As we reported earlier this evening, there appears to be a breakdown in the budget negotiations between House Speaker Corcoran and Senate President Negron. The two leaders have been working to come to agreement on the allocation that would be available to each Budget Conference Committee so that these Committees could then begin to settle the differences between the House and Senate Budget bills. Among several areas of disagreement are policy funding differences relating to the Florida Retirement System, gambling, Medicaid, and – of particular importance to school boards – school property tax millage rates. In addition, Speaker Corcoran is anxious to dedicate additional revenue to bolster state reserves in anticipation of possible state revenue shortfalls that have been projected for future fiscal years. With negotiations over allocations having stalled over the past weekend, Speaker Corcoran has proposed a new House “continuation” budget that holds state spending at current levels with some modest increases in crucial areas. This continuation budget, along with a few revised budget-related bills, will be considered tomorrow morning in the House Appropriations Committee. In terms of K-12 Education spending, this continuation budget provides about $3 million MORE in the FEFP that the previous House budget. The House has released a revised FEFP Funding Summary to accompany the continuation budget that provides more details.
It is important to note that time is quickly running out for meaningful Conference Committee negotiations and final passage of the state budget because the final budget deal must be published by May 2 in order to allow for the constitutionally mandated 72 hour “cooling off” period before it can be formally passed in each chamber by the scheduled end of the Session on Friday, May 5. In a memo, Speaker Corcoran stated that the House remains optimistic that it will reach consensus with the Senate and, although President Negron stated that he had no interest in adopting the House continuation budget, said he would continue to work toward the goal of achieving joint allocations with the House so we can begin the Budget Conference in a timely manner and pass a budget before the close of Session. We will continue to keep you posted of any progress.
Below are links to our report on bills that were under consideration today, including revisions to HB 773 relating to assessments, and the schedule meeting and list of bills that will be up for consideration on Tuesday.
In the House Government Accountability Committee meeting:
HB 843 — Meetings Between Two Members of Board or Commission by Donalds – PASSED; PLACED ON HOUSE CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
The bill authorizes two members of any board or commission, including persons elected or appointed to such board or commission who have not yet taken office, of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision with a total membership of at least five members to meet in private and discuss public business without providing notice of such meeting or recording the meeting. Such meetings are exempt from open meetings requirements if:
- The members do not adopt a resolution or rule to take any other formal action, or agree to do so at a future meeting, at such meeting. A resolution or rule adopted, or any other formal action taken, in violation of this prohibition is void.
- The members do not discuss an appropriation, a contract, or any other public business that involves the direct expenditure of public funds to a private vendor.
- The meeting is not intended to frustrate or circumvent the purpose of the open meetings laws.
The bill provides for repeal of the exemption on October 2, 2022, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature. [NOTE: This was the second of two committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 1004 – is similar but has not been heard in any of three committees of reference.]
In the House Education Committee meeting:
HB 265 – Computer Coding Instruction by Porter – PASSED; PLACED ON HOUSE CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
The bill amends the law to more closely align state policy to the Southern Regional Education Board’s recommendations concerning computer science education. The bill promotes student access to education in computer science and related fields by requiring the Articulation Coordinating Committee to develop recommendations that identify:
- High school courses in computer science, including computer coding and computer programming, which may be used to satisfy state university admissions requirements for math and science.
- Common academic and technical skills needed for students to help meet projected labor market demands in computer science, information technology, and related fields in Florida.
- How middle and high school students, including underrepresented and nontraditional students, can be encouraged to pursue further studies and careers in computer science, information technology, and related fields.
- Secondary course sequences which prepare students to succeed in postsecondary educational programs in computer science, information technology, and related fields.
- Gaps in current policy, curricula, programs, and practices that inhibit students from pursuing postsecondary education and careers in computer science and related fields.
- Appropriate educator qualifications and computer science pedagogy to maintain technologically current instructional knowledge and practices in teacher preparation programs.
- Common definitions for terms related to computer science, including terms such as computer coding and computer programming, for consistent use across the Florida K-20 education system.
The committee must report its recommendations to the BOG and the Legislature by December 31, 2018. In addition, the bill requires the Commissioner to identify high school-level courses that incorporate the computer science standards in the Course Code Directory by June 30, 2018 and requires DOE to provide annual reports to the BOG and the Legislature that identify:
- The courses identified in the Course Code Directory pursuant by the commissioner in accordance with the bill;
- The number of students, by district, including the FLVS, who are enrolled in a course so identified; and
- The number of individuals who hold a valid educator certificate in computer science or a related field.
The bill also requires the state board to consult with the BOG and school districts to develop strategies for:
- Recruiting qualified teachers to provide computer science instruction;
- Updating computer science educator certification requirements;
- Providing appropriate professional development to maintain technologically current instructional knowledge and practices in the school districts; and
- Identifying and streamlining traditional and alternative pathways toward computer science educator certification.
If a student enrolls in an identified course that satisfies any FCS or SUS admission requirements for mathematics, or science, the bill requires the school district to notify the student that he or she should contact any out-of-state or private postsecondary institution to which the student is applying and inquire whether the course credit satisfies any of the institution’s admissions requirements. [NOTE: This is the second of two committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 104 – is comparable and has passed one of two committees of reference. Also note that SB 104 allows students to take computer coding courses of sufficient rigor such that two credits in those courses and the earning of a related industry certification satisfies two credits in sequential foreign language instruction.]
HB 773 – K-12 Student Assessments by M. Diaz — AMENDED; PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill revises and adds to existing provisions relating to assessments and incorporates all or part of several other bills. The bill:
- Deletes provisions requiring the Algebra II EOC assessment to be administered and that certain students take the assessment;
- Requires that all statewide, standardized assessments, including statewide EOC assessments, be delivered in a computer-based format; however, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, the statewide, standardized ELA and mathematics assessments for grades 3 through 6 must be administered in a nonelectronic format;
- Moves the date by which the commissioner must publish the uniform assessment calendar on the DOE’s website from August to January of each year;
- Requires, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, that the grade 3 statewide, standardized ELA assessment, the writing portion of the ELA assessments, and paper-based assessments be administered during a 2-week assessment window that starts no earlier than April 1 each year;
- Requires that computer-based statewide, standardized assessments be administered during a 4-week assessment window that starts no earlier than May 1 each year;
- Requires each school district to administer those assessments no earlier than 4 weeks before the last day of school for the district;
- Requires results from the grade 3 statewide, standardized ELA assessment to be made available no later than May 31 and the results from all other statewide assessments to be made available no later than June 30;
- Requires the results of statewide, standardized ELA and mathematics assessments, including assessment retakes, to be reported to students, parents, and each student’s teacher of record for the subsequent year in an easy-to-read and understandable format and in time to provide useful, actionable information and specifies information that must be included; o Requires that the student learning growth formula be developed by a third party independent of the statewide, standardized assessment administrator and requires the independent third party to verify the suitability statewide assessment results for student learning growth measures;
- Requires the commissioner to provides schools access to individual student learning growth data in a user-friendly format that enables teachers and school administrators to understand, evaluate, and use the data for specified purposes;
- Requires the commissioner to contract for an independent study to determine whether the SAT and ACT may be administered in lieu of the grade 10 statewide, standardized ELA assessment and the Algebra I EOC assessment consistent with federal provisions for locally-selected assessments under the Every Student Succeeds Act;
- Requires the commissioner, beginning with the 2019-2020 school year and every 3 years thereafter, to publish on the DOE’s website each statewide, standardized assessment and statewide EOC assessment, as well as materials to help the public interpret the published assessment information. The commissioner may determine the schedule for publishing assessments during the 3-year period; however, the initial publication must include the grade 3 ELA and mathematics assessments, the grade 10 ELA assessment, and the Algebra I EOC assessment.
- Provides for appropriations related to the assessment study, reporting of student assessment results, the transition of certain statewide, standardized assessments to a paper-based format, and the provisions for student learning growth.
- Provides that a student may satisfy the online course requirement for a standard high school diploma by completing a blended learning course;
- Removes the prior year in public school requirement and provides that all K-12 students, including home education and private school students, are eligible for both full-time and part-time virtual instruction options.
- Removes passage of an online content assessment, by which the student demonstrates skills and competency in locating information and applying technology for instructional purposes, as an option to fulfill the online course requirement.
- Provides that a school board member is permitted to visit district operated schools without an appointment;
- Provides that, except for a school district or a consortium of school districts that implements an instructional materials program, each district school board shall use the annual instructional materials allocation only for the purchase of instructional materials that align with state standards and are included on the state-adopted list, except up to 50% of the annual allocation may be used for:
- *The purchase of library and reference books and nonprint materials;
- *The purchase of other materials having intellectual content which assist in the instruction of a subject or course;
- *The repair and renovation of textbooks and library books and replacements for items which were part of previously purchased instructional materials;
- Revises educator certification, professional development, and teacher preparation program requirements as follows:
- Provides that a temporary certificate holder who completes a DOE approved program and earns a highly effective rating will qualify for a renewable professional certificate without having to complete additional classwork or pass the Professional Education Test.
- Allows charter schools and charter management organizations to offer a professional development certification and educator competence program and requires the mentorship and induction component of the program to, at a minimum, provide weekly opportunities for mentoring and induction activities. The mentorship and induction activities must be provided for a teacher’s first year in the program and may be provided until the teacher attains his or her professional certificate.
- Requires the DOE to adopt standards for approving a professional development certification and educator competence program, including the mentorship and induction component.
- Allows mentoring activities, including serving as a mentor, to count towards a teacher’s inservice requirements for certification renewal.
- Requires professional development activities to provide training to mentors. The training must include components on teacher development, peer coaching, time management, and other related topics as determined by the DOE.
- Requires model professional development programs disseminated by the DOE to include effective mentorship activities to new teachers and training to mentors.
- Streamlines the temporary certificate application process and revises provisions related to the expiration of a temporary certificate.
- Revises core curricula requirements for certain teacher preparation programs to include certain reading instruction and interventions;
- Requires certain educator preparation institutes to provide evidence of specified reading instruction as a condition of program approval and continued approval; amending s. 1012.585, F.S.; 382 Revises requirements for renewal of professional teaching certificates;
- Authorizes the DOE to recommend consolidation of endorsement areas and requirements for endorsements for teacher certificates;
- Revises duties and requirements for implementation of the School Community Professional Development Act and revises activities to include specified training relating to a professional development certification and education competency program;
- Revises requirements for school district professional development systems.
- Requires DOE to issue a competitive solicitation for a contract to conduct a comprehensive study of states with high-performing students in grades 6 through 8 in reading and mathematics, based on the states’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and report recommendations to improve middle school performance December 2017;
- Deletes the requirement for middle grade students to complete the career and education planning course;
- Removes the annual teacher bonus limits for IB, AICE, AP and CAPE courses and requires the district to allocate at least 80% of the AICE exam bonus funds to the school program that generates the funds;
- Provides that a charter school may be exempt from the controlled open enrollment requirements if the school is open to any student covered in an interdistrict agreement and any student residing in the school district in which the charter school is located;
- Provides that, if the sponsor fails to act on the application of a High Performing Charter School within 90 (rather than 60) days after receipt, the application is deemed approved;
- Provides that a high-performing charter school may establish more than one charter school within the state in any year if it operates in the area of a persistently low-performing school and serves students from that school;
- Streamlines the process for the application and replication of high-performing charter schools;
- Authorizes the use of district capital outlay millage revenue for payout of sick leave and annual leave accrued as of June 30, 2017 by individuals who are no longer employed by a school district that transfers to a charter school operator all day-to-day classroom instruction responsibility for all full-time equivalent students; this provisions expires July 1, 2018;
- Provides that strategies to assist schools identified for differentiated accountability must address, among other things, alignment across grade levels to improve background 1654 knowledge in social studies, science, and the arts.
[NOTE: The Committee took up a 76-page strike all amendment that was further amended. The resulting omnibus bill includes all or part of the following bills: HB 549 relating assessments, HB 833 relating to virtual instruction, HB 989 relating to instructional materials, HB 1111 relating to educator certification and professional development, HB 293 relating to middle schools, HB 827 relating to bonuses awarded for AP, IB , AICE, and CAPE programs, HB 7101 relating to charter schools. In addition to the provisions from these bills, the amendment adds provisions relating to payout of sick and annual leave for certain employees and revises strategies for assisting schools identified for differentiated accountability. This summary captures most, if not all, of the provisions for the amended bill. This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 926 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the Senate Calendar on 2nd Reading. In addition, another House bill — HB 549 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
In the House Judiciary Committee meeting:
HB 697 — Federal Immigration Enforcement by Metz – PASSED; PLACED ON HOUSE SPECIAL ORDER CALENDAR FOR 4/27/17
The bill creates the “Rule of Law Adherence Act” (Act) to require state and local governments and law enforcement agencies, including their officials and employees, to support and cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Specifically, the bill:
- Prohibits a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency from having a law, policy, practice, procedure, or custom which impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency on immigration enforcement;
- Prohibits any restriction on a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency’s ability to use, maintain, or exchange immigration information for certain enumerated purposes; Requires a state or local governmental entity and law enforcement agency to comply with and support the enforcement of federal immigration law;
- Provides procedures for a law enforcement agency and court to follow when an arrested person cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States or is subject to an immigration detainer;
- Requires any sanctuary policies currently in effect be repealed within 90 days of the effective date of the Act;
- Authorizes a board of county commissioners to enact an ordinance to recover costs for complying with an immigration detainer;
- Requires an official or employee of a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency to report a violation of the Act to the Attorney General or state attorney, failure to report a violation may result in suspension or removal from office;
- Authorizes the Attorney General or a state attorney to seek an injunction against a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency that violates the Act;
- Requires a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency that violates the Act to pay a civil penalty of at least $1,000 but no more than $5,000 for each day the policy was in effect;
- Creates a civil cause of action for a person injured by the conduct of an alien unlawfully present in the United States against a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency whose violation of the Act contributed to the person’s injury;
- Prohibits the expenditure of public funds to reimburse or defend a public official or employee who violates the Act; and
- Suspends state grant funding eligibility for 5 years for a state government or local government entity or law enforcement agency that violates the Act.
[NOTE: This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 786 – is similar but has not been heard in any of four committees of reference.]
In the Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee meeting:
SB 856 – Education/Contracts for Instructional Personnel by Broxson – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
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.
In addition, the bill specifies that the provisions enumerated above only apply to collective bargaining agreements entered into or renewed by a district school board on or after this legislation is enacted. Accordingly, instructional personnel hired after the effective date of this bill may not be awarded an annual contract based on a contingency or condition that is not currently authorized in law. [NOTE: Today’s amendment provides that the provisions apply to all school districts except those operating under a home rule charter as provided in s. 125.011(1), F.S. This exempts Miami-Dade County. This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 373 – is identical, has passed all committees of reference, has passed the House, and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.]
SB 7030 – Retirement by Governmental Oversight and Accountability – SUBMITTED AS A COMMITTEE BILL
The bill revises and adds to provisions of the Florida Retirement System. The bill:
- Changes the default retirement plan election from the pension plan to the investment plan for employees hired on or after January 1, 2018 who do not affirmatively select a retirement plan prior to the last business day of the fifth month following the member’s month of hire. This change does not impact the ability of a new employee to choose between the pension plan and the investment plan.
- Authorizes renewed membership in FRS for certain retirees of the investment plan, Senior Management Optional Annuity Program (SMSOAP), State University System Optional Retirement Plan (SUSORP) or the State Community College System Optional Retirement Plan (SCCSORP) and requires that certain retirees who are employed on or after July 1, 2017 become renewed members in the investment plan, SUSORP or the SCCSORP, as applicable, to the renewed member. Such renewed member will be a member of the appropriate membership class in the investment plan, unless employed in a position eligible for participation in the SUSORP or the SCCSORP, in which case the retiree will become a renewed member of the applicable optional retirement program.
- Effective July 1, 2017, closes the SMSOAP to new participants.
- Effective July 1, 2017, provides survivor benefits for the spouse or child(ren) of an investment plan member whose death was in the line of duty since July 1, 2002. It provides the same survivor benefits to the spouse and children of such member as those currently provided for pension plan members who are killed in the line of duty. The investment plan survivor benefits program is funded by additional employer-paid contributions to the survivor benefits account of the FRS Trust Fund.
- Does not provide renewed FRS membership for any pension plan retirees and:
- Prohibits employees and employers from paying funds into a renewed member’s investment plan or optional retirement program account for the period July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2017 when the FRS was closed to renewed membership;
- Requires employers and renewed members to make applicable membership class contributions to the renewed member’s FRS Investment Plan account;
- Provides that creditable service does not accrue for a renewed member’s employment in a regularly established position with a covered FRS employer from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2017 and prohibits the payment of past service in the investment plan;
- Allows renewed investment plan members who have not accrued the maximum health insurance subsidy to earn additional credit towards the health insurance subsidy benefit;
- Provides that renewed members must meet the vesting requirements of the plan in which they become renewed members;
- Provides that renewed members are ineligible to receive disability benefits; and,
- Provides that renewed member is not eligible to switch to the pension plan once renewed membership in the investment plan or optional retirement program is effectuated.
- Provides that any condition or impairment of the health of a firefighter employed full-time by a state or local government which is caused by multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer or testicular cancer and results in total or partial disability or death is presumed to have been accidental and to have been suffered in the line of duty unless the contrary is shown by competent evidence.
- Provides the allocations from the Florida Retirement System Contributions Clearing Trust Fund to provide in-line-of-duty death benefits and the required employer contribution rate to fund the benefit changes provided in the bill.
[NOTE: This is a Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) offered for consideration. There is no direct House companion bill, but HB 5007 addresses the Florida Retirement System and is included among the budget conference package.]
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 House Appropriations Committee will meet (8:00-10:00 am, 212 KOB) to consider the following items and others:
[NOTE: Each of these Proposed Committee Bills (PCBs) are components of the revised House “continuation” budget package discussed above.]
The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet (9:00 am-1:00 pm; 412 KOB) to consider the following items and others:
SB 360 – Middle School Study by Stargel
The bill requires DOE to issue a competitive bid for a private vendor to conduct a comprehensive study of states with high-performing students in grades 6 through 8 in reading and mathematics, based on the states’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The DOE must submit a report on the findings of the study and make recommendations to improve middle school student performance to the Governor, the State Board of Education, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 2017.
- Specifically, the study must review, at a minimum:
- Academic expectations and instructional strategies.
- Attendance policies and student mobility issues.
- Teacher quality.
- Middle school administrator leadership and performance.
- Parental and community involvement.
[NOTE: The Committee is expected to take up a PCB that is likely to better align the bill with the House version. This short summary reflects the provisions of the PCB. This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 293 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference and has passed the House.]
SB 468 — Voluntary Prekindergarten Education by Stargel
The bill revises provisions related to the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education (VPK) program and duties of the Just Read! Florida Office. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires the Just Read, Florida! to train Voluntary Prekindergarten through grade 3 teachers, reading coaches, and school principals on effective research-based instructional strategies.
- Requires the Office of Early Learning (OEL) to determine eligibility for enrollment and reenrollment in the school year VPK program.
- Requires each early learning coalition (ELC) to coordinate with the OEL to assign student identification numbers to each student who enrolls in the program.
- Clarifies that the Department of Education (DOE) must adopt a single statewide kindergarten readiness screening that is a direct assessment of early literacy and numeracy skills.
- Requires private prekindergarten providers and public schools in the VPK program to provide parents with the results of the pre- and post- assessment within 10 days after the administering the assessment.
- Requires the results of the pre- and post- assessments to be reported at the aggregate level, distributed to the respective ELCs and school districts, and displayed on the OEL’s website within 30 days after the administration of the assessment.
- Authorizes a child who is at risk of not attaining the performance standards specified in law to reenroll, at the request of the child’s parent, in one of the school-year programs offered by a provider that has met the adopted minimum readiness rate provided in law for the subsequent year.
[NOTE: The Committee is expected to take up a PCB and this short summary reflects the provisions of the PCB. This is the third of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 757 – is similar and has passed one of three committees of reference.]
SB 880 – Government Accountability by Stargel
The bill amends statutes to enhance government accountability and auditing, based on recommendations noted in recent reports by the Auditor General. Of interest to school boards, the bill:
- Specifies that the Governor or Commissioner of Education, or designee, may notify the Legislative Auditing Committee of an entity’s failure to comply with certain auditing and financial reporting requirements;
- Provides definitions for the terms “abuse,” “fraud,” and “waste;”
- Requires each agency, the judicial branch, the Justice Administrative Commission, state attorneys, public defenders, criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, capital collateral regional counsel, the Guardian Ad Litem program, local governmental entities, charter schools, school districts, Florida College System institutions, and state universities to establish and maintain internal controls;
- Limits the amount that may be reimbursed per day for state agency and judicial branch employee lodging expenses for travel under certain circumstances to $150;
- Provides that the Department of Financial Services may request additional information from local government entities when preparing its annual verified report;
- Requires a local governmental entity, district school board, charter school, or charter technical career center, Florida College System board of trustees, or university board of trustees to respond to audit recommendations under certain circumstances;
- Requires an independent certified public accountant conducting an audit of a local governmental entity to determine, as part of the audit, whether the entity’s annual financial report is in agreement with the entity’s audited financial statements;
- Revises the composition of auditor selection committees;
- Requires completion of an annual financial audit of the Florida Virtual School; and
- Prohibits a board or commission from requiring a member of the public to provide an advance written copy of his or her testimony or comments as a precondition of being given the opportunity to be heard.
[NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 479 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and has passed the House.]
SB 1710 – Education/Civic Literacy by Stargel
The bill designates the month of September as “American Founders’ Month” and authorizes the Governor to issue a proclamation urging all civic, fraternal, and religious organizations and public and private educational institutions to recognize, observe, and celebrate the month. Specifically, the bill:
- Encourages all public schools to observe “American Founders’ Month” with appropriate instruction and activities.
- Establishes civic literacy as a priority of Florida’s K-20 education system.
- Requires the Just Read, Florida! Office to develop and provide access to sequenced, content-rich programming, instructional practices, and resources to increase students’ core knowledge and literacy skills including student attainment of state standards for social studies, science, and the arts.
- Requires students initially entering a Florida College System institution or state university in 2018-2019 and thereafter, to demonstrate civic literacy through successful completion of a course or by achieving a passing score on an assessment adopted in rule by the State Board of Education or in regulation by the Board of Governors, as applicable.
[NOTE: The Committee is expected to take up a PCB and this short summary reflects the provisions of the PCB. This is the third of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 7057 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and has passed the House.]
SB 1552 — Best & Brightest Teacher & Principal Award / School Improvement by Simmons
The bill establishes the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Scholar Award Program (Award Program) to recognize the contributions of teachers and principals to student success and performance outcomes. The bill provides eligibility criteria for a full-time classroom teacher and a full-time school administrator and for a newly hired full-time classroom teacher and full-time school administrator to qualify for a one-time hiring bonus. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires that to qualify for the Award Program a teacher or an administrator must:
- Be employed on an annual contract or probationary contract;
- Participate in the school district’s performance salary schedule;
- Meet one of the achievement requirements specified in the bill; and
- Meet one of the performance requirements specified in the bill, which include:
- For existing teachers and administrators, a “highly effective” rating or commitment to working in a low-performing school for 3 years and a “highly effective” rating for 2 out of 3 years.
- For newly hired teachers and administrators, graduation from or completion of a specified undergraduate program with a 3.0 grade point average, and commitment to working for three years in a Florida public school or critical teacher shortage area.
- Provides that, to receive an Award Program scholarship, a full-time classroom teacher or full-time administrator must:
- Be employed on an annual contract or probationary contract11 and participate in the school district’s performance salary schedule.
- Meet one of the following achievement requirements:
- For a classroom teacher, a score at or above the 90th percentile on the Florida Teacher Certification Examination in a subject that he or she is teaching.
- For a school administrator, a score at or above the 90th percentile on the Florida Educational Leadership Examination.
- For a classroom teacher or school administrator, a composite score at or above the 80th percentile on either the SAT or the ACT based on the National Percentile Ranks in effect when the classroom teacher or school administrator took the assessment.
- For a classroom teacher or school administrator, a composite score on the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT at or above a score adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE).13
- For a classroom teacher or school administrator, a cumulative undergraduate or graduate grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, as verified on the teacher’s or administrator’s official final college transcript.
- Meet one of the following performance requirements:
- Received a rating of highly effective in the school year immediately preceding the year in which the scholarship will be awarded.
- If he or she works in a low-performing school or a school that was designated by the department as low-performing within the previous 2 years and commits to working at the school for at least 3 years, must have been received a rating of highly effective in the school year immediately preceding the first year in which the scholarship is awarded and maintain a highly effective evaluation rating in at least 2 of every 3 annual performance evaluations, based on a rolling 3-year period.
- Creates a separate eligibility category for newly hired classroom teachers and school administrators. A newly hired teacher and school administrator, who has not been evaluated, is not eligible for the Award Program scholarship but may receive a one-time hiring bonus of up to $10,000 if he or she:
- Is employed on an annual contract or probationary contract15 and participates in the school district’s performance salary schedule.16
- Meets one of the following achievement requirements:
- For a classroom teacher or school administrator, a composite score on the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT at or above a score adopted by the SBE.
- Meets one of the following performance requirements:
- Recipient of the Florida Prepaid Tuition Scholarship Program18 who graduated with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and commit, pursuant to SBE rule, to working in a Florida public school for at least 3 years.
- Completed the college reach-out program19 and graduated with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, and commit, pursuant to SBE rule, to working in a Florida public school for at least 3 years.
- Graduate from an approved Florida teacher preparation program20 at a Florida college or university, with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, and commit, pursuant to SBE rule, to working in a critical teacher shortage area21 at a Florida public school for at least 3 years.
- Requires that a scholarship in the amount provided in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) be awarded to every eligible classroom teacher and administrator. If the number of eligible classroom teachers and school administrators exceeds the total appropriation authorized in the GAA, the bill requires the department to prorate the per-scholar scholarship award amount, except that prior to the distribution of funds, the following priorities apply:
- Classroom teachers and school administrators who commit, pursuant to SBE rule, to working in a low-performing school and meet the specified eligibility criteria, must receive an award equal to a full scholarship award amount.
- Newly hired classroom teachers and school administrators who commit, pursuant to SBE rule, to working in a Florida public school and specified eligibility criteria must receive a one-time hiring bonus of up to $10,000.
- Establishes the following schedule:
- By November 1, an eligible classroom teacher or school administrator must submit an official record of his or her achievement of the specified eligibility criteria. After a classroom teacher or school administrator is deemed eligible by the school district, including a teacher deemed eligible for the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program in fiscal years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, such classroom teacher or school administrator remains eligible as long as he or she maintains employment by the school district and meets other specified requirements.
- Annually, by December 1, each school district must submit to the Department of Education (DOE) the number of classroom teachers or school administrators who qualify for the scholarship.
- Annually, by February 1, the DOE must distribute scholarship funds to each school district.
- Annually, by April 1, each school district must distribute the scholarship awards to eligible classroom teachers and school administrators.
- Requires the SBE to expeditiously adopt rules to implement the Award Program.
With regard to School Improvement and Education Accountability, the bill:
- Expands the schools that must implement an Early Warning System (EWS) to schools that serve any students in grades 1 through 8 and clarifies that the EWS indicators include:
- A course failure in English Language Arts or math during any grading period; and
- A substantial reading deficiency for a student in grades 1 through 3.
- Requires the school’s child study team to consult with the student’s parent to determine appropriate intervention strategies for the student when a student exhibits two or more EWS indicators. Provides that the data and information relating to the student’s EWS indicators must be used by the team to inform any intervention strategies provided to the student and requires that, beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, each school’s EWS must include specified data;
- Requires school districts to develop a school improvement plan for each school in the district with a school grade of “D” or “F.”
- Requires the SBE rule regarding a differentiated matrix of intervention and support strategies for assisting public schools to define and clearly differentiate among:
- A “school-in-need”, which means a school with a grade of “D,” or which is in danger of earning a grade of “F,” and which is in need of intervention and support.
- A “turnaround school”, which means a school with a grade of “F” or two consecutive grades below a “C,” and which is in need of intensive intervention and support, and which is implementing a district-managed turnaround or a different turnaround option.
- A “persistently low-performing school”, which means a turnaround school that has been subject to a differentiated matrix of intensive intervention and support strategies for more than 3 consecutive years or a turnaround school that was closed within 2 years after submitting a notice of intent. The bill specifies that the SBE rule must define low-performing school to include, at a minimum, any school meeting the requirements of differentiated accountability.
- Modifies turnaround options available to school districts by adding new options and revising existing options, giving priority to the first three new options. Section 4 adds the following first three options:
- Implement an extended school day with at least 1 hour of additional learning time.
- Enter into a formal agreement with a nonprofit organization with tax exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code to implement an integrated student support service model that provides students and families with access to specified wrap-around services. Districts implementing this option may be eligible for additional funding as provided in the General Appropriations Act. The wrap-around services must include, but are not limited to health services, after-school programs, drug prevention programs, college and career readiness, and dood and clothing banks.
- Implement a principal autonomy program school under a performance based contract and in accordance with proposal elements, criteria, and timelines established by the SBE and specifically tailored for a turnaround school. A school district using this option for its turnaround school is eligible to participate in, and receive the benefits of, the principal autonomy program for only the turnaround school.
- Contract as a conversion charter school and deletes the existing hybrid turnaround option. However, school districts are authorized to implement a combination of the specified turnaround options.
- Modifies an existing requirement for the Commissioner of Education to assign a community assessment team to a low-performing school by specifying that such team must be assigned to each school district or governing board with a turnaround school. The team must include intervention and support strategies in the recommendations that the team makes to the school board or the governing board, as applicable, and to the SBE.
- Accelerates, by at least one school year, the timing and implementation of specific turnaround options by requiring a turnaround school to immediately, during its first full year after receiving the designation:
- Implement required intensive intervention and support strategies.
- Provide to DOE the negotiated memorandum of understanding with the bargaining agent in educational emergency circumstances, described below.
- Provide to DOE, by September 1, a district-managed turnaround plan that has been submitted to the SBE for approval and must be implemented for the remainder of the current school year and continue for one additional school year.
- The bill also specifies educational emergency conditions under which a district school board may negotiate provisions of its contract with appropriate bargaining units that must result in a memorandum of understanding regarding personnel decisions. The district school board is authorized to negotiate in cases in which one or more schools in the district have a grade of “D” or “F” and permits a district school board, beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, to negotiate in cases in which one or more schools in the district are currently subject to, or in danger of being subject to, a differentiated matrix of intervention and support strategies as a turnaround school consistent with Florida law.
[NOTE: This bill was amended last week to add provisions relating to school improvement. The Committee is expected to take up a PCB that will revise these provisions. This short summary reflects the provisions of the PCB. This is the third of four committees of reference for this bill. There is no direct House companion bill, but HB 7069 addresses the Best & Brightest Scholar Awards and has passed the House as part of the House budget package. In addition, HB 5105 addresses Schools of Hope and is also part of the House budget package.]
SB 808 – Maximum Class Size by Mayfield
The bill revises the maximum class size penalty calculations for public schools. Specifically, the bill:
- Removes the class size penalty calculation exemption to the school-wide average for charter schools, district-operated schools of choice, district innovation schools of technology, and schools participating in the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative because the penalty calculation for all schools will be calculated at the school-wide average.
- Revises the method for calculating the penalty for schools that fail to comply with the class size requirements by calculating elements of the formula at the school average instead of at the classroom level.
- Repeals an increase in the penalty calculation that began with the 2014-2015 fiscal year, by returning the penalty calculation to 50 percent of the base student allocation rather than 100 percent.
- Exempts a school district that has not complied with the class size limits specified in law (based on the 2017-2018 October student survey) and has timely submitted their certified plan that describes future actions that will be taken for compliance from the class size penalty for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 fiscal years. Such school districts have until the 2018-2019 October student survey to comply with the class size limit requirements. Such school districts must provide an updated plan by February 1, 2019, to the Commissioner of Education.
[NOTE: This is the third of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 591 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and has passed the House.]
SB 1468 – Education by Galvano
The bill codifies responsibilities for the Auditor General, extends the date by which Florida Polytechnic University must meet statutory criteria, expands the authority of the Commissioner of Education, and establishes the Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program. Specifically, the bill:
- Codifies the requirement for the Auditor General to conduct financial audits of accounts and records of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.
- Codifies the December 31, 2017, deadline by which the Florida Polytechnic University must meet the criteria established in law relating to accreditation; development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs; and operational framework.
- Authorizes the Commissioner of Education to coordinate, in the event of an emergency, with school districts, Florida College System institutions, and the satellite offices of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division of Blind Services to assess their needs for resources to enable such entities to reopen as soon as possible after considering the health, safety, and welfare of students and clients.
- Establishes the Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program in the Department of Education for a period of three school years to assist selected school districts in implementing comprehensive music education programs for students in kindergarten through grade 2.
[NOTE: This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. There is no direct House companion bill but some provisions are also addressed in bills in the House budget package.]
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 second of three committees of reference for this bill. There is no direct House companion bill but some provisions are also addressed in bills in the House budget package.]
The House will be in Session (10:30 am-completion; House Chamber) to consider the following items and others:
Bills on 2nd Reading
HB 7065 – Local Government Fiscal Transparency by Ways & Means
The bill creates a new section of law — the “Local Government Fiscal Transparency Act” – to promote the fiscal transparency of local governments, including school boards, in their use of public funds. The bill:
- Requires easy public access to local government governing boards’ voting records related to tax increases and issuance of tax-supported debt (phased in over 4 years). The bill also requires easy online access to property tax TRIM notices and a 4-year history of property tax rates and amounts at the parcel level (phased in over 3 years). In addition, a 4-year history of property tax rates and total revenue generated at the jurisdiction level must be provided on government websites.
- Requires additional public meetings and expands public notice requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes, and new long-term, tax-supported debt issuances. Public notices for proposed tax increases must contain information regarding the rate and total annual amount of revenue expected from a tax increase, the annual additional revenue expressed as a percent of annual general fund revenue, detailed explanation of intended uses of the levy, and an indication of whether or not the tax proceeds will be used to secure debt. Public notices for proposed new, long-term debt issuance must disclose the total lifetime costs of the debt, annual debt service, and effects of the new debt on a government’s debt affordability measures.
- Requires local governments to conduct and consider a debt affordability analysis prior to approving the issuance of new, long-term tax-supported debt. The analysis would consist, at a minimum, of calculating a debt affordability ratio for the most recent five years and at least two projected years to gauge the effects of the proposed new debt issuance on the government’s debt service to revenue profile. The debt affordability ratio is the annual debt service for outstanding tax-supported debt divided by total annual revenues available to pay debt service on outstanding debt.
- Requires the auditor to report whether or not the local government is in compliance with the provisions of the new “Local Government Fiscal Transparency Act” and the Auditor General must request evidence of corrective action from local governments found not to be in compliance with the Act. Local governments must provide evidence that corrective action has been initiated within 45 days and evidence of completion within 180 days of such request. The Auditor General must report to the Legislative Auditing Committee local governments that do not take corrective action.
- Revises the local government reporting requirements for economic development incentives. It requires each county and municipality to report to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research whether the incentive was provided directly to an individual business or by another entity on behalf of the local government and the source of local dollars, and any state or federal dollars obligated for the incentive. The bill also revises the classes of economic development incentives. It requires reporting on financial incentives; general assistance, services, and support; and business recruitment, retention, or expansion efforts.
[NOTE: There is no Senate companion bill.]
HB 139 – Local Tax Referenda by Ingoglia
The bill requires any referendum to levy a local government discretionary sales surtax, including a school infrastructure surtax, to be held during a general election or a primary election. Such a referendum shall be held
- At a primary election and requires the approval of at least 60% of the voters voting on the ballot question for passage if the sales surtax is not revenue neutral;
- At a primary election and requires the approval of a majority of the voters voting on the ballot question if the sales surtax is revenue neutral; or
- At a general election and requires the approval of a majority of the voters voting on the ballot question for passage.
The bill defines the term “revenue neutral” to mean the amount of revenue collected from the discretionary sales surtax shall be offset by a concurrent reduction in ad valorem taxes, discretionary sales surtax, or other taxes greater than or equal to the amount of revenue projected to be raised by the local government discretionary sales surtax in its first year of collection. A county or school district proposing to levy a revenue neutral sales surtax must publish, at least twice, a notice of its intent to levy a surtax. In addition, the bill provides that a county or school district which levies a revenue neutral sales surtax may not increase the tax concurrently reduced for 3 years. [NOTE: The Senate companion bill – SB 278 — is similar and has passed two of three committees of reference.]
HB 833 – Student Eligibility for Virtual Instruction by Sullivan
The bill removes the prior year in public school requirement and provides that all K-12 students, including home education and private school students, are eligible for both full-time and part-time virtual instruction options. The bill removes passage of an online content assessment, by which the student demonstrates skills and competency in locating information and applying technology for instructional purposes, as an option to fulfill the online course requirement. The bill also provides a student the option of taking either an online course or a blended learning course to satisfy the requirements for a standard high school diploma. [NOTE: The provisions of this bill have been amended onto HB 773 (see above). The Senate companion bill – SB 692 — is similar but has not been heard in any of three committees of reference.]
HB 1391 – Home Education by Eisnaugle
- Requires a parent’s notice of intent to provide home education to their child(ren) include the student’s full legal name and provides that the notice is prima facie evidence of the validity of the provided information;
- Authorizes school districts to provide a home education student access to career and technical courses and programs;
- Authorizes school districts to offer industry certifications, national assessments and statewide, standardized assessments to a home education student;
- Prohibits a district school superintendent from requiring evidence of a child’s age if the child meets regular attendance requirements by attending certain educational institutions or programs;
- Limits the documentation a school district can require from a home education student;
- Exempts a home education program student from the grade point average requirement for admission to a dual enrollment program if the student meets the minimum score on a college placement test;
- Exempts dual enrollment students from paying postsecondary institution technology fees and explicitly exempts public school, private school or home education dual enrollment students from payment of registration, tuition, technology and laboratory fees; and
- Clarifies that private school and a home education program students are not required to reimburse tuition for dual enrollment.
[NOTE: The Senate companion bill – SB 1556 — is similar but has not been heard in any of three committees of reference.]
HB 1281 – Department of Management Services by Albritton
The bill creates the Statewide Procurement Efficiency Task Force, which includes a school board member, for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness and value of state and local procurement laws and policies to the taxpayers of the state and determining where inconsistencies in such laws and policies exist. The bill requires the task force to submit a final report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by July 1, 2018. Such report must, at a minimum, include recommendations for consideration by the Legislature to promote procurement efficiency, streamline procurement policies, establish best management practices, and encourage increased use of state term contracts. The bill provides that the task force terminates on December 31, 2018. [NOTE: The Senate companion bill – SB 1540 — is comparable and has passed two of three committees of reference.]
The Senate Rules Committee will meet (2:00-6:00 pm; 110 SOB) to consider the following items and others:
SB 1622 – School Bus Safety by Passidomo
The bill creates the “Cameron Mayhew Act” to require a driver who illegally passes a stopped school bus resulting in death or serious bodily injury of another person to:
- Serve 120 community service hours in a trauma center or hospital.
- Participate in a victim’s impact panel or attend a Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) approved driver improvement course that relates to the rights of vulnerable road users relative to vehicles on the roadway.
The bill also imposes a $1,500 fine, a 1-year driver license suspension, and two additional points, for a total of 6 points added to a person’s driver license. [NOTE: This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 1239 – is identical, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Special Order Calendar for 4/27/17.]
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 third 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.]