In a series of floor sessions in March, the full Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) trimmed down its original list of proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution from more than 100 to 24 – 5 of which are of primary interest to school boards. The proposals have now been referred to the CRC Style & Drafting Committee which began work today to consider recent amendments, to group – and perhaps combine — the proposals by topic, and to draft ballot summaries for each. The CRC Style and Drafting Committee will continue this work throughout this week.
On Monday, we issued a CRC Action Alert stressing the importance of contacting all of the CRC members to let them know your position on the proposals that will effect education. Today, we ask that you give priority to contacting the members of the CRC Style & Drafting Committee AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and specifically express your concerns about Proposal 43 – School Board Member Term Limits and Proposal 71 — Authority to Operate, Control, and Supervise Public Schools. We have been told that the Committee members may not have time this week to review emails, but they must clear their phone messages each day, so please CALL, rather than email, when possible.
To Assist You in Your Advocacy:
- Click HERE to access the members and contact information of the CRC Style & Drafting Committee
- Click HERE to access our summary and key points for Proposal 43 relating to School Board Member Term Limits
- Click HERE to access our summary and key points for Proposal 71 relating to the Authority to Operate, Control, and Supervise Public Schools
- Click HERE to access the list of ALL CRC members (Click on each name to access phone numbers and email addresses.)
- Click HERE to access our chart of education related proposals. (Click on the links to the proposal number, sponsor, and text for more information.)
- Click HERE to access the CRC Style & Drafting Committee meeting packet for Tuesday, April 3.
- Click HERE to access our Florida CRC webpage.
- You may watch this week’s CRC Style & Drafting Committee meetings, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, on the Florida Channel.
In addition to this report on the Constitution Revision Commission, please click on the links below for important updates on the outcome of the 2018 Legislative Session and on recent federal funding news.
FSBA is in the process of conducting a series of 2018 Legislative Session Review Workshops and Webinars to provide our members a comprehensive analysis of education appropriations and detailed summaries of the major education related bills that were approved during the 2018 Legislative Session. Please click HERE to access our webpage with more information about these events.
We have also published our annual FSBA Legislative Session Summary which includes our education budget analysis and major bill summaries. In addition to being included in our Session Summary, we have also posted our summaries for the two most significant bills — SB 7026 – Public Safety and HB 7055 – Education – separately so that you may access them more quickly. These items are all posted on our 2018 Legislative Session page.
Near the end of March, Congress approved a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 spending bill to bring the fiscal year 2018 spending process to a close. The spending bill provides a $2.6 billion increase for the U.S. Department of Education, including the following funding levels:
Major K-12 Formula Programs
- ESSA, Title I: $15.7 billion ($300 million increase)
- ESSA, Title II: $2 billion (level funding)
- ESSA, Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment: $1.1 billion ($700 million increase). The program support safe and healthy students, including school mental health services, bullying and harassment prevention, mentoring and school counseling, and training for school personnel.
- IDEA State Grants: $12.2 billion ($275 million increase)
- Perkins Career and Technical Education: $1.19 billion ($75 million increase). In addition to the funding allocated for the Perkins CTE program through the U.S. Department of Education, Congress appropriated funding for related programs under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Training Administration that includes $2.8 billion for job training grants to states, $89.5 million for YouthBuild, and $145 million for apprenticeship grants.
Other Key K-12 Programs
- Teacher Quality Partnerships: $43.09 million (level funding)
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $1.212 billion ($20 million increase)
- State Assessments: $378 million ($8.9 million increase)
- Education, Innovation and Research Grants: $120 million ($20 million increase)
- Supporting Effective Educator Development: $75 million, ($10 million increase)
- School Safety National Activities: $90 million, which is a $22 million increase above the FY2017 level
- Office for Civil Rights: $117 million ($8.5 million increase)
- Statewide Family Engagement Centers: $10 million (new funding)
- Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems: $32.28 million (level funding)
Early Learning and Care (Department of Health and Human Services)
- Preschool Development Grants: $250 million (level funding)
- Child Care and Development Block Grants: $5.226 billion ($2.37 billion increase)
- Head Start: $9.863 billion ($610 million increase)
Child Nutrition (Department of Agriculture)
- Child Nutrition Program: $24.1 billion ($1.4 billion increase)
- School Breakfast Program Equipment Grants: $30 million ($5 million increase)
- Demonstration Projects (Summer EBT): $28 million ($5 million increase)
In addition, the spending bill includes notable new policy provisions with implications for school districts such as the following:
Stop School Violence Act: The Bureau of Justice Assistance (Department of Justice) is authorized to make grants to States, units of local government, and Indian tribes to support evidence-based programs, violence prevention efforts, and anonymous reporting systems. Funds may also be used to support physical security upgrades for schools, like “metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures.” Sub-awards may be made to school districts, non profit organizations and other units of local government or tribal organizations. The bill re-allocates $75 million from the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (DoJ) to the SSVA. Additionally, the funding allocation of $1.1 billion noted above for ESSA Title IV grants for Student Support and Academic Enrichment can be used by states and school districts as a resource for school safety. Among the eligible uses of this program is supporting safe and healthy students with comprehensive school mental health, drug and violence prevention, and training on trauma-informed practices.
Rural Utility Service Broadband Pilot: The bill authorizes the Rural Utility Service (Department of Agriculture) to launch a $600 million distance learning, telemedicine broadband program. The bill notes that the funding should be prioritized to areas currently lacking access to broadband service, and investments in broadband shall consider any technology that best serves the goals of broadband expansion.
In other federal funding news, Secretary DeVos released the application for state educational agencies to apply for initial funding under the Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations program. Under the Restart initiative, the Department of Education is authorized to award funds to eligible SEAs, including those of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and U.S. Virgin Islands. The funding is to assist school districts to help defray costs related to the restart of operations in, the reopening of, and the re-enrollment of students in schools that serve an area affected by a covered disaster or emergency.