Release of Updated ESSA Consolidated State Plan Template

In a letter delivered today to chief state school officers, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provided clarity on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation and released the updated template for the consolidated state plans.

State

Legislative subcommittees this week have full agendas to hear member bills as part of Week Two. The Senate Education Committee did not meet today and the full House Education Committee is expected to take a bye Thursday. Bills that we see on agendas this week and for the next two weeks are often those which have been cleared by legislative leadership for full consideration. For instances, HB436 and its House companion, HB303 (“religious freedom” for students in schools), have been cited by Senate President Joe Negron as a key bill for passage this year.

Bill texts and staff analyses are available at http://www.flsenate and http://www.myfloridahouse.gov by entering the bill number in the dialog box. Most of these meetings will be webcast on http://www.thefloridachannel.org. we’ll have an update tomorrow night along with an updated tracking chart of filed bills thus far.

9:30AM
(H) – Careers & Competition Subcommittee, 212 K (9:30AM–1:00PM)
HB 0909 Building Code Administrators & Inspecto (Goodson)
(H) – PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee, 306 H (9:30AM–12:00PM)
HB 0591 Maximum Class Size (Massullo, Jr.) – moves staffing of CSR to school average;
HB 0781 Designation of School Grades (Porter)
HB 0827 Teacher Bonuses (Porter)
HB 1109 Private School Student Participation in athletics (Antone)
(H) – Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee, 102 H (9:30AM–1:00PM)
HB 0493 Enhanced Safety for School Crossings (Toledo)
10:30AM
(S) – Community Affairs, 301 S (10:30AM–12:00PM)
SB 0880 Government Accountability (Stargel) – penalty for failure to correct state audit deficiencies
2:00PM
(S) – Judiciary, 110 S (2:00PM–4:00PM)
SB 0436 Religious Expression In Public Schools (Baxley)
SB 0080 Public Records (Steube)
(H) – Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, 212 K (2:00PM–7:00PM)
HB 0153 Excess Credit Hour Surcharges (Mariano)
HB 0509 Postsecondary Fee Waivers (Ponder)
(H) – PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee, 102 H (2:00PM–7:00PM)
HB 0079 Education (Harrell) – early grades reading and I-D of possible student learning concerns (similar to HB7123 from last year)
HB 0293 Middle School Study (Burton)
HB 0303 Religious Expression in Public Schools (Daniels)
HB 0773 K-12 Student Assessments (Diaz (M)) – reduces state testing window and moves to end of year
HB 1111 Teacher Certification (Plasencia)
HB 1331 Education (Grall) – creates “schools of excellence”

Prek-12 Legislative Update 1/26/17

Palm Beach School administrators fanned out across the Capitol this week as part of FASA (Fla Assn Schl Adminrs) to meet with almost all PBC Delegation members, key legislators and committee staff to discuss concerns and suggestions related to state assessment and testing, recruitment/retention of teachers, more flexibility to local school districts for program and operational decision-making, and awareness of a pending study on mandatory cost caps for school construction.

Participating were the School administrators Assn team of Will Latson (Spanish River), Jeff Eassa (Woodlands), Bob Hatcher (Western Pines), Sari Myers (Hidden Oaks), Kim Evans (PB Gardens El), and Karen Whetsell (Suncoast) with Exec Dr. Art Johnson joined by Staff Assn members Jim Kunard (construction mgt), PJ D’Aoust (FTE mgt), Heidi Riddle (North Area), and Shirley Knox (Facilities) with Exec Pat Kaupe. Delegation meetings with Rep. Bill Hager and Al Jacquet had to be rescheduled due to conflicts. The group spent time with House Education Chair Mike Bileca, Senate Ed Appropriations Chair David Simmons and Vice-Chair Bill Montford and with the staff director and analysts for the Senate Education Committee who write the bills.

Highlighted were shortening the required testing cycle with results back to schools before the end of the school year, reducing the number of state-required exams including some EOC’s and allowing districts to use ACT/SAT in lieu of 10th grade state FSA tests; retooling various programs such as Best and Brightest to support programs such as teacher loan forgiveness, streamlining teacher certification, giving greater operational and program flex to schools and school districts to use resources where they best meet student needs, and citing difficulty in teacher hirings and retention, given Florida’s lower salary and benefit levels compared to Georgia and other states.

The topics on state assessment will be part of a pending bi-partisan bill to be filed soon. The issues on recruitment and retention will get play in Senate Ed Appropriations this session. As for budget, read below.

The team of administrators also served both aa prelude and re-emphasis of similar points made by Supt. Robert Avossa who was one of five superintendents testifying before Senate Education Appropriations yesterday. The team also had a chance to brief Dr. Avossa after the committee meeting on their efforts during Tuesday and Wednesday. Both “Dr. J” and Pat will have more for members of the respective organizations.

Meanwhile….
Following a state process that all agencies are doing this week, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart today provided House Education Appropriations Committee members with what a 10% state budget reduction from current year would look like. (Let me emphasize at this point this is an exercise, not the real thing, as committees work on a balanced budget for FY18.)

For Prek-12 Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) state funds, the Department projects a cut of $700.6 Million, 9.26%, from a current year recurring revenue base budget of $7.569 Billion. These are state recurring dollars only and do not include either any non-recurring state dollars nor any local tax dollars. That reduction, however, would mean a drop in total student potential funds of $261/FTE to about $6943/FTE, an amount only $5.77 higher than the appropriated budget for FY15. Stewart acknowledged there would be direct cuts to student programs if such a budget reduction were implemented.

Chair Manny Diaz said the committee will meet on February 9th to get verbal recommendations from each committee member on what could be reduced or cut that falls within the scope given two weeks ago of between $245 and $485 million for public schools (this includes charter school as well). The full FLDOE packet, which also shows recommendations regarding all other programs, can be downloaded here.

At this point, it’s a given the House will come up with some sort of “cut budget.” The final House position will be refined going into session that starts March 7th. We also expect, based on published comments, that speaker Richard Corcoran plans to freeze the dollars generated by local school property taxes at the current year dollar level (so-called “rollback” rate) and reduce the Required Local Level millage rate down, accordingly.

The Senate is not as far along as the House, but Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala has indicated he Senate will not please folk, but expects it to be higher than the House. The Senate has set aside the week of February 13th for budget meetings only.

Meanwhile, the Senate Education Committee passed SB2 and SB4 which make performance, program structural and other changes to higher education institutions. The bills are a priority of Senate President Joe Negron. District staff handling articulation agreements with state colleges and universities should review them. The information packet that includes the bills and staff analyses for explanation of them can be downloaded here.

Also in the Senate, Criminal Justice Committee members passed 5-2, SB196 that requires a school police or resource officer or police office on campus to issue either a civil citation or refer the student to a diversionary program upon first contact for a specified list of infractions. This is legislation carried over from last year and supported strongly by those who wish to avoid having juveniles officially arrested and is opposed by others who believe law enforcement should have the discretion to use civil citation, other diversionary program such as Youth Court, or make an arrest depending on the circumstance. The bill goes next to Criminal Justice Appropriations. The back-up and bill are downloadable here. SB192, also in the packet, was not heard and postponed to the next meeting

Most other education-related committees this week were informational:
House Prek-12 Innovation heard presentations on successful choice and academy programs from school districts and charter schools.
House Prek-12 Quality Education had an FLDOE review of the procedures to be followed if a public school gets into the “turn-around” category for not improving as a low performing school.
House Higher Education Committee discussed background information related to civics instruction at that level.
Senate Education Appropriations had an FLDOE review of existing teacher incentive laws and fund sources, then heard from a panel of school superintendents on what is being done in some districts and what recommendations they may have.
Back on budget, we are waiting for the Governor to release his 2017-2018 budget recommendations which are due between now and the end of next week. No indication has been given on levels of funding nor programs nor whether he will present a “cut” budget. The State Board of Education last September recommended to him a 2.48% budget increase for Prek-12 programs. Gov. Scott this week focused on a $618 million package to cut business taxes and provide for several tax-free holidays including extension of the tax-free holiday for purchase of school supplies from three to 10 days.

Federally, we remain glued to our computers and Congressional schedules on any actions related to budget funding for our 2017-2018 school year. And, at last report, the full Senate reportedly is scheduled to vote on confirmation of President Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, next Tuesday, January 31st.

Enjoy the weekend,

Vern

Prek-12 Legislative Update:  January 8, 2017

legislative-update-1-8-17

State
House and Senate committee meetings continue this week as legislators get updates on budget and various state issues. For education, that includes
  • Tuesday–full House Appropriations meeting on revenue projections statewide and going through an FY18 budget checklist; full House Education discussing open enrollment and other choice programs; House Judiciary reviewing the recent court decisions and increases in worker’s compensation;
  • Wednesday–Senate Prek-12 discussion of state assessment policies and funding; House Prek-12 Innovation Subcommittee on school choice impact and updates on the various choice programs; House Higher Education Appropriations on budget (includes district education education), and House Prek-12 Quality subcommittee on effective teacher and school turn-around presentations;
  • Thursday–House Post-Secondary Education looks at student degree/certification attainment and Prek-12 Appropriations delves into a base budget review and history of major programs.
No education bills are docketed for this week. Attached is a numeric listing of pre-filed bills that directly or indirectly would impact public schools as of this week. We are only in the beginning part of  bill filing so this list will be updated regularly for your review. The final day to file bills is opening day, March 7th.
Meanwhile, the State Board of Education meets on the 17th in Stuart for a regular session. The agenda should be posted on Tuesday and I’ll keep you posted.
Education Week released its annual “Quality Counts” survey. Using criteria that included 2016 student achievement, level of funding and various indicators projecting 2017 success, Florida was given a score of 72.5 or “C” which is the same as the ranking’s national average (74.2 or “C”). Top performing state in their ratings is Massachusetts with a “B” and lowest is Nevada, barely beating out Mississippi, with a “D”. Their press release, here, provides background information about the ratings system.
Florida’s ratings detail, taken directly from the report, follows here.

C (72.5)

Chance for Success: C (75.1)

Early foundations: C+ (78.3)
School years: C (74.4)
Adult outcomes: C- (72.5)

K-12 Achievement: C (73.9)

Status: D (64.4)
Change: C (73.4)
Equity: A- (91.4)

School Finance: D+ (68.5)

Equity: A- (91.9)
Spending: F (45.2)

Federal
The 115th Congress convened officially this past week. There are 10 new House members from Florida: former state Rep. Matt Gaetz (Okaloosa), former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, Neal Dunn of Panama City , Brian Mast of Martin County, and Francis Rooney of Cape Coral, all Republicans; and former Gov. Charlie Crist, Pinellas, former state Sen. Al Lawson of Tallahassee, former state Sen. Darren Soto of Kissimmee, former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy of Orlando, all Democrats. Committee assignments have not been completed yet. Two current House members, Carlos Curbelo and Frederica Wilson, both of Miami, will continue serving on the House Education and Workforce Committee under new Chair Virginia Foxx of North Carolina. Foxx spent much of the last four years as a subcommittee chair shepherding the bi-partisan workforce (WIOA) legislation that passed in 2014.
Following the re-election of US Senator Marco Rubio, he will now serve on full Appropriations, coming off Commerce on which Bill Nelson continues to sit. Neither are on education committees.
As the Inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump approaches, there’s much media focus on how his administration will approach education. First step is to see if the Senate affirms his Education Secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos. While it may be expected that some of the rules/regulations put into effect by the Obama Administration for ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) will be changed, it’s too early to do anything more than speculate.
Vern

Prek-12 Legislative Update – 10/17/16

For other legislative updates, go to: https://www.palmbeachschools.org/gr/

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