This Video Update features FSBA Interim Executive Director Bill Graham discussing a bill that has passed the legislature — SB 7024 – relating to a distribution of interest income to school districts that had assets deposited in the state’s investment pool when it was frozen in 2007. Mr. Graham also discusses the status of charter school legislation — SB 1552, HB 1145, and HB 7037 — and the current status of state budget negotiations. In addition, FSBA Director of Board Development Andrea Messina discusses proposed legislation relating to athletics and the High School Athletics Association — HB 7137, SB 1480, and SB 948. (Please scroll down below the video to access additional information about these issues.)
SB 7024 — Local Government Surplus Trust Fund and Fund B Trust Surplus Funds Trust Fund
The Local Government Surplus Trust Fund was created by the Florida Legislature in 1977 to allow local governments, including school boards, to invest their surplus funds with the goal of providing safety, liquidity, and competitive returns on these investments. In November 2007, this Trust Fund experienced an unanticipated liquidity crisis when participants, anxious about the quality and security of their investments in the midst of the national “sub-prime mortgage” fiasco, staged a classic “run on the bank” by withdrawing billions of dollars from the fund. Faced with this liquidity crisis, a temporary freeze on withdrawals and deposits was implemented and a separate second fund — the Fund B Trust Fund — was created to hold the distressed securities along with the undistributed interest payments and other reserve funds. Over the course of the next few years, all participants with funds still held in the Local Government Surplus Trust Fund were reimbursed for the original principal deposited and a balance of $43 million remains in the Fund B Trust Fund. SB 7024 — which has passed the Legislature and awaits approval by Governor Scott — directs the State Board of Administration to distribute this residual balance to provide participants who were members in November 2007 with a pro-rata share of the interest earnings withheld in November 2007. The vast majority of school districts will receive a share of this funding.
SB 1552, HB 1145, and HB 7037 — Charter Schools
There are now one Senate bill and two House bills that address charter schools. HB 7037 — which passed the House several weeks ago and awaits consideration by the Senate — contains several very troubling provisions, but of particular concern, this bill would require school districts to provide revenue from the district discretionary 1.5 capital outlay millage levy to support charter school capital outlay projects. Due, in part, to the public outcry against this provision, last week the House amended another House bill — HB 1145 relating to public school choice — to incorporate most of the provisions of HB 7037, but EXCLUDING the capital outlay millage provision. This amendment brings HB 1145 into closer alignment with the Senate bill — SB 1552 — that addresses both charter schools and public school choice. Even so, HB 1145 still contains troubling provisions relating to both public school choice and charter schools. Meanwhile, the charter school provisions in SB 1552 generally provide welcome accountability measures and the public school choice provisions in SB 1552, though not ideal, are preferable to those contained in HB 1145.
HB 7137, SB 1480, and SB 948 — High School Athletics
There are now one House bill and two Senate bills that address high school athletics and the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) — HB 7137 and SB 1480 focuses only on these topics while SB 948 is an omnibus bill that addresses dozens of diverse issues in addition to athletics and FHSAA. Although there are some differences among these bills, the main provisions are similar. Of particular concern, these bills would undermine safeguards that protect against recruiting and eligibility violations and would, in effect, promote the interests of one student at the expense of the rights of his or her teammates and competitors. In addition, the bills would prohibit a school board from having more stringent recruitment, transfer, or eligibility requirements than those set forth in the bills.