We have gotten our first look at the House and Senate budget proposals for K-12 public schools. Few details are available as yet, but we can provide a quick overview of where things stand at the moment. Both budget proposals increase overall funding for K-12 by about $750 million — about a 4% increase over the current year – with the House proposal providing about $20 million more than Senate in total funding. The House proposal doubles the current funding level for Digital Classrooms to a total of $80 million, and provides substantial increases to specific programs, including the Sparsity Supplement, Safe Schools, Reading Allocation, and Supplemental Academic Instruction. While the Senate budget is slightly lower than the House, the Senate provides more funding flexibility by focusing much of the increase in the Base Student Allocation, increasing it by $152 (substantially more than the House budget proposal). The Senate has also not indicated an allocation for Digital Classrooms at this time because the Senate has indicated that it wishes to gather more information from DOE before committing to an allocation amount. In addition, the Senate proposal creates new Federally Connected Student Supplement intended to support educational services in districts that have large populations or land tied to military bases, Indian reservations, or other federal property.
We have prepared a simple chart comparing FY 2007-08 education funding, current year funding, and the 2015-16 education budget proposals submitted by the governor, House, and Senate. This provides a quick “at-a-glance” overview on where things stand as of today. The chart is available on the FSBA website on our 2015 Session Resource Center page at http://fsba.org/2015-
In the House Education Committee:
HB 55 – Children and Youth Cabinet by Harrell – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUSTITUTE
Revises membership of Children & Youth Cabinet to include a district school superintendent; etc.
HB 143 – American Founders’ Month by Bileca — PASSED
Designates September as “American Founders’ Month”; authorizes Governor to annually designate month; requires district school boards to celebrate American Founders by observing American Founders’ Month; provides that instruction may be integrated into existing school curriculum.
HB 153 – Literacy Jump Start Pilot Project by L. Lee — PASSED
Requires Office of Early Learning to establish pilot project in St. Lucie County to assist low-income, at-risk children in developing emergent literacy skills; requires OEL to select organization to implement pilot project; provides eligibility requirements for participation; requires background screening for childcare personnel; requires OEL to allocate funds for pilot project.
HB 181 – Educational Facilities by Bileca — PASSED
Provides for school district construction flexibility; authorizes exceptions to educational facilities construction requirements under certain circumstances.
HB 291 – Involuntary Examinations of Minors by Harrell — PASSED
Provides requirements for notification of involuntary examination of minors by public schools, charter schools, & receiving facilities.
HB 357 – Principal Autonomy Pilot Program by M. Diaz — PASSED
Creates Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative; provides requirements for participation, exemptions, professional development, rulemaking, & reporting; provides authorization period for participation in program; provides for renewal or revocation of authorization to participate in program; revises school district minimum classroom expenditure requirements; requires district school boards participating in program to provide certain funding allocations; provides additional authority & responsibilities to school principals of participating school districts; specifies contents of professional development program.
HB 665 – Maximum Class Size by Moraitis – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Revises calculation of school district’s class size categorical allocation reduction to school average when maximum class size requirements are not met; provides for expenditure of funds; requires that district plan for compliance with class size maximums be posted to district website & provided to school advisory committee of each noncompliant school; authorizes that plan be posted on noncompliant school’s website.
HB 7043 – Standard Student Attire by K-12 – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Designates act as “Students Attired for Education (SAFE) Act”; authorizes school boards to adopt standard student attire policy; limits liability for districts that implement attire policy; creates safe schools allocation to provide funding for certain safe schools activities; provides for withholding of funds from districts that do not comply with certain school safety & student discipline reporting; authorizes additional funds for districts that implement standard student attire policy; provides appropriation.
HB 7037 – School Choice by Choice & Innovation – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Revises provisions relating to charter school application, certain appeals, funding for & payments to charter schools, long-term charters, nonrenewal, termination, & closure of charter schools, financial statements, charter school representatives & public meetings, governing board residency requirements, high-performing charter schools, termination of virtual instruction provider contracts, & charter school professional development; authorizes charter school to defer opening & use of certain funds for educational purposes; establishes Florida Charter School Innovation Institute; provides appropriation. [NOTE: Today’s amendment adds several very troubling provisions relating to the calculation and payment of capital outlay funding to charter schools. We are preparing a detailed summary of this bill and related House bills that will be available shortly.]
EDC3 – Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts by Education – SUBMITTED AS A COMMITTEE BILL (HB 7095)
Increases the pool of eligible applicants by expanding the definition of autism to include all students on the autism spectrum disorder and to include students who have muscular dystrophy; increases the types of services available to participants; clarifies that funds must be expended for the student’s educational needs; outlines specific criteria for when payments to a personal learning scholarship account would cease and when an account is closed and funds revert to the state; requires review of all expenditures prior to reimbursement; authorizes the Commissioner of Education to deny, suspend, or revoke program participation or use of program funds in specified circumstances; rquires a high-risk child who reaches 6 years of age has documentation of an eligible disability in order to continue in the program; requires the Auditor General to provide a copy of the annual operational audit to the Commissioner of Education; etc.
In the House Local & Federal Affairs Committee:
HB 361 – Military Housing Ad Valorem Tax Exemptions by Trumbull – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Grants certain leasehold interests & improvements to land owned by U.S. or agency thereof, branch of U.S. Armed Forces, or quasi-governmental agency exemption from ad valorem taxation; exempts such leasehold interests & improvements without need to apply for exemption or property appraiser approving exemption; provides nonapplicability of provisions to transient public lodging establishments; provides retroactive applicability.
HB 365 – Skateboarding, Skating, or Bicycling by Gonzalez — PASSED
Removes requirement that governmental entity that provides designated area for skateboarding, inline skating, or freestyle bicycling post rules indicating written consent of parent or legal guardian of child under certain age is required to participates; provides for application of specified provisions that limit liability of governmental entity.
In the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee:
SB 802 – Vocational Rehabilitation by D. Gaetz — PASSED
Providing for the future repeal of the designation of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation as the administrative unit for purposes of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, subject to legislative review of a required report; requiring the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to initiate, by a specified date, a performance improvement plan designed to achieve specified goals; requiring the division to develop and implement a pilot program to improve the state vocational rehabilitation program, etc.
SB 960 – Bright Futures Scholarship Program by T. Lee — PASSED
Requiring a student, as a prerequisite for the Florida Academic Scholars award, the Florida Medallion Scholars award, or the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars award, to identify a social or civic issue or a professional area of interest and develop a plan for his or her personal involvement in addressing the issue or learning about the area; prohibiting the student from receiving remuneration or academic credit for the volunteer service work performed, etc.
SB 1140 – Bright Futures Scholarship Program by Montford – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Providing that the initial award and renewal period for students who are unable to accept an initial award immediately after completion of high school due to a full-time religious or service obligation begins upon the completion of the religious or service obligation, etc.
SB 616 – Education Accountability by Legg — AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Revising requirements for the administration of local assessments; revising the percentage thresholds for performance evaluation criteria for instructional personnel and school administrators; authorizing a school district to request approval from the state board to use student performance results on new statewide assessments for diagnostic and baseline purposes, etc. [NOTE: The bill was substantially amended today. We are still sorting through the amendments that were approved and, once that is done, we will update our side-by-side comparison of this bill and HB 7069 (you may still access the earlier comparison of these bills on the FSBA website at http://fsba.org/wp-content/
In the House Economic Affairs Committee:
EAC1 – Individuals with Disabilities by Economic Affairs – SUBMITTED AS A COMMITTEE BILL (HB 7099)
Creates the Florida Unique Abilities Partner program to recognize business entities that employ individuals who have a disability, contribute to organizations that support the independence of individuals who have a disability, or establish a program that contributes to the independence of individuals who have a disability.
HB 7019 – Workforce Services by Economic Development – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Renames Workforce Florida, Inc., as CareerSource Florida, Inc.; holds in abeyance specified provisions relating to Workforce Estimating Conference; requires EDR to develop & test labor market economic model & submit report; provides for future repeal; creates task force on preparation for state’s implementation of federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act; provides membership & duties of task force; requires task force to submit report & recommendations for approval by CareerSource Florida, Inc.; requires CareerSource Florida, Inc., to submit specified state plan to USDOL; provides for abolishment of task force.
In the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee:
SB 152 – Disability Awareness by Ring — PASSED
Requiring, rather than authorizing, each district school board to provide disability history and awareness instruction in all K-12 public schools beginning in a specified school year; requiring each public school to establish a disability history and awareness advisory council, etc.
SB 408 – Skateboarding, Skating, or Bicycling by Simmons — PASSED
Deleting the requirement that a governmental entity that provides a designated area for skateboarding, inline skating, or freestyle bicycling obtain the written consent of the parent or legal guardian of a child under a certain age before allowing the child to participate in these activities in such area; requiring the governmental entity to post a rule indicating that consent forms are required for children under a certain age before participation in paintball or mountain and off-road bicycling, etc.
In the House Appropriations Committee:
HB 19 – School Safety by Steube – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Permits school superintendent, with approval of the school board, to authorize school safety designee to carry concealed weapon or firearm on school property; provides requirements for school safety designees; provides exception to prohibition on possession of firearms or other specified devices on school property or other specified areas; provides for fingerprint processing & retention; requires that fees be borne by school safety designee or school; requires school boards to formulate policies & procedures for dealing with active shooters & hostage situations in consultation with law enforcement; requires district school boards & private schools allow campus tours by local law enforcement agencies for specified purposes & that their recommendations be documented; permits district school boards to commission one or more school safety officers on each school campus.
HB 113 – Local Government Construction Preferences by Perry — PASSED
Prohibits local ordinances & regulations from restricting competition for award of construction services based upon certain conditions; requires state college, school district, or other political subdivision to make specified disclosures in competitive solicitation documents.
HB 477 – Background Screening by Sprowls — PASSED
Revises requirement relating to background screening of instructional personnel in virtual instruction programs; provides additional offenses that determine ineligibility for educator certification or employment; revises requirements for submission, retention, search, & reporting of fingerprints of educational personnel & contractual personnel; provides for FDLE participation in national retained print arrest notification program.
HB 549 – Associations of Government Officials by M. Diaz – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Requires membership association that receives specified percentage of budget from public funds to file annual report with Legislature; specifies required elements of report; prohibits membership association from expending public funds on litigation against the state. [NOTE: Today’s amendment, by Representative Fresen, defines a membership association to mean “a corporation not for profit, including a department or division of such corporation, the majority of whose board members are constitutional officers that operate, control and supervise public entities that receive annual state appropriations through a statutorily defined formulaic allocation that is funded and prescribed annually in the General Appropriations Act or the substantive bill implementing the annual appropriations act.” This appears to narrow the application of the bill to school boards.]
HB 565 – Retirement by Beshears — PASSED
Authorizes local agency employers to reassess designation of positions for inclusion in SMS Class; provides for removal of certain positions.
HB 571 – Personal Privacy by R. Rodrigues – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Designates act as “Florida Privacy Protection Act”; provides that digital data is protected from unreasonable search & seizure; prohibits use of certain radar technology by law enforcement agency without warrant; prohibits disclosure of certain Internet protocol addresses; restricts searches of portable electronic devices; prohibits government entities from entering into nondisclosure agreements with vendors of device monitoring equipment; provides that evidence unlawfully collected is not admissible; requires school district contracts involving student data to contain provision barring contractors from selling data; provides that student data shall not be provided to Federal Government or commercial interests without written permission of parent or guardian, or of student; prohibits companies from mining student data; prohibits DHSMV from incorporating certain devices into driver license or identification card; prohibits DHSMV from collecting fingerprints or DNA material for certain purposes. [NOTE: One of the amendments adopted today attempts to clarify the provisions of the bill that are applicable to student data and to avoid interfering with legitimate uses and reporting of student data. We are reviewing the amendment to insure that student data will continue to be properly protected under these provisions of the bill.]
In the House Finance & Tax Committee:
HB 695 – Value Adjustment Boards by Avila – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Requires that a petition to the VAB must be signed by the taxpayer or be accompanied by the taxpayer’s written authorization for representation; revises provisions related to the exchange of evidence; provides that failure by either party to timely comply with the evidence exchange rules results in the exclusion of the requested evidence unless the request for evidence was made prior to the petition being filed; provides clarification on the confidentiality of information in the evidence exchange process; requires “good cause” to be shown for the initial rescheduling of a hearing; requires the VAB submit the certified assessment roll to the property appraiser by June 1 annually; restricts the qualifications of those who can represent the taxpayer before the VAB; changes composition of the VAB from county commissioners, school board members, and citizen members to all citizen residents of the county appointed by their legislative delegation; authorizes the school board and county commission to audit the expenses related to the VAB, creates a review process for any county that receives 10,000 or more VAB petitions in one year; authorizes the property appraiser to contract for services to examine or audit homestead tax exemptions claimed on assessment rolls; contractors are paid from penalties; authorizes persons falsely claiming a homestead exemption to enter into a payment plan; requires the notice of proposed property tax (the TRIM notice) to contain a breakout of millage attributable to each of the county constitutional officers. [NOTE: The committee took up and passed a Proposed Committee Substitute that substantially differs from the original bill. The short summary above reflects the major provisions of the PCS. Several of the provisions in the bill give rise to questions and concerns.]
COMING UP TOMORROW
There are no meetings of interest scheduled for tomorrow. Our next Daily Update will be issued on Monday, March 23, 2015.
Director of Government Relations
Florida School Boards Association
Office: 850 / 414-2578
Cell: 850 / 509-6411