Staff Association

Palm Beach County School District

Legislative News

PreK-12 Legislative Update 12/13/18

Stoneman Douglas Safety Commission

Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission completed their first and foremost phase of their legislatively mandated mission today by preparing a full report and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature by January 1st on last February’s tragedy. Draft materials from meetings yesterday and today will be formatted into a final report. The shorter draft findings and recommendations can be viewed and downloaded here. The full 407-page draft report is linked here. The link to the main web page of the Commission is here.

Many recommendations pertain to “target-hardening” of school facilities, training, and interagency communications. Reported in the media is a recommendation, voted 13-1 yesterday, to allow volunteer teachers having appropriate training to be armed in their schools. You may recall this issue was widely debated last session. The final vote in SB7026 was to exclude regular classroom teachers (those teaching full-time classes), but allow those instructional personnel whose duties may be split between classes and other functions or positions such as counselors, coaches and library/media specialists.

The Commission has a five-year lifespan to look at school safety and security matters as may be assigned.

Legislative Committee Week

The House held a series of orientation sessions ranging from ethics to dealing with representative groups and content specific issues such as PreK-12 Education. The Three day “university” precedes naming of subcommittee chairs and committee membership which is expected as soon as tomorrow or into next week. The House will begin its committee meetings January 7-9.

Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations spent its time yesterday reviewing a revenue outlook for next year and FY21 from EDR coordinator Amy Baker. Chair Rob Bradley issues a cautionary note that given a projected minor slowdown in revenues, coupled with significant expenditures required for healthcare, new student enrollment and infrastructure repair/replacement from hurricanes Irma and Michael, the committee may have some tough decisions related to continuation of base-budget programs in the coming year. The picture presented by Baker is found here. She did note these figures will be reviewed next Tuesday during a day-long General Revenue Estimating Conference by economists from both chambers and the executive offices.

The Education Appropriations Subcommittee, now organized to include Prek-12 and higher education, had an overview by Staff Director Tim Elwell of education programs and funding. The backup information, linked here, is a good reference of FY19 programs and funding.

Transition Team for Education Meets

In preparation for the January 8th inauguration of Ron DeSantis as Governor and Jeannette Nunez as Lt. Governor, several content-area transition teams have been named and starting to meet. Members of the Education and Workforce teamannounced as noted in last Thursday’s update,  spent most of a two hour meeting today in Tallahassee hearing data presentations and discussing current results-oriented measurement and achievement. Co-chairs Mori Hosseini (U-F Board Chair) and Marva Johnson (SBE Chair) heard from individuals expressing views on how and what to measure and how, if so, should it be linked to resources (e.g. performance funding). The two-hour vodcast can be seen here. If you can find a two-hour or parts of two hours, this discussion is worthwhile to watch. The link to the main webpage is here.

The group will meet by conference call two times: Wednesday the 19th, 10am-12noon on accountability, transparency and efficiency and Friday the 28th, 1-3pm, on parental empowerment, school choice and workforce preparedness. The topics follow Gov.-elect DeSantis’ education platform that he ran on, here.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.


Prek-12 Legislative Update 5/16/18 – SBE Meeting Results

The State Board of Education adopted the proposed changes to Florida’s student assessment rule that increase the cut-off scores for ACT and SAT exams used if a high school student takes either after having failed FSA or the Algebra 1 EOC. In case you missed it Monday, the rule is attached and a direct link is available here, as well.

It will take effect with incoming 9th grade students in 2018-2019. Any student currently enrolled in high school will not be affected. Aside from raising the ACT/SAT scores, it also replaces PERT as an Algebra alternative exam with ACT or SAT starting with the freshman class of 2019. Commissioner Pam Stewart made the recommendation following a review required by legislation passed in 2017 that called for updated concordance scores. On behalf of the state’s school superintendents’ association, Pinellas Supt. Mike Greco endorsed the phase-in saying it will give districts time to prepare for the higher cut scores.

In lieu of PERT, in questioning by members Michael Olenick and Ton Grady, DOE Deputy Commissioner Juan Copa said the alternative of a GED for a high school diploma for those not able to pass either FSA or ACT/SAT remains unchanged. To come up with alternative “pathways,” he suggested, would require legislation. Board members also discussed scores being college ready versus a scoring system for students not planning to attend higher education academics.

At the end of discussion, the Board did vote to add, as an option for the Algebra 1 end-of-course (EOC) exam, passage of the PSAT/NMSQT exam with a cut score of 430 on the math portion.

In other business, the Board approved:

  1. Approval of New Rule 6A-10.02413, Civic Literacy Competency(PDF)
  2. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-4.0021, Teacher Certification Examinations(PDF)
  3. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-4.00821, Florida Educational Leadership Examination(PDF)
  4. Consideration of Applications for Hope Operator Designation(PDF): Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) New Jersey


  1. Status Update of the Turnaround Option Plans for Duval County(PDF)
    • Presentation – Duval

Consent Items

  1. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-10.0401, Gold Standard Career Pathways Articulation Agreements(PDF)
  2. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-6.0573, Industry Certification Process(PDF)
  3. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-10.024, Articulation Between and Among Universities, Florida Colleges, and School Districts(PDF)
  4. Approval of the 2018-2019 Dual Enrollment Course-High School Subject Area Equivalency List(PDF)
  5. Approval of Requested Deed Modification: 808 West Panhellenic Drive, Gainesville, FL(PDF)
  6. Approval of Designation of 2016-2017 Academically High-Performing School Districts(PDF)
  7. Approval of Appointment to the Education Practices Commission (EPC)(PDF)
  8. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-4.01411, Equivalent Credentials for the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program(PDF)
  9. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6M-4.710, School Readiness Program Curricula(PDF)
  10. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6M-8.601, Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate(PDF)

The almost 4-hour SBE meeting is available at under the “video” header at the top of the main page.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update 5/14/18 – SBE Meeting Wednesday

The State Board of Education holds its monthly meeting in Largo Wednesday and headlining the agenda is consideration of proposed changes to Florida’s student assessment rule that increase the cut-off scores for ACT and SAT exams used if a high school student takes either after having failed FSA or the Algebra 1 EOC. The rule is attached and a direct link is available here, as well..

It would take effect with incoming 9th grade students in 2018-2019. Any student currently enrolled in high school will not be affected. Aside from raising the ACT/SAT scores, it also replaces PERT as an Algebra alternative exam with ACT or SAT. PERT would be discarded, again for students entering high school in 2018-2019.

Commissioner Pam Stewart is making the recommendation following a review required by legislation passed in 2017 that called for updated concordance scores.

Other action items includes:

  1. Approval of New Rule 6A-10.02413, Civic Literacy Competency(PDF)
  2. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-1.09422, Statewide, Standardized Assessment Program Requirements and Repeal of Rule 6A-1.094223, Comparative and Concordant Scores for the Statewide Assessment Program(PDF)
  3. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-4.0021, Teacher Certification Examinations(PDF)
  4. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-4.00821, Florida Educational Leadership Examination(PDF)
  5. Consideration of Applications for Hope Operator Designation(PDF)
  6. Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) New Jersey


  1. Status Update of the Turnaround Option Plans for Duval County(PDF)
    • Presentation – Duval

Consent Items

  1. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-10.0401, Gold Standard Career Pathways Articulation Agreements(PDF)
  2. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-6.0573, Industry Certification Process(PDF)
  3. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-10.024, Articulation Between and Among Universities, Florida Colleges, and School Districts(PDF)
  4. Approval of the 2018-2019 Dual Enrollment Course-High School Subject Area Equivalency List(PDF)
  5. Approval of Requested Deed Modification: 808 West Panhellenic Drive, Gainesville, FL(PDF)
  6. Approval of Designation of 2016-2017 Academically High-Performing School Districts(PDF)
  7. Approval of Appointment to the Education Practices Commission (EPC)(PDF)
  8. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6A-4.01411, Equivalent Credentials for the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program(PDF)
  9. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6M-4.710, School Readiness Program Curricula(PDF)
  10. Approval of Amendment to Rule 6M-8.601, Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate(PDF)

The remainder of Wednesday’s agenda and back-up can be accessed here. The SBE meeting begins at 9am and will be webcast at


Legislative Update – Constitutional Amendments – May 9, 2018

Key Constitutional Amendment Issues on the November 6th Ballot:

Florida’s Constitution requires a review every 20 years by a 37-member Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) that has 17 of its members and Chair appointed by the Governor, eight appointees by the Speaker of the House and 8 by the Senate President, three by the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice and, by nature of the position, the State Attorney General sits on the Commission. Full information on the 2017-2108 Commission, membership, proposals submitted by he public and commissioners, amendments and actions taken can be found at

The Commission gave final approval by the required 60% or 22-member vote, to 8 amendments that comprise two or more amendments within each (this group does not have to follow the single-subject law that citizens and the Legislature have to). The two that are of primary concern to us are:

Proposal P6003 which will become Amendment 8 on the November 6th ballot. The proposal is attached. It contains three issues:

  • Imposing 8-year term limits on school board member elections, starting with the 2018 election (this is not retroactive as had once been proposed). Anyone elected or re-elected in 2018 can serve a maximum of two 4-year terms; reportedly, private polls conducted around Florida show term limits are popular;
  • Requiring civic literacy to be taught in public schools…this is already a state statutory requirement, specifically for middle school with an end-of-course exam. Proponents say putting it in the Constitutional enshrines the requirement; and
  • THE REALLY SERIOUS ISSUE–inserting six words that limits the powers and authority of school boards to those schools they supervise. The current language with the proposed underlined language is as follows:

“The school board shall operate, control, and supervise all free public schools established by the district school board within the school district and determine the rate of school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein. Two or more school districts may operate and finance joint educational programs.”

If the underlined language is approved, it gives the Florida Legislature full flexibility to create and operate any other educational program or system. The debate on this measure focused on letting the state create its own charter school authorizer, something that Georgia and a few other states already have. The wording, however, goes much further than just charter schools, and Florida could have one or more separate school systems authorized and run by the state or a designated state entity other than the local school district.

Of note, former Governor and US Senate Bob Graham, a staunch supporter of civic literacy, announced last week he will oppose this three-part amendment because of the state control issue, for concern it will dilute and hurt Florida’s uniform system of free public schools. As the Association’s advisor, I concur. We can and need to discuss this proposal more as the election approaches.

Proposal P6002 which will become Amendment 7 on the November 6th ballot contains three issues of note:

  • University fees, not including tuition, require a 2/3 vote by any university board of trustees; tuition remains in the hands of the Legislature
  • The current state college system—state board of trustees reporting to the state Board of Education, local college boards of trustees appointed by the Governor—would go into the constitution. Supporters say community/state colleges deserve the same constitutional authority as universities and public schools.
  • Survivors of first responders or military service personnel who lost their lives would be provided free college tuition and other fees in Florida’s higher education system;

Three other proposals, two already on the ballot separate from the CRC and one approved by the CRC, will or may have impact on public schools:

Proposal P6007 (to be Amendment 12) imposes a 6-year ban on all state and local elected and certain appointed public officials—including school board members and superintendents—from lobbying their former board or agency after leaving office. The law currently provides for  2-year ban and mostly affects state agencies.

Amendment 3, a citizens’ initiative that got 842,000 signed petitions (required is 677,000), that requires voter approval of any expansion of casino gaming/gambling in Florida. If the Legislature were to pass any bill allowing casino gambling, such as what voters in a straw ballot voted yes for Palm Beach County, it would require statewide citizen approval;

Amendment 5, passed by the 2018 Legislature, would impose a 2/3 majority vote requirement for any created, authorized or increased state tax or fee by the legislature.

Not directly affecting schools is Amendment 1, passed by the 2017 Legislature, that would increase the homestead exemption to the first $125,000 of assessed value. This exemption, however, applies to local government taxing authorities and does not apply to school taxes as school taxes are controlled by the state legislature.

Additional Information:

These are the proposals approved by the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) for placement on the November 6th ballot. P6001 will be amendment 6, P6002 will be amendment 7 and so on. Again, The link to each proposal on the website is in blue. We are still waiting for the final report that will include each proposal and summary exactly as it will appear on the ballot. Commission Chair Carlos Beruff has until May 10th to submit the signed document to the Secretary of State.

Number    Title Filed By     Last Action
P 6001 Rights of Crime Victims; Judges Style and Drafting Last Action: 4/16/2018 Adopted; YEAS 34 NAYS 3
Location: Final Passage
   P 6002 First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities Style and Drafting Last Action: 4/16/2018 Adopted; YEAS 30 NAYS 7
Location: Final Passage
P 6003 School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools Style and Drafting Last Action: 4/16/2018 Adopted; YEAS 27 NAYS 10
Location: Final Passage
P 6004 Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces Style and Drafting Last Action: 4/16/2018 Adopted; YEAS 33 NAYS 3
Location: Final Passage
P 6005 State and Local Government Structure and Operation Style and Drafting Last Action: 4/16/2018 Adopted; YEAS 29 NAYS 8
Location: Final Passage
P 6006 Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes Style and Drafting Last Action: 4/16/2018 Adopted; YEAS 36 NAYS 1
Location: Final Passage
P 6007 Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers Style and Drafting Last Action: 4/16/2018 Adopted; YEAS 30 NAYS 4
Location: Final Passage
P 6012 Dog Racing Style and Drafting Last Action: 4/16/2018 Adopted; YEAS 27 NAYS 10
Location: Final Passage

As for the first five amendments that will be on the ballot,, the link to all initiatives is here: . The five on the ballot are as follows:

Amendment One – increase in homestead exemption to $125,000

Amendment Two – repeal of sunset on tax assessments

Amendment Three – voter approval of casino gambling

Amendment Four – restoration of voter rights for felons

Amendment Five – 2/3 majority legislative vote required to impose, raise or authorize state taxes or fees

As I hope our members are aware, any Constitutional Amendment requires 60% approval of those voting on the proposal. The November 2018 ballot will be a long one starting with federal and state elections. Typically, there is a up to a 50% drop-off in the number of people voting on elections or issues towards the end of the ballot. If Florida had a 50% turnout and half failed to complete the full ballot, that could leave 25% of those voting to determine the fate of the amendments, which requires 60% approval. That translates to now 15% of those who started voting for the first items on the ballot. In short, these amendments could be decided by a small percentage of Floridians. That makes it more critical for everyone to turn out to vote and to complete the full ballot, including the Constitutional Amendments.

I’ll be glad to answer any questions if anyone wishes to email me. I apologize for not attending the meeting, but my Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine—otherwise known as the Constant Pain Maker—and other knee rehab activities are consuming my time at this point. I look forward to seeing all at the next meeting.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.


Prek-12 Legislative Update – 3/23/18


Early this morning the Senate by a 65-32 vote passed the compromise $11.3 Trillion appropriations bill that the House passed early yesterday and President Trump signed the measure this afternoon. His approval ends almost six months and five Continuing Resolutions of the 2017 budget in order to get a spending plan for this current federal year (began last October and ends Sept. 30th–education funding is for our 2018-2019 school year as education is one of those “forward funded.”

Below, with thanks to Leslie Finnan and our colleagues at AASA who prepared it this morning, is a rundown of the budget for education. (note “m” is million and “b” is billion). Importantly, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) programs were not cut and many have slight increases. Of keen interest to Florida districts in particular was Title II dollars for teacher training. The program was not eliminated as recommended by the Administration and first approved by the House. Funding stayed level, however.

HR1625 (the 2232-page bill was included in last night’s Update) will continue funding for a second year, FY2019 which will be our 2019-2020 school year, with minor adjustments as well. Thus, we will not be going through the budget debate until this time next year, after the November elections and a new Congress is sworn in (116th).

  • Early Education

o    Head Start: $610 m increase

o   Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): $2.37 b increase

  • K12 Programs

o   ESSA Title I: $300 m increase to $15.8 b

o   ESSA Title IV: $700 m increase to $1.1 b

o   IDEA State Grants (Part B): $275 m increase to $12.3 b

o   Impact Aid: $86 m increase, to $1.4 b

o   Charter Schools: $58 m increase, to $400 m

o   21st Century Community Learning Centers: $20 m increase, to $1.2 b

o   State Assessments: $8.9 m increase to $378 m

o   Career and Technical Education State Grants: $75 m increase to $1.193 b

o   Homeless Youth/Children: $8 m increase to $85 m

o   Native Hawaiian Education: $3 m increase to $36 m

o   Alaska Native Education: $3 m increase to $35 m

o   Rural Education: $5 m increase to $181 m

o   Promise Neighborhoods: $5 m increase to $78 m

o   Indian Education: $15 m increase to $180 m

o   ESSA Title II: Level funded at $2.056 b

o   Innovative Approaches to Literacy: Level funded at $27 m

o   Migrant Students: Level funded at $375 m

o   Neglected/Delinquent Students: Level funded at $48 m

o   Comprehensive Literacy Development grants: Level funded at $190 m

o   English language Acquisition: Level funded at $737 m

  • Other

o   Opioid Crisis: $3 b increase for programs to respond to crisis, including $2.7 b increase for prevention, treatment, surveillance, research, and more.

o   Center for Disease Controls: $806 m increase for CDC, as well as language that allows CDC to conduct gun violence prevention research

o   Secure Rural Schools/Forest Counties: The bill reauthorizes and provides two years of funding for the SRS program.

o   Firearms and Training: Includes language to prohibit the use of federal funds to purchase firearm or for firearm training for educators

Meanwhile, US Secretary Betsy DeVos has formed the Federal Commission on School Safety, an assignment given to her by President Trump following the Parkland shootings. Information on the Commission and her plans can be found here. The commission will be comprised of four individual: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and herself. They will hold an organizational meeting next Wednesday. DeVos is encouraging the public to submit recommendations on how to increase school safety–they can send them to


Governor Scott signed some 74 bills into law today. Among them are HB7087, the tax package, SB1552 on juvenile justice, HB1013 that calls upon Congress to grant Florida to be on daylight savings time year round, and HB7045 that will convene the 2020 regular legislative session on January 7th.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update 3/16/18 – Governor Approves Budget

Governor Rick Scott this afternoon signed the 2018-2019 appropriations package into law after making a modest series of vetoes totaling $49 million. Below is the text of his announcement and links to his letter of approval and to the vetoes. Noe of the vetoes affect K-12 state funding. For your information, the General Appropriations Act (HB5001) and the accompanying implementing bill, HB5003, are attached. The FEFP run has been previously distributed.

In his details on the budget, it is noted:

“Governor Scott has made record investments in state funding for K-12 for the past six years and this historic high of $21.1 billion in total funding is an increase of $484.8  million in state and local funds over Fiscal Year 2017-18.

The increase of more than $484 million in total funds includes:

  • Nearly $196 millionto fund new student growth of nearly 27,000;
  • $97.5 million, for a total of $162 million,in funding for school safety initiatives that promote a safe learning environment;
  • Nearly $9 million, for a total of more than $54 million,in funding for the Teacher Classroom Supply Assistance Program;
  • Nearly $70 millionfor the mental health assistance allocation; and
  • $112.6 millionfor various education initiatives included in the FEFP, such as transportation and instructional materials.”

Yesterday, the Governor’s office asked the state’s new media, who had been reporting on calls for a special session to increase education funding, to include the following: “Your story should note that the Governor’s budget proposal for the upcoming year funded the base student allocation at $4,356.40, an increase of $152.45. The Florida Senate’s K-12 initial budget proposal funded the base student allocation at $4,158.75, a decrease of $45.20, and the Florida House of Representative’s K-12 initial budget proposal funded the base student allocation at $4279.15, an increase of $75.20.”

School districts supported the Governor’s budget proposal throughout the session. The final BSA is $4204.42, a $.47 increase over this year’s (October, 2017) calculation or a .01% increase. The total combined state/local dollars per un-weighted FTE will increase by a state average of 1.39%. The bulk of the total $484 million K-12 increase is appropriated for additional school resource officers, optional training of (non-regular classroom) employee armed “guardians,” and mental health counseling and assistance programs contained in SB7026.

Late today, a report in our contracted News Service of Florida quotes Senate President Joe Negron saying while it is too soon to do so, it may be possible to transfer unspent or unencumbered funds from the guardian training program to district safe schools allocations for additional resource officers. House Appropriations Chair and incoming Speaker Jose Oliva is quoted as saying he could support it only after all counties have weighed in on use of the funds for the quardian program. The process would be by budget amendment of the joint House/Senate Legislative Budget Commission later this year.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

March 16, 2018

(850) 717-9282

Gov. Rick Scott Signs the Securing Florida’s Future Budget

NAPLES, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott signed the Securing Florida’s Future budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019. Click HERE and HERE for the transmittal letter and details on the budget. To view the veto list, click HERE.

The Securing Florida’s Future budget:

Cuts Taxes for Florida Families and Job Creators

The Securing Florida’s Future budget cuts taxes by nearly $550 million – bringing the total tax cut savings for Florida families since 2011 to more than $10 billion. This legislative session, Governor Scott proposed, and the legislature approved, Amendment 5 to be placed on the November ballot which will give Floridians the opportunity to vote to amend the Florida Constitution, making it harder for politicians to raise taxes.

Invests Record Funding for Education

For the sixth straight year, the Securing Florida’s Future budget invests record funding for K-12 and state universities. Since Governor Scott has been in office, state funding for K-12 public schools has increased by $3.2 billion, 37 percent. State funding for state colleges and universities has also significantly increased by nearly $200 million and $1.1 billion, respectively, since 2011. Additionally, the budget keeps higher education affordable with NO tuition increases for the fifth consecutive year.

Keeps Florida Schools and Communities Safe

The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests more than $400 million in funding to increase the safety and security of Florida’s schools and provide significantly more resources for mental health. Following the tragedy in Parkland where 17 died, Governor Scott also signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act to keep students and communities safe. The budget also invests $34 million in pay raises for state law enforcement officers, firefighters and juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers.

Encourages Long-Term Economic Growth

The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides critical funding, including $85 million for the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, so Florida can keep aggressively fighting to be the best destination for businesses to succeed. Since December 2010, Florida businesses have created nearly 1.5 million new jobs. The budget also builds on Florida’s six-straight years of record breaking tourism and funds VISIT FLORIDA at $76 million to successfully market Florida to the world as the premier tourism destination and support the 1.4 million tourism-related jobs in our state.

Provides Record Funding for Florida Transportation

The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests a record $10.1 billion in transportation infrastructure to keep up with Florida’s continued growth and booming economy. Since Governor Scott took office in 2011, investments in transportation have increased by $3.3 billion, more than 48 percent.

Protects Florida’s Environment

The Securing Florida’s Future budget includes $4 billion to protect Florida’s environment and agriculture. Since 2011, investments to preserve Florida’s environment and protect the state’s iconic beaches, pristine springs and the Florida Everglades have increased by nearly $1 billion. The budget also provides $50 million of state funds to further expedite repairs to the federally-operated Herbert Hoover Dike – growing the state’s total investment to $100 million.

Combats the National Opioid Epidemic in Florida

The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests more than $65 million to combat opioid abuse in Florida. Governor Scott also proposed, and the legislature passed, significant policy changes to address the national opioid epidemic in Florida.

Supports Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery

The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides more than $1.7 billion in disaster assistance for state and local governments and federal funding to assist in meeting the educational needs of affected Florida students, as well as students displaced from Puerto Rico.

Prek-12 Legislative Update /12/18


President Trump released a four-point plan today that addresses school safety and violence. The White House released the two page summary which you can access here. In it, he highlights 1) federal assistance to states that have or are considering arming teachers or other instructional personnel; 2) strengthening background checks and prevention, 3) proposing expansion and reform federal mental health programs, and 4) establishing a Federal Commission on School Safety to be headed by US EdSec Betsy DeVos that would recommend policy and funding for school violence prevention programs.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in a press release praised the President’s proposals and has issued his own recommended legislation that is co-sponsored by Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee chair Lamar Alexander. His bill and back-up (bill has no number and won’t until heard by a committee) can be reviewed here. A “talk sheet” was released with it and is found here.

On the House side, numerous bills have been filed since last year. Most recent, however, is HR4909 by Jacksonville freshman Congressman and former sheriff John Rutherford. His bill has received bi-partisan endorsement (Gus Bilirakis [R-12], Vern Buchanan [FL-16], Carlos Curbelo [FL-26], Ted Deutch [FL-22], Mario Diaz-Balart [R-25], Lois Frankel [D-21], Matt Gaetz [R-1], Al Lawson [D-5], Brian Mast [R-18], Bill Posey [R-8], Thomas Rooney [R-17], Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-27], Dennis Ross [R-15], Darren Soto [D-9], Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D-23], and Frederica Wilson [D-24]). The bill, found here, would provide $50M a year through 2029 for 1) �evidence-based training and technical assistance to prevent violence,” 2) Training to prevent student violence against others and self, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students, and 3) development and operation of anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence, including mobile telephone applications, hotlines, and internet websites.

Also filed is HR5135 by Texas Rep. Kay Granger that is co-sponsored by Miami Mario Marsio Diaz_Balart, found here, that calls for $50M a year through 2029 to provide for increased security in schools such as use of metal detectors and other screening technologies. The bill requires an annual report by the attorney general’s office on how the funds have been used.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing Wednesday on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings at which both Florida Senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, are slated to appear along with a teacher from the school. The hearing, entitled “See Something, Say Something: Oversight of the Parkland Shooting and Legislative Proposals to Improve School Safety,” will be webcast and starts at 9:30am. The committee hearing link is here.

The clock continues to tick (and tock) on lawmakers as the March 23rd expiration of the current Continuing Resolution on budget and debt approaches. Budget leaders reportedly are working on a two-year appropriation, this current year (our 2018-2019) and the following year (our 2019-2020 year).


Gov. Rick Scott is expected to act quickly on the 2018-2019 budget once he receives it. The bills, HB5001, HB5003 and HB7087, are in the process of being put into final print form (“enrolled”) and when done, House and Senate officers will sign them for transmittal to the Governor. we will keep you posted.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update 2/16/18

  • Senate Education Chair Dorothy Hukill filed late today what amounts to be the starting Senate version of HB7055. The “strike-all” amendment contains the contents in part of in whole of SB1434 passed Wednesday in Senate Ed Appropriations; SB1172 concerning the Hope Scholarship and a consolidation and expansion of accountability requirements for private school scholarships; HB25 that requires a union having fewer than 50% of qualifying employees as members to seek recertification as the bargaining agent, SB732 concerning home education requirements of school districts, SB88 on financial literacy, and parts of SB2508 which was to be the original Senate budget conforming bill. The Strike-all is attached for your review It will be heard at 11am on Tuesday in Senate Education. There likely will be various amendments filed to this amendment between now and Monday that will also be considered Tuesday. We are still reviewing the 115-page amendment over the weekend for other posible provisions;
  • A number of responses have come forward since Wednesday’s tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. Among them so far: push by Senate President-Designate Bill Galvano to provide upwards of $100 million o school districts for safety and mental health programs; scheduled hearing in Senate Judiciary Tuesday of SB1236 that provides a principal or superintendent with the option of having a volunteer or employee with specialized training to be on school grounds with a concealed weapon in the event of a shooting action; and Rep. Robert Asencio who has filed an amendment to HB1279 that calls for a $78M appropriation to establish a a School Safety Grant Program to employ law enforcement officers and mental health specialists. The amendment is attached. The bill is on the House floor “Special Order” calendar for next Tuesday. There is substantial national discussion occurring on issues: gun control and mental health services. Congress provided significant funding through a categorical federal safe schools program that was abolished during the last recession. We look for more responses to come;
  • The updated tracking chart of bills that are getting full chamber consideration or have passed to the other chamber is accessible here: 2018 Bills on Floor or More2-16-18

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update – 2/9/18


Congress passed (240-186/House and 71-28/Senate) and President Trump has signed a two-year budget authorization bill that provides an $80 Billion annual increase for defense and about a $63 Billion annual increase for domestic spending. It is important to note this is a budget authorization. The actual appropriations by function, including preK-12 education, will be done during the next six weeks with a March 23rd deadline. There is a chance that ESSA including Title I, Title II and other programs could be held harmless or see a modest increase along with workforce programs. This directly affects our 2018-19 school year.  Federal spending at this point continues to be at last year’s level. Other parts of this morning’s deal, that averted an impactful government shutdown, includes:

  • $2.4 billion in disaster relief funds for school districts and private schools for restarting school operations and to cover enrollment of displaced students. The amounts for displaced students are $8500/student; $9000 for each displaced English learning student and #10,000 for students with disabilities.
  • the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been extended four more years for a total of 10 years;
  • budget debt ceiling has been suspended through March 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will release her FY19 (our 19-20 fiscal year) budget recommendations on Monday at a press conference. The materials will be posted after her presser which will be webcast here starting at 2pm. Afterward, the materials can be downloadedhere.


The Economic Demographic Research (EDR) conference held its general revenue estimating conference today, the results of which will be be used this session to help resolve budget differences between the hose and Senate. Conferees increased their projections in general revenue to $181 million this current year and $280 million in 2018-19. The EDR Executive Summary and workpapers can be viewed and downloaded here.

EDR also held a K-12 FTE enrollment conference yesterday, the net result of which is an approximate 4,000 FTE decrease in enrollment for FY19. The decrease is largely based on a 13,000 student drop from early FY18 estimates to this past October’s third calculation and also includes a projected increase of about 12K students coming from Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands who have been displaced by the storms last year. The charts are attached.

Meanwhile, the Legislature passed and will shortly send to the Governor HB5007 which is the employer rate bill for the Florida Retirement System next year. The Enrolled (ER) version is attached for staff use in calculating the district cost for next year. The House includes $54 million in its budget increase for district FRS increases. The Senate does not.

Last, for you bill trackers, attached are two files, one containing some 30 bills that have made it to the chamber floor calendar or to the other chamber, and a second that includes about 118 bills that are moving through committee. We will update these charts weekly. As enough bills begin to pass the full Legislature, I’ll have an interim list of those as well.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update 1/30/18


President Donald Trump tonight spoke to the Congress and the country in his “State of the Union” address covering a multitude of topics that domestically included economic growth, infrastructure and health. The text of his speech is here. Concerning education, he connected his comments to economic growth and development, “As tax cuts create new jobs, let us invest in workforce development and job training.  Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential…”

Immediately after, House Education and Workforce Chair Virginia Foxx released a statement that said, in part, “There are over six million unfilled jobs in this country, and the President knows how important it is to equip people with the skills they need to take advantage of new job opportunities and build fulfilling careers. The President is focused not only on the success of the country, but also the success of individuals. All education is career education, and I am proud to work with President Trump to provide Americans with the tools they need to land rewarding jobs and build a prosperous life.”

Committee Ranking Democrat Bobby Scott, in turn, stated the Administration has “removed protections that improve equity in education,” but added, “…as the administration works to improve the country’s infrastructure, they should consider the Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2017 (H.R. 2475), which would help achieve greater educational equity, create jobs, and breathe new life into communities.”

Congress, meanwhile, has until February 8th to either reach agreement on a current federal year budget and related spending issues or yet again extend a Continuing Resolution beyond a week from tomorrow. Neither the President nor Congressional leaders spoke to the present budget issues tonight. At stake for Prek-12 is funding for all educational programs for our 2018-2019 school year and continuation of programs such as the Perkins Career/Vocational Education Act that funds both K-12 and postsecondary education institutions.


Attention this week focuses on the House Appropriations Committee tomorrow morning and the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow afternoon as each chamber takes up their respective version of funding bills–general appropriations, implementing bill, conforming bill and FRS employer rates–for next year. So far, filed amendments do not make any substantive change from the subcommittee chairs’ budgets we distributed last week. FYI, the Senate as of tonight has not produced any district run for review.

Of note, the House has released a 55-page analysis of the 198-page Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) for HB7055 that was posted late Thursday night. The House summary can be viewed and downloaded here.

Also, Sen. Bill Montford has filed an amendment, available here, to the conforming bill. SB2508, that seeks to clarify what and how local revenues are to be included in a district’s facilities survey. The wording comes after complaints that a 2017 DOE memo exceeded legislative authority.

Several bills have come before committees. we’ll have an updated chart showing their actions later this week. Of note to school board members, however, is SB194 that passed Senate Judiciary 4-2 and would place an 8-year term limit. The bill requires a Constitutional Amendment and, if approved by the Legislature, would go on the November general election ballot.The text is here. In the House, a similar but not identical bill (Constitutional Amendment), HB1031, prohibits, starting in 2018, a board member from running for re-election if s/he will have served 8 years by election time. There is also an 8-year term limit proposal in the Constitutional Revision Commission that starts the 8-year limit as of 2016.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Legislative Update

January 29, 2018

Members of the Staff Association accompanied school-bed administrators to Tallahassee this past week to attend FASA and meet with legislators regarding educational needs, concerns and issues. The two days we spent there were busy as we met with legislators to discuss issues such as school safety, graduation rates, dollars for capital needs and charter issues. Vern Pickup-Crawford served as our guide and chaperone making sure we kept to our timelines and met with as many folks as possible.

Additionally we attended the general FASA session, which was interesting and informative. The charter school issues we face are not just our issues and several superintendents echoed the same concerns we have regarding equity for charters and public schools.

Vern will continue to send us specific updates throughout the session, and they will be posted here. Keep up with what is happening by reading his notes – they are thorough and always on point.

Pat Kaupe

Prek-12 Legislative Update 1/24/18

First, many thanks to those members who took valuable time away from district duties to come to Tallahassee during FASA Days. The trip was timely in that the issues of budget, assessment, elementary school scheduling of recess/PE and out of school suspensions are current topics in bills or budget.


Senate Prek-12 Education Appropriations Chair Kathleen Passidomo presented her budget recommendations for public schools this morning. Her FEFP recommendations will go directly to the full Appropriations Committee set to meet next week. The backup including a summary sheet can be viewed and downloaded here. There is no district run at this point. The FEFP summary is on page 14 of the PDF file; notes on content of the pending implementing and conforming bills are on pages 31-32, and the draft proviso language that would appear in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) starts on page 34. Of note, the Senate draft:

  • provides a 1.5% increase in total potential state/local dollars per FTE over this past October’s actual enrollment (3rd calculation);
  • folds into the FEFP dollars kept separately in HB7069 last year for the Best and Brightest teacher bonuses that would become part of salary rather than a bonus, and funding for the Schools of Hope;
  • provides $40 million for Sen. Passidomo’s mental health initiative that is part of SB1434;
  • increases the Safe Schools allocation by $13 million and the minimum per school district to $250,000;
  • provides funding for an estimated 30,000 additional students over the October count, but reduces the Base Student Allocation by $45.20 from the current level of $4203.95 to $4158.75; and
  • continues the Senate position to use local taxroll growth from both new construction and reappraisals (reassessments) as was done in years prior to 2016-17.

The full set of budget documents, possibly with an FEFP run, are expected to be published late Friday. We’ll forward the links when they come out.

Meanwhile, the House Education Committee staff analysis to the proposed 109-page committee bill distributed last night was released late today. The bill is on tomorrow’s 10am agenda and the meeting will be webcast on The analysis is attached. The staff summary of the proposed sections follows here:

The bill expands school choice options for parents and strengthens accountability by:
· Establishing the Reading Education Scholarship Account to provide students who scored Level I or II on 3rd grade English Language Arts (ELA) assessment with a scholarship toward services such as tutoring, summer school, and curriculum
· Streamlines monitoring and oversight provisions for scholarship programs and adds new accountability measures regarding site visits, parental notifications, and fiscal mismanagement
· Expands allowable uses of the Gardiner scholarship to include tutoring by a person with a baccalaureate degree in the subject matter area
The bill revises provisions related to curriculum and assessments by:
· Requiring the Florida Department of Education (DOE) to disseminate templates to assist schools in developing ELA and math curricula
· Requiring paper-based assessments for grades 7-8 in ELA and Math
· Incorporating Social Studies content into reading and writing prompts on state assessments
· Requiring released assessment items to be in an electronic format that facilitates sharing of assessment items
· Requiring school districts to provide Florida Virtual School (FLVS) students with access to district testing facilities for national assessments and industry certification exams
The bill revises certain provisions related to charter schools to:
· Allow charter schools to provide school administrator and principal preparation programs that lead to certification upon approval by DOE
· Allow charter schools to delay opening from 2 years to 3 years
· Require school districts to provide charter schools with access to surplus property on the same basis as public schools
· Require school districts to provide background screening results within 14 days for charter school employees or waive the fees for screening
· Revise eligibility for high performing schools to two consecutive “A” grades and allow high performing schools to replicate two schools
· Clarifies provisions relating to charter school terminations
The bill also:
· Expands the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative to a statewide program and allows trained principals to manage multiple district schools that operate under an independent governing board
· Expands a superintendent’s duties to recommend specific schools to operate under a governing board
· Revises requirements related to home education and private school articulation agreements

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

PreK-12 Legislative Update – 1/9/18 – First Day of Session

Florida Commissioner Pam Stewart has notified superintendents of the amount to be distributed to eligible charter schools under provisions of HB7069 passed last session. The distribution files are attached and the memo from Linda Champion follows here. These are the official numbers, which may differ from what we saw during the 2017 regular session hearings.

The 2018 Legislature opened this morning with Gov. Rick Scott giving his eighth and last “state of the state” address to a joint session of the House and Senate. He focused on budget cuts, a proposed constitutional amendment to limit future legislative tax increases by requiring a 2/3 vote, recovery from hurricanes, fighting opioid abuse, and the global role of Florida, citing specifically Venezuela. The text of his speech is here.

Speaker Richard Corcoran, in his remarks to the House, called for continuing “reform” and accountability of governmental practices. Concerning education, he called for continued ways to provide parental school choice, referencing examples for the need of HB1 that provides sales tax credit scholarships to parents of children involved in incidents of bullying and assault that are not resolved to the parent’s satisfaction. The full text of his speech is here, courtesy of the News Service of Florida:

Senate President Joe Negron began his Senate comments with a strong stanch against assault or inappropriate behavior by senators or staff, then spent most of his speech on both gains made by universities and his push for SB4 and SB540 to pass. Negron praised work done last year concerning drainage from Lake Okeechobee. Concerning public schools, he said he looked forward to seeing the House parent choice (HB1) legislation. He also called for expansion of industry certification programs in high schools and passage of SB88 that requires a semester of financial literacy in high schools (bill passed the Senate last year, but died in the House).

Only one education bill was heard today, HB731 concerning options for home schooling, and it passed House Innovation subcommittee unanimously. Both Senate and House Education Committees are not meeting this week. House Education Appropriations is hearing individual member project bills tomorrow while the House K-12 Quality Education Committee will take up HB 63 — Students with Disabilities in Public Schools, by Rep. Edwards, HB 495 — School District Price Level Index, by Rep. Diaz, HB 577 — High School Graduation Requirements, by Rep. Silvers, and HB 827 — Instructional Materials, by Rep. Donalds. Senate Education Appropriations hears SB564 on McKay scholarships that expands school district responsibility in providing or update student education plans and change the matrix of services based upon any reassessment.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update – 12/13/17


House Education and Workforce Committee members worked all day until 12:03am to “mark up” HR4508 which would reauthorize the nation’s higher education act. The bill passed along straight party lines, 23-17. Members took up over 60 amendments to the partisan legislation supported by Republicans (called “PROSPER” or Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform Act). Democrats opposed the bill, among other reasons of note, for lack of any involvement in the original drafting of the bill, lack of any section addressing the DACA or so-called “dreamers Act, and for no guarantee to cap the borrowing costs of higher education loans. The majority of amendments came from Democrats and were voted down along party lines. As of this hour, the amendments had not been posted, but some are referenced on the Democrat member webpage in the next paragraph or @edworkforcedems.

HR4508 will now go to the floor although no date has been announced. The Republican leadership website with background and talking points can be viewed here. A substitute bill released this morning can be downloaded here. The Democrats’ webpage information can be viewed here. The bill has direct and indirect implications for K-12 students, including student aid and programs such as dual enrollment.

Look for Congress to stay in Washington this weekend trying to reach agreement on debt, spending and related bills to avoid either a December 22nd shutdown of non-essential federal services or having to extend the current Continuing Resolution (CR) beyond December 22nd. The major factor at this point is getting agreement on the proposed tax code revision and tax cut legislation. The price tag of $1.2-1.4 Trillion over ten years in reduced revenue projections has a major impact on levels of domestic and defense spending for the current federal year that started October 1st and for our education funding for next year (2018-2019). Conferencing between House and Senate leaders is continuing this week.

Meanwhile, a name from Florida’s relatively recent history surfaced today as Frank Brogan, former elected state Education Commissioner and Lt. Governor (under Jeb Bush), has been named Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education by President Trump, subject to U.S. Senate conformation. Brogan, who began as a teacher and then elected Superintendent in Martin County, retired earlier this year as chancellor of the Pennsylvania state university system. He played a major role in the transition in Florida from elected to appointed state commissioner in 1998-2002. He also served as Chancellor of the Florida Board of Governors and as president of Florida Atlantic University.


Constitutional Revision Committees meet this week. Of note is the Local Government committee on Thursday that will take up proposals 33 and 43 (school board term limits and change to appointed superintendents). The Education Committee hears further background education on issues including school choice. The materials, that now include some staff analyses, can be found here.

The Economic, Demographic and Research Office updated its schedule of EDER estimating conferences today to include the next General Revenue Conference for February 9th at am This is the last major estimate before lawmakers move to settle differences between House and Senate budgets that will be in conference committee just about that time. The meeting will be webcast over

As promised, attached is an interim tracking chart of legislative bills filed so far that do or that may impact Prek-12 education. Some 220 bills are shown, about the normal number for this time before session starts.

Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update – Governor’s Proposed FY 19 budget

Governor Rick Scott released this morning his proposed FY19 budget to the 2018 Legislature. For K-12 funding, he is recommending nearly identical to the State Board of Education recommendations made to him in September. A copy of the Summary FEFP page and short version of the district distribution is attached. It calls for about a $200/FTE increase, using state and local funds–local funds including Required Local Effort (RLE) that, in turn, includes tax roll growth for new construction and reassessments, something that has been a major issue between the House and Senate for the last two years with the House prevailing in a roll-back dollar amount.

The summary page will give you a comparison of current year to his recommended levels of funding. Of note is a $10 million increase in Safe Schools, which he recommended last year, and the $18M increase in teacher supply dollars that he announced earlier this month. If and when a full “run” is available, I will forward that to you.

Under capital outlay, Gov. Scott is recommending continuation of $50 million in PECO funds for charter schools and $50 million for district schools.

In the release below, the very bottom link to the full budget including proviso language is provided. Education is included in Sections One and Two.

It’s likely legislative budget committees will start getting presentations from his staff during the December 4-7 committee meetings which may give us an idea of how receptive budget writers will be to his recommendations. The final FY18 budget approved in special session last June amounted to about half of what he had requested for K-12. His recommended level of funding is expected to be the “high water mark” in the FY19 appropriations process.

Vern Pickup-Crawford

Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

November 14, 2017


(850) 717-9282

Gov. Scott: The Securing Florida’s Future Budget Makes Historic Investments and Cuts Taxes

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott visited Northern Tool + Equipment in Jacksonville to announce his Securing Florida’s Future budget which proposes $180 million in tax cuts to help Florida families. The Governor’s recommended budget also invests record funding in Florida’s education system, transportation, and environmental protection while continuing to support law enforcement and keep Florida’s economy growing.

Governor Scott said, “When I made the decision to run for Governor in 2010, a lot of people doubted that a businessman who had never been in politics could cut taxes and get our state back to work. For years, politicians in Tallahassee had run our economy into the ground through tax increases, frivolous spending and a lack of focus on job creation. I have spent every day since taking office fighting to get Florida on the right track by turning back the harmful policies of past politicians and I am proud of the work we have accomplished to secure Florida’s future by creating an environment where Floridians of all ages have the tools they need to succeed in our state. Today, I am proud to announce my budget which cuts taxes and makes historic investments in education, transportation and Florida’s environment.

“Turning around Florida’s economy would not have been possible without our hard work to cut taxes and encourage business to thrive here in the Sunshine State. Since I took office, I have been proud to work with the Florida Legislature to cut taxes 75 times saving Floridians more than $7.5 billion. Together, we have paid down $9 billion in state debt and made government more efficient to save even more taxpayer money. These accomplishments have helped secure future success and prosperity, and have made it possible for more than 1.3 million Floridians to find a job so they can support their families. As we look ahead to the future of Florida, it is important to continue fighting every day to make sure that our children and grandchildren have every opportunity to lead successful lives in the Sunshine State. Our Securing Florida’s Future budget advances Florida’s record of success and represents years of fighting to do what’s right for Florida families and I will keep fighting every day to secure Florida’s future for every Florida family.”

Cuts Taxes and Fees

The Securing Florida’s Future budget proposes to cut taxes by $180 million including reducing the fee when obtaining or renewing a driver’s license, reducing traffic citation fines for individuals attending driving school and implementing a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday and three one-week disaster preparedness sales tax holidays in May, June and July.

Protects the Environment

To continue protecting Florida’s world-class beaches, award-winning and nationally acclaimed state parks, renowned springs and iconic Everglades, Governor Scott is recommending more than $3.8 billion, including record funding to preserve Florida’s environment and keep the state beautiful for generations to come. This includes:

  • record $355 millionfor Everglades restoration including $50 million to expedite repairs for the federal Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee;
  • record $55 millionfor Florida’s springs;
  • record $100 millionfor Florida’s beaches;
  • record $50 millionfor Florida’s state parks;
  • More than$21 million to help Florida’s citrus industry following Hurricane Irma; and
  • $50 millionfor Florida Forever to help preserve and protect our natural lands.

Invests in Education

For the sixth straight year, Governor Scott is recommending historic funding for education. The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests historic amounts of funding in voluntary pre-kindergarten, K-12, state colleges and universities to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed in the Sunshine State. Historic investments include:

  • An additional $11.6 million for a record total of more than $408 millionfor Florida’s VPK program, a quality free education initiative, which serves more than 158,000 four and five-year olds;
  • More than $21.4 billionin state and local funding for Florida’s K-12 public schools. This historic funding equates to $7,497 per student – an increase of $200 per Florida student – the highest total funding, state funding and per-student funding for K-12 in Florida’s history;
  • $15 millionin funding for a brand-new program to expand opportunities for middle and high school students to learn coding and computer science;
  • $12 millionin funding to establish the English Language Learners Summer Academics program. This program will be focused on reading improvements and making sure students in grades 4 – 8 displaced by Hurricane Maria have access to summer academies.
  • Historic funding for higher education including record state operating funding for Florida’s higher education system of more than $1.2 billionfor Florida colleges, and more than $2.4 billion for Florida universities; and
  • More than $23 millionfor Bright Futures scholarships and ensures the Bright Futures Academic Scholars award will continue to cover 100 percent of tuition and fees for all semesters, including summer, for all eligible students. There are also NO tuition increases included in the budget.

Healthy Florida Families

The Securing Florida’s Future budget makes important investments to keep Florida families healthy:

  • $53 millionto continue Florida’s fight against the national opioid epidemic;
  • More than $1 billionin mental health and substance abuse funding, including $14.7 million for community-based behavioral health services;
  • More than $1.3 billionfor Florida’s child welfare system which includes more than $10 million for an additional 130 Child Protective Investigator and Florida Abuse Hotline Counselor positions. Under Governor Scott, the number of CPIs has increased by nearly 300 and the number of by Florida Abuse Hotline counselors has increased by nearly 50;
  • More than $198 million, a more than $2 millionincrease over current year funding, for maintenance adoption subsidies which provide funding for the families of children who are adopted from foster care to receive the services they need. This funding will also provide critical post adoption services for more than 37,000 children. Since taking office, Governor Scott has championed investments for the adoption of more than 20,000 children from Florida’s child welfare system;
  • $2 millionfor the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to provide employment services to approximately 1200 individuals with behavioral health needs and those with developmental disabilities who are ready to work; and
  • More than $18 millionto add approximately 900 individuals who are in crisis into the APD waiver program. This is the sixth year that Governor Scott has provided funding to enroll individuals into the APD waiver program to help them live, learn and work in their communities.

Secures Great Transportation for Florida’s Future

The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests a record $10.8 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation to ensure that more than 20.7 million residents and more than 112 million visitors are able to move safely and effectively throughout the state. Since 2011, Governor Scott has overseen the investment of $85 billion in funding for roads, bridges, airports and seaports. This includes priority investments in Florida’s seaports exceeding $1.4 billion.

Keeps Florida’s Communities Safe and Strong

The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests $5.3 billion in public safety, an increase of nearly $200 million over current year funding, and makes important investments to support Florida’s dedicated law enforcement officers. Key public safety investments include:

  • $30 millionfor Florida’s state law enforcement agencies to use for additional pay raises to award Florida’s nearly 4,800 sworn state law enforcement officers;
  • $1.3 millionto the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for incident command vehicles and emergency ordinance disposal vehicles to strengthen counterterrorism and intelligence efforts;
  • More than $8 millionfor the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to provide a 10 percent salary increase for Florida’s Juvenile Detention and Probation Officers;
  • $317,000and three positions for DJJ to establish the Office of Youth and Family Advocacy which will serve as a firsthand resource working directly with youth and families to foster communication and amplify their voice in the ongoing improvement of the juvenile justice system; and
  • $68 millionand 476 positions for the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) to better serve inmates with mental illness.

Invests in Florida’s Emergency Preparedness and Response

The Securing Florida’s Future budget includes a total of $1.4 billion for the Florida Division of Emergency Management to continue to prepare for and respond to both manmade and natural disasters. This reflects a 257 percent increase over the current year level of funding of $390.6 million. This funding will also support communities and state operations in disaster response and rapid recovery related activities due to Hurricane Irma and other prior storms.This is the highest level of funding since Governor Scott took office.

Invests in Florida’s Veterans Community

The Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends $178 million to support active duty military, veterans and their families.

Click here to view the Securing Florida’s Future Budget highlights.

Click here to view the Securing Florida’s Future Budget FAQ.

Click here to view the Securing Florida’s Future Budget complete budget.

Prek-12 Legislative Update 11/8/17

Legislators held a shortened week of legislative committee meetings with a number of committees, including in Education, not meeting. Of note between yesterday and today:

  • HB1, Hope Scholarships, passed the House K-12 Innovation Committee along party lines this afternoon following debate reminiscent of that in prior years concerning corporate income tax scholarships. This bill would provide a scholarship/voucher to the parent of a child bullied or assaulted in school or at a school bus stop and when, after a fifteen day lead time from date of reporting, is not resolved by the school principal to the satisfaction of the parent. The bill and staff analysis can be viewed and downloaded hereand, for those interested, the two-hour hearing can be accessed here. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Byron Donalds, tracks the income tax scholarship process and values (88% elementary, 92% middle and 96% high school of state FEFP/pupil funding). The fund source is a car or light truck buyer’s designation of $20 of the state sales tax to a scholarship funding organization as determined by any Florida citizen purchasing a qualifying vehicle. Staff analysis projects $30-40 million/year revenue. The bill has two more “stops” in Prek-12 Appropriations and then full education committee. There is no Senate version at the moment.
  • House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee passed several bills yesterday, two of which involve school districts. The backup and bills, here, include proposed committee bill PIE18-02 that sets ethics stipulations for local government including school boards and for entities doing business with school boards; PIE18-03 sets local government lobbyist requirements (persons lobbying local government) and that the state rules/laws will preempt any local ordinances or policies already in place. Both are similar to bills that passed the House last session, but failed in the Senate.
  • In Senate Prek-12 Education Appropriations, SB88, which would require a half-credit course in financial literacy during a student’s high school career starting with ninth graders next year, passed unanimously. Sponsor Dorothy Hukill, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, had identical legislation passed last session in the Senate, but it died in the House.
  • House Prek-12 Education Appropriations committee members heard updates from FLDOE on student enrollment and impact of Hurricane Irma on prek and early learning programs. Deputy Commissioner Linda Champion said the third calculation will be completed by December 21. So far, some 6344 students have enrolled in Florida schools from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. There was no projection if that number would result in this year’s funded FTE enrollment cap would be exceeded.
  • Although school districts self-insure vehicles–school buses, maintenance trucks, etc.–district risk managers should look at HB19 by Rep. Erin Grall that passed House Commerce and which abolishes the long-standing PIP insurance requirements. The bill goes straight to the House floor. In place, it requires bodily injury coverage. More information on the legislation can be found here.
  • Governor Rick Scott has announced a package of $180 million in tax cuts for which he will seek legislative approval. Foremost is a 10-day tax-free holiday for purchase of school supplies and related clothing, etc., next August.
  • House Ways and Means Committee voted out PCB WMC18-01, a proposed committee bill that would place on the November, 2018 ballot a requirement that a 2/3 vote of the Legislature would be required subsequently to raise state taxes or fees. A similar measure has been filed in the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC).

More CRC proposals have been filed by members. Of note are Proposals:

  • 82 that would prohibit starting school earlier than 7 days before Labor Day,
  • 89 that adds the following language at the beginning of Article IX, Section One–“The purpose of the public education system of Florida is to develop the intellect of the state’s citizens, to contribute to the economy, to create an effective workforce, and to prepare students for a job,”
  • 90 that modifies the class size requirement to read the “average class size” per teacher (keeping the same 18, 22 and 25 ratios) and stipulating the difference in cost from now to the new language would be used for teacher pay raises; and
  • 93 that provides for high performing school districts (state rated “B” or higher) to be considered “charter districts’ with the same flexibility allowed for charter schools, currently.

Legislators meet in Tallahassee next week for a fourth round of presession committee weeks. The CRC will convene its commission and subcommittees the week of November 27th.

Vern Pickup-Crawford

Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update – 11/1/17


The Constitutional Revision Commission and some subcommittees are meeting this week in Tallahassee, still getting briefings on issues. Yesterday, the Education Subcommittee spent time going over topics including the change from elected to appointed state education commissioners (1998 change that took effect in 2003); history of elected and appointed school superintendents in Florida, state university governance and other state education options. Tomorrow the subcommittee is slated to get department updates on K-12 funding and funding for sectarian schools. After this week, the Commission has November 28-30 slated to hold further meetings.

Meanwhile, as of yesterday, 71 proposals have been filed by Commission members. At least 10 would have direct effect on K-12 education. A list and link to each proposal is attached. The 10 include:

  • 4 – religious freedom–allowing use of state funds for sectarian schools
  • 10 – requirement to teach civic literacy in public schools
  • 25 – recreation of a separate state board for community colleges and postsecondary education
  • 32 – prohibition of any compensation except for travel and mileage for state education, university and district school boards
  • 33 – change to have all district superintendents appointed (41 currently elected, mostly in smaller districts)
  • 43 – limit school board member terms in office to two–eight years, starting in 2020
  • 45 – legislature has preeminent control over education
  • 52 – revisions to local “ethics in government” requirements
  • 59 – similar proposal to #4 for use of state funds for sectarian schools
  • 71 – provision for the state to authorize charter schools, separate from school boards

Legislative committees meet next week on a reduced schedule. Senate Education is taking a “bye” as is House K-12 Quality and others. Of note, however, is House Bill 1 (HB1) filed today by Rep. Byron Donalds that follows through on Speaker Richard Corcoran’s announcement last month of a new “Hope Scholarship” program (see the House website for its promo). The 25-page bill provides for a public school student to be eligible for a scholarship under this program “if the student has been subjected to an incident of battery; harassment; hazing; bullying; kidnapping; physical attack; robbery; sexual offenses, harassment, assault, or battery; threat or intimidation; or fighting at school.” Incidents are those that occur on school grounds, during school-sponsored activities or and/or bus stops. The bill specifies procedures to be followed including the reporting of an incident to the principal who has 15 days to review and resolve the issue. If unresolved to the parent’s satisfaction, the parent may apply for the scholarship which would operate similar to the current Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. Public schools, including charter schools, are not eligible for the scholarship. Virtual education is limited to two courses.

Funding would come from sales tax generated by the purchase of motor vehicles, but does not include heavy trucks, truck tractors, trailers, and motorcycles. The amount or value per scholarship is at the same rate used now for the corporate income tax program, to be set by the legislature. The contribution amount would be $20 per vehicle purchase and the vehicle buyer would sign off on the contribution. As the transaction occurs before the sales tax is received by the state, it is not state dollars, legally, and therefore allowable like the corporate income tax program.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Byron Donalds of Naples, will be heard in House Pre-12 Innovation Subcommittee on Wednesday, starting at 4pm. The meeting will be aired

Also of note, Governor Rick Scott has announced part of his 2018 education budget recommendations by supporting an increase of $18 million to $63 million for teacher supplies. Look for the rest of his budget to come out later this month or early next month. He has until December 10th to submit his recommendations to the Legislature.


House and Senate leaders reportedly are working on a compromise for the federal 2018 budget (our 2018-2019 school year). Much remains dependent on 1) what happens with the proposed revisions to the US tax code, 2) any movement or attempt to change healthcare which is a major cost, and 3) agreement on extension of the federal debt ceiling which is the amount the federal government is authorized to borrow to pay debt.

Next Wednesday, there will be a Joint Subcommittee meeting by the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and on Higher Education and Workforce Development on “Close to Home: How Opioids are Impacting Communities.” The meetng will be broadcast here. There are no backup materials at this point.


Vern Pickup-Crawford

Schoolhouse Consulting Group, Inc.

Prek-12 Legislative Update – 10/13/17


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

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


  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

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.


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 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:
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
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 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.
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.


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: 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.


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

(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
(S) – SESSION, (10:00AM–12:00PM)
SB 0148 Students Remaining on School Grounds During the day (Garcia)
(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
(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
(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 and

Vern Pickup-Crawford


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.”

(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
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
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

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 the agenda for that and other meetings of K-12 interest include:


(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


(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


Vern Pickup-Crawford
Schoolhouse Consulting Group

Prek-12 Legislative Update 3/16/17

Vern Pickup-Crawford


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 ( 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.


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:

Washington Post has initial story: By the time you see this, there will likely be other articles on the budget.

Education Week is here:

Vern Pickup-Crawford 


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.


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 by entering the bill number in the dialog box. Most of these meetings will be webcast on we’ll have an update tomorrow night along with an updated tracking chart of filed bills thus far.

(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)
(S) – Community Affairs, 301 S (10:30AM–12:00PM)
SB 0880 Government Accountability (Stargel) – penalty for failure to correct state audit deficiencies
(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.

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,


Prek-12 Legislative Update:  January 8, 2017


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)

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.

Prek-12 Legislative Update – 10/17/16

For other legislative updates, go to:

%d bloggers like this: