This Video Update features Dr. Wayne Blanton discussing the highlights of the latest versions of the House and Senate Education Budgets, SB 864 & HB 921 relating to adoption of instructional materials, SB 1528 & HB 7083 relating to Charter Schools, and HB 753 & SB 968 relating to School Safety. Dr. Blanton encourages you to take action on these issues.
House and Senate Budgets (HB 5001 & SB 2500)
Now that both chambers have considered and passed their respective versions of the state budget, the next step in the budget process is for both chambers to establish Conference Committees that will work to resolve the differences between the two versions of the budget. (Please continue reading below the video)
To illustrate some of these differences that the conference committees will be working on, we have posted updated comparisons of the education related provisions in the House and Senate budgets, implementing bills, and FRS contribution rate bills in our Legislative Session Resource Center.
Action Requested: Please contact your legislative delegation members to express support for their ongoing efforts to restore the funding that was cut from the education budget during the Recession and encourage your Senator(s) to increase total FEFP funding to match the House proposal, particularly with regard to Technology funding. (Senate email addresses are available HERE; House email addresses are available HERE)
SB 864 & HB 921 relating to Adoption of Instructional Materials
Originally, both of these bills would repeal the state-level instructional materials review and adoption process and mandate, rather than authorize, the transfer of these duties to the district school board. However, this week, Representative Matt Gaetz amended HB 921 to retain the state level process, retain the school district OPTION to take on these duties, and provide additional guidelines for those school districts that choose to exercise that option.
Action Requested: Please contact Representative Gaetz (firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-717-5004) to thank him for his leadership in pursuing this reasonable compromise on this House bill. Also, please contact Senator Alan Hays — the sponsor of SB 864 (email@example.com or 850-487-5011) — and urge him to amend the Senate version to align with the House version. In addition, please contact your Senator(s) to express your opposition to SB 864 because it imposes a tremendous unfunded mandate on school districts, deprives school districts of the state’s “economy of scale” in textbook purchasing power, reduces Florida’s national influence over textbook content, opens the adoption process to social and political bias, and threatens the constitutional requirement for a uniform system of free public schools. (Senate email addresses are available HERE; House email addresses are available HERE)
SB 1528 & HB 7083 relating to Charter Schools
Originally, both of these bills would require the use of a standard charter contract, authorize out-of-state charters to qualify as high performing and to operate in Florida, and require districts to make certain district facilities available for use by charter schools. However, the Senate version of this bill — SB 1512 — has been amended to remove all of these provisions and replace them with provisions requiring an administrative hearing process to resolve contract disputes and to bring greater transparency to charter school admission and dismissal procedures.
Action Requested: Please contact your Senator(s) and express your support for the current Senate version of the bill. Also, please contact your Representative(s) and express your opposition to HB 7083. (Senate email addresses are available HERE; House email addresses are available HERE)
HB 753 and SB 968 relating to School Safety
Both of these bills would authorize school principals to designate certain individuals, possibly including school personnel and volunteers, to carry a concealed weapon on school grounds. When similar legislation was proposed last year, the FSBA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution opposing such legislation.
Action Requested: Please contact your House and Senate delegation members to express your opposition to this legislation. You will find a detailed summary of the bills and talking points on pages 3-4 of Boarder-Line Issue 3. (Senate email addresses are available HERE; House email addresses are available HERE)