We have concluded the first week of the 60-day Legislative Session and, already, there has been quite a bit of activity on bills of interest to school board members. You may wish to review the earlier issues of the FSBA Session Spotlight for this week for details, but as a quicker summary, please be sure to view our latest video FSBA Legislative Weekly Update that covers this first week of the Session. In this video, FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina summarizes the key bills and issues that were addressed this week including, among others, bills relating to assessments and accountability, charter schools facilities funding, religious expression, recess, and local government financial responsibilities. In addition, Ms. Messina encourages you to register to attend our Annual Day in the Legislature March 29-30, 2017 to enhance your advocacy on these and other education issues under consideration by the Florida Legislature.
Below, you will find links to information on the one committee meeting of interest today and to the meetings of interest scheduled for Monday, March 13, 2017.
In the House Education Committee meeting the Committee held a Workshop to discuss a Proposed Committee Bill (PCB):
EDC2 – Best and Brightest Teachers and Principals by Education – SUBMITTED AS A COMMITTEE BILL
The bill amends the Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program eligibility criteria to include additional academic credentials, thereby increasing access to awards under the program. The bill also establishes the Best and Brightest Principal Program to recognize principals who are able to recruit and retain excellent teachers. With respect to the Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program, the bill deletes the statutory expiration date of July 1, 2017, and amends eligibility criteria by:
- lowering the threshold for a qualifying assessment score from the 80th percentile to the 75th percentile based on the National Percentile Ranks in effect when the assessment was taken;
- allowing teachers to use scores from other assessments that measure cognitive ability to qualify;
- allowing teachers to qualify with an assessment score at the 70th percentile or higher if they earned a baccalaureate degree with a Latin honor (e.g., cum laude); and
- allowing teachers to demonstrate they are “highly effective” based solely on their value-added model rating.
The bill creates the Best and Brightest Principal Scholarship Program, which:
- establishes a procedure for identifying principals who qualify for recognition under the program;
- establishes eligibility criteria for principals, as follows:
- The principal must have served as principal at his or her school for at least the last 2 years; and
- The faculty at the principal’s school must have a ratio of best and brightest teachers to other classroom teachers that is at the 80th percentile or higher, statewide, for that school type (elementary, middle, high, or combination);
- provides a monetary award, established in the General Appropriations Act, for principals who are designated as best and brightest and requires that qualifying principals at a Title I school receive a greater award; and
- requires school districts to provide qualifying principals with the autonomy over budgetary and personnel decisions that is currently provided to principals participating in the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative (PAPPI).
[NOTE: This is a program that was initiated two years ago in the House but has been met with resistance in the Senate. There are some indications that the Senate may be more willing to accept the program if it is appropriately revised and expanded. There are two different bills in the Senate that address this program — SB 1552 and SB 1410 – but neither have had a full hearing in the Senate (though Senator Simmons briefly outlined SB 1552 in a recent meeting).]
Please note that the meetings listed below may be viewed via live webcast or archived videos on the Florida Channel.
The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (1:00-6:00 pm; 102 HOB) to consider 15 budget requests filed in compliance with House Rules. These rules provide that, in order for an appropriations project to be considered for inclusion in the House budget, it must be a stand-alone bill, must be favorably considered in committee, and must be made with non-recurring appropriations. Please note that many of these project requests are for local or regional projects so the 15 bills under consideration in this meeting may be of interest to some, but not all, school districts.
HB 3203 — Life Changing Experiences – LCE – Community Education Project by Latvala
HB 3293 — National Flight Academy by White
HB 3305 — Seminole County Public Schools Aviation Program by B. Cortes
HB 3333 — North Florida School of Special Education Expansion Project by Cummings
HB 3421 — Little Havana Activities & Nutrition Centers of Dade County, Inc. Child Care Program by Duran
HB 3559 — Additional Walkway Cover Hardee Jr.-Hilltop Elementary School by Albritton
HB 3651 — Alternative Education Development Program – Alternative Placement in Lieu of Expulsion in North-Central Lake County by Metz
HB 3653 — Security Funding for Jewish Day Schools by Fine
HB 3959 — Happy Workers Learning Center Rehab/Restoration by Newton
HB 3961 — RISE Summer Math Academy – Lake County Schools with Lake-Sumter State College by Sullivan
HB 4065 — Grow Your Own Teacher Scholarship by Caldwell
HB 4091 — Sparsity Funding for Hernando County School District by Ingoglia
HB 4119 — City Year Florida by Cruz
HB 4129 — St. Augustine Florida School for the Deaf and Blind -Public Education Capital Outlay – Gregg Hall by Stevenson
HB 4267 — Head Start Federal Match by McGhee
The House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee will meet (1:30-6:00 pm; 404 HOB) to consider the following item and others:
HB 697 – Federal Immigration Enforcement by Metz
Designates act “Rule of Law Adherence Act”; prohibits sanctuary policies; requires state & local governmental agencies to comply with & support enforcement of federal immigration law; provides requirements concerning immigration detainers & certain arrested persons; Prohibits restrictions on transfer of certain information related to enforcement of immigration law; authorizes law enforcement agency to transport unauthorized alien; authorizes ordinances for recovery immigration detainer costs; provides whistle-blower protections for certain officials; requires AG to prescribe format for complaints; provides injunctive relief & civil penalties; prohibiting the expenditure of public funds for specified purposes; provides cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death attributed to sanctuary policy; prohibits discrimination on specified grounds; provides for implementation; requires repeal of existing sanctuary policies. [NOTE: Although this bill does not directly refer to schools or school districts, it is likely that it would have an impact on students and their families, particularly those residing in “sanctuary cities”.]