During most of the last week or so, we have tried to keep you updated on progress on the budget. As you know, both chambers have passed their versions of the budget and related bills, but significant differences remain that have not been resolved. The next step in the budget development process is for each chamber to name members of Conference Committees charged with the task of working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget, budget implementing bill, and several conforming bills. Conference Committee members are expected to be named next week and will begin their work shortly thereafter. As a reference, the budget related bills that are of most interest to school districts that will be assigned to a Conference Committee are:
- HB 5001 and SB 2500 – General Appropriations Act (GAA)
- HB 5003 and SB 2502 – Implementing the General Appropriations Act
- HB 5007 and SB 7022 – Florida Retirement System
- HB 5101 and SB 2516 — Education Funding
- HB 5103 and SB 376 – Charter School Capital Outlay Funding
- HB 5105 — School Improvement (no Senate companion bill listed)
- HB 7069 — Best & Brightest Teachers & Principals (no Senate companion bill listed)
We have posted comparisons and/or summaries of each of these bills on our 2017 Legislative Session page and have posted several background and advocacy materials on our Advocacy Tools page. In addition, please be sure to view the Legislative Session Video Update for Week 6 in which FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina provides a recap of the week’s events, including a discussion of several bills and policy issues that may impact the budget negotiation process – such as health care funding, workers’ compensation, and retirement.
The Legislature did not meet today in observance of Easter weekend. They will be back to work on Monday, April 17, 2017 and we have posted the schedule of meetings of interest and the list of bills that will be under consideration under our Coming Up on Monday tab below.
Please note that all of the meetings listed below may be viewed via live webcast on the Florida Channel. For real-time updates on these meetings and other legislative activities, please click HERE to access our Twitter feed.
The Senate Education Committee will meet (1:30-3:30 pm; 412 KOB) to consider the following items:
SB 796 – Charter Schools by Bean
The bill creates the High-Impact Charter Management Organization (HICMO) designation, authorizes certain entities to apply for the designation, and defines related terms. Specifically, the bill:
- Establishes the process and criteria for the initial designation and renewal of the designation.
- Provides incentives for HICMO entities to operate in Florida.
- Requires the Florida Department of Education (DOE) to provide school districts with technical assistance to ensure that federal funds are allocated to charter schools using an appropriate methodology.
- Removes the requirement that a charter school must have satisfactory student achievement based on state accountability standards to receive charter school capital outlay funding.
- Directs the State Board of Education to adopt rules to administer the HICMO provisions.
[NOTE: This is the first of four committees of reference for this bill. There is no direct House companion bill, but this may become a vehicle for some or all of the provisions of HB 5105 relating to School Improvement.]
SB 902 –Gardiner Scholarship Program by Simmons
The bill modifies the Gardiner Scholarship Program (GSP) to:
- Expand the definition of disability for purposes of the GSP.
- Revise student eligibility criteria for participation in the GSP.
- Authorize the procurement of additional services using GSP funds.
- Provide that a private school with material exceptions to its agreed-upon procedures reports in consecutive years or that is unable to comply with GSP requirements may be deemed ineligible for GSP participation by the Commissioner of Education.
- Clarify GSP award amount calculation.
In addition, the bill provides for an appropriation of $200 million in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Education (DOE) for GSP scholarship awards and an additional $6 million to the DOE for each Scholarship-Funding Organization’s administration of the scholarship program. [NOTE: This is the first of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – SB 15 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and has been placed on the House Special Order Calendar of bills on 2nd Reading for 4/18/17.]
SB 1362 – K-12 Education by Broxson
The bill creates the designation of High-Impact Charter Network (HICN), defines related terms, provides incentives for HICN entities to operate in Florida, and establishes application and review processes for the designation. In addition, the bill:
- Eliminates the requirement for the Department of Education to compare student performance data of charter schools within a school district with public schools within that district, and with the other charter schools in Florida as well as the posting of such information on each charter school’s Internet website.
- Allows a collocated school to receive a school improvement rating if all the schools at the site are eligible for a school improvement rating and do not elect to be graded.
- Replaces statutory reference to the ACT Aspire test with the Preliminary ACT.
[NOTE: This is the first of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 7101 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and has been placed on the House Special Order Calendar of bills on 2nd Reading for 4/18/17.]
SB 1474 – Teacher Certification by Perry
The bill modifies the process for earning temporary educator certificates and renewing professional certificates. Specifically, the bill requires the Florida Department of Education to issue:
- A professional certificate to any applicant who fulfills the statutorily requirements for a professional certificate and completes a professional preparation and education competency program approved by the DOE.
- A temporary certificate to a qualifying applicant within 14 calendar days after the receipt of the request form and electronically notify the applicant’s employee school district or employing private school that the temporary certificate has been issued.
- Requires the DOE to issue an official statement of status of eligibility within 90 calendar days after the stamped receipted date of the completed application. This statement must be provided electronically and specify every method by which an applicant can complete the qualifications for a professional certificate.
- Revises the professional development certification and education competency program to specify a teacher mentorship and induction component; and
- Authorizes charter schools and charter management organizations to provide the program that includes the teacher mentorship and induction component.
[NOTE: This is the first of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 1111 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and has been placed on the House Special Order Calendar of bills on 2nd Reading for 4/18/17.]
SB 1586 – Student Eligibility for Interscholastic Athletic Competition by Garcia
The bill requires the pre-participation physical evaluation form to contain information that advises a student to complete cardiovascular assessment including an electrocardiogram. Additionally, the bill clarifies that licensed practitioners must administer the medical evaluation that a student must satisfactorily pass before participating in interscholastic competition or engaging in any practice, tryout, or other physical activity associated with the student’s’ candidacy for an interscholastic athletic team. [NOTE: This is the first of three committees of reference for this bill. There is no direct House companion bill.]
The Senate Community Affairs Committee will meet (4:00-6:00 pm; 301 SOB) to consider the following items and others:
SB 278 – Local Tax Referenda by Steube
The bill requires any referendum to levy a discretionary sales surtax to be held during a general election or a primary election. If the referendum is held in a primary election, the referendum must be approved by 60% of electors voting on the ballot question. If the referendum is held in a general election, the referendum must be approved by a majority of electors voting on the ballot question. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 139 – is similar and has passed two of three committees of reference.]
SB 914 – Public Meetings by Baxley
The bill creates a new statutory provisions to codify judicial interpretation and application of the terms: de facto meeting, discussion, meeting, official act, and public business. The bill specifies that members of a board may participate in fact-finding exercises or excursion to research public business, and may participate in meetings with a member of the Legislature if:
- The board provides reasonable notice;
- A vote, official act, or an agreement regarding a future action does not occur;
- There is no discussion of public business that occurs; and
- There are appropriate records, minutes, audio recordings, or video recordings made and retained as a public record.
In addition, the bill provides that, if there is a gathering of two or more board members where no official acts are taken and no public business is discussed, then no public notice or access is required. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 919 – is identical but has not been heard in any of three committees of reference.]
The Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee will meet (4:00-6:00 pm; 401 SOB) to consider the following item and others:
SB 856 – Education/Instructional Personnel Contracts by Broxson
The bill clarifies that a district school board must issue contracts on an annual basis to instructional personnel hired on or after July 1, 2011, by specifying that the district school board may not:
- Award an annual contract based on a contingency or condition that is not expressed in s. 1012.335, F.S.; or
- Alter or limit its authority to award or not award an annual contract as provided in s. 1012.335, F.S.
[NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 373 – is identical, has passed the House, and has been received in the Senate.]