THIS WEEK’S HAPPENINGS
Due to the FSBA Day in the Legislature Conference, we did not publish our usual daily reports this week, so this edition of the Daily Update provides a recap of the legislative action on key bills and the budget this week. Our Daily Updates will resume next week.
EDUCATION BUDGET UPDATE
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees discussed and amended their respective state budget proposals. There were only a few amendments made to the education related sections of the proposed budgets, none of which changed the FEFP section of the budgets. As a quick overview, the Senate has recommended an overall increase in FEFP funding of about $650.6 million (an increase of 3.30%) while the House has recommended an increase of about $601 million (an increase of 3.05%). In both chambers, this increase relies heavily on revenue from local property taxes. The main difference between the two proposals is that the Senate recommends contributing about $50 million more in state funding than the House. Within the FEFP, the Senate focuses a significant amount of funding on increases in allocations to the ESE Guarantee and Supplemental Academic Instruction – both are programs for which the Senate has also proposed some possible policy changes. Meanwhile, the House focuses more on increasing the Base Student Allocation, increasing it by more than $100 to a total of about $4,258 compared to the Senate’s increase in the BSA of about $81 to a total or $4,236. Total FEFP funding per student amounts to $7,249.23 (2% increase) in the Senate proposal compared to $7,231.57 (1.75% increase) in the House proposal.
After consideration by the Appropriations Committees this week, the House and Senate Appropriations Bills, Implementing Bills, and FRS Contribution Rate Bills were assigned new bill numbers as follows:
Next week, the chambers will each consider and amend these bills on the floor of each chamber. We will keep you informed of any changes impacting education funding as the budget process moves forward. For the time being, we have prepared a comparison of the House and Senate education budget proposals as things stand as of this week. This comparison, along with some related documents, has been posted on the on the FSBA website in our 2016 Legislative Session Resource Center – you may access this information from our home page by clicking on the tab on the right hand side of the screen titled ”2016 Legislative Session Updates” or you may use this direct link: http://fsba.org/2016-
ACTION ON KEY EDUCATION RELATED BILLS
In addition to the consideration and amendment of the proposed budget outlined above, several key bills were considered in House and Senate committees/subcommittees this week. Below is a quick recap of this week’s action. In addition, we have drafted more detailed summaries of several of the most significant bills that are currently under consideration. These are posted on the FSBA website in our 2016 Legislative Session Resource Center (same web page as listed above).
Major education related bills considered and passed in House Committees/Subcommittees:
HB 1021 – Award of Attorney Fees / Public Records by Steube
Revises conditions under which award of attorney fees is authorized in certain civil actions for enforcement of chapter 119, F.S.; provides that award of such attorney fees is within discretion of court.
HB 669 – Educational Choice by Sprowls
Provides additional duties of internal auditor for school districts; revises list of public & private educational choice options available to students; requires school districts to provide & publish certain information; revises controlled open enrollment process; requires school district to establish process for parent to request that his or her child be transferred to another classroom teacher; revises components of Credit Acceleration Program; requires DOE to contract with FPU for certain purposes. [NOTE: FSBA has concerns about the logistics of implementing the provisions of this bill and believe the bill may threaten the stability of district enrollment, planning, and budgeting.]
HJR 759 – Charter Schools by Diaz
Proposes amendment to State Constitution to require State Board of Education to establish statewide charter school authorizer to authorize, operate, control, & supervise charter schools. [NOTE: Although the House has moved forward with this bill, to date, the Senate companion — SJR 976 by Stargel – has not been heard in any Senate committee (it was scheduled to be heard this week, but was Temporarily Postponed and not considered)].
HB 1403 – Pledge of Allegiance by Broxson
Requires written notice of student’s right not to participate in the pledge of allegiance to be included in specific publication; provides student may be excused from certain actions associated with pledge; requires unexcused students to show full respect to flag during pledge. [NOTE: In effect, the bill repeals the current requirement for a notice to be conspicuously post in and around a school to inform students and others of the right not to participate in the pledge. Some have expressed concern that students may not be as easily aware of their rights in this situation.]
HB 833 – Public School Recess by Plasencia
Provides that, in addition to the existing requirement for 150 minutes of physical education each week, each district school board must provide 100 minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free-play recess each week for students in kindergarten through grade 5 and for students in grade 6 who are enrolled in a school that contains one or more elementary grades; provides that free-play recess may not be withheld for academic or punitive reasons.
HB 1155 – Membership Associations by Eisnaugle
Prohibiting certain membership associations from expending any money received from public funds on litigation against the state; requiring the membership associations to file an annual report with the Legislature covering a variety of topics, including the fee required to become a member of the membership association, the current annual financial statements of the membership association, a description of the assets and liabilities of the association at the beginning and end of the preceding fiscal year, the salary, allowances, and other direct or indirect disbursements to each officer and to each employee who, during the preceding fiscal year, received more than $10,000, and the total amount of direct or indirect disbursements for lobbying activity at the federal, state, or local level incurred by the membership association, and the total amount of direct or indirect disbursements for litigation expenses incurred by the membership association; providing that dues paid to a membership association which are paid with public funds shall be assessed for each elected or appointed public officer; providing that, if a public officer elects not to join the membership association, the dues assessed to that public officer may not be paid to the membership association; requiring the Auditor General to conduct certain audits annually; etc. [NOTE: FSBA is opposed to this bill. The House companion to this bill – SB 1426 – was considered in a Senate committee this week (see below).]
HB 1365 – Competency-Based Education by Rodrigues
Creates Competency-Based Education Pilot Program; provides for program participation, application requirements, exemption from specified rules, student funding, & duties of DOE.
HB 287 – Principal Autonomy Pilot Program by Diaz
Creates Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative; provides requirements for participation, exemptions, professional development, funding, rulemaking, & reporting; provides authorization period for participation in program; provides for renewal or revocation of authorization to participate in program; requires district school boards participating in program to provide certain funding allocations; provides additional authority & responsibilities of principal of participating school; provides appropriation.
Major education related bills considered and passed in Senate Committees/Subcommittees:
SB 582 – Public Corruption by Gaetz
Deleting the definition of the term “corruptly” or “with corrupt intent”; redefining the term “bribery” to include knowing and intentional, rather than corrupt, acts; revising the prohibition against unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior to conform to changes made by the act; revising the prohibition against official misconduct to conform to changes made by the act; revising the prohibition against bid tampering to conform to changes made by the act, etc.
SB 808 – Charter Schools by Brandes
Authorizing a municipal governing authority to become a charter school sponsor in the municipality over which the municipal governing authority has jurisdiction; requiring a municipal governing authority to make timely and efficient payment and reimbursement to charter schools; deleting a provision that prohibits high-performing charter schools from establishing more than one charter school in any given year, etc. [NOTE: FSBA has significant concerns that this bill apprears to transfer authority that the Florida Constitution specifically assigns to an elected school board to another entity.]
SB 830 – School Choice / Charter Schools by Stargel
Revising the required contents of a charter school application; providing for the automatic termination of a charter under certain conditions; specifying that certain limits on the number of charter schools established do not apply under certain circumstances; authorizing certain entities to apply for status as a High-Impact Charter Network; revising charter school eligibility requirements for funding allocations, etc. [NOTE: This bill includes several commendable provisions that enhance charter school accountability but also includes some provisions that are of concern.]
SB 1426 – Membership Associations by Stargel
Prohibiting certain membership associations from expending any money received from public funds on litigation against the state; requiring the membership associations to file an annual report with the Legislature covering a variety of topics, including the fee required to become a member of the membership association, the current annual financial statements of the membership association, a description of the assets and liabilities of the association at the beginning and end of the preceding fiscal year, the salary, allowances, and other direct or indirect disbursements to each officer and to each employee who, during the preceding fiscal year, received more than $10,000, and the total amount of direct or indirect disbursements for lobbying activity at the federal, state, or local level incurred by the membership association, and the total amount of direct or indirect disbursements for litigation expenses incurred by the membership association; providing that dues paid to a membership association which are paid with public funds shall be assessed for each elected or appointed public officer; providing that, if a public officer elects not to join the membership association, the dues assessed to that public officer may not be paid to the membership association; providing that all records of a membership association constitute public records for purposes of ch. 119; requiring the Auditor General to conduct certain audits annually; etc. [NOTE: FSBA is opposed to this bill. The House companion bill – HB 1155 – was also considered in a Senate committee this week (see above).]
SJR 942 – Cabinet / Commissioner of Education by Garcia
Proposing amendments to the State Constitution to provide for the election of the Commissioner of Education, the inclusion of the commissioner as a member of the Cabinet, and the establishment of the Governor and Cabinet as the State Board of Education, etc.
SB 468 – Computer Coding Instruction by Ring
Requiring high schools to offer computer coding courses; requiring the Commissioner of Education to identify the computer coding courses that satisfy two credits of foreign language instruction under certain circumstances; requiring Florida College System institutions and state universities to recognize the credits as foreign language credits, etc.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
On Monday, we will distribute our Weekly Video Update for week #4 of the Legislative Session that will include highlights from our Day in the Legislature Conference. In addition, we will resume providing our usual daily reports on legislative activities and events via our FSBA Daily Update.
I hope you find this information useful. Please let me know if you have any questions.