In a flurry of last minute deal-making, legislators were able to patch together compromises to allow them to wrap up their work and finish the Special Session on time. The issue of greatest interest to school boards was increasing funding to the FEFP by $215 million in order to provide an increase of $100 per student over current year funding. The two chambers initially took a different approach in how to accomplish this – both in terms of funding sources and procedure – but ultimately the Senate agreed to the House’s more straightforward approach of reallocating the FEFP funds as provided in their original adopted education budget (with some minor adjustments to reflect more recent revenue projections) and then adding $215 million in recurring and non-recurring state funds. We are in the process of developing a comparison of FEFP funding provided in 2016-2017, in the originally adopted 2017-2018 budget, and in the revised 2017-2018 Special Session budget that will illustrate the progression of funding changes, but the bulk of the increase is most notable in the Base Student Allocation (BSA) and resulting base funding. We are also revising the education appropriations section of our 2017 Legislative Session Summary to reflect these changes. Both of these documents should be available by Monday and we will notify you when they are posted on the FSBA website. We also will be presenting information on the revised education budget at the FSBA/FADSS Annual Summer Conference next week (additional Conference information is available HERE). In the meantime, please refer to the FEFP Calculation Summary for HB 3A for more details.
In other developments today, the chambers passed HB 1A that provides funding for Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida, and the Florida Job Growth Grant Program, all of which were priorities for Governor Scott. In addition, HB 1A provides funding for several higher education projects that were priorities of the Senate. The chambers also passed SB 8A that provides for the implementation of an amendment to the state constitution relating to the medical use of marijuana. This legislation will impact school district policies and operations. FSBA has offered sessions on this issue at our conferences and is also assembling materials to assist school districts in their efforts to accommodate this legislation.
As a final important note: As stated in the Legislative Alert sent to school board members and others this afternoon, no changes were made to HB 7069 during the Special Legislative Session. The Governor has stated that he is still reviewing HB 7069 and has not made a decision regarding approval or veto as of yet. As you know, FSBA has requested a veto of this legislation (click HERE to access our letter to Governor Scott) and we encourage you to continue to share your concerns about this bill with Governor Scott via phone (850-488-7146) or email.