This Video Update features FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina reporting on issues impacting the Legislature as we enter the last weeks of the 2016 Session, including a few education related bills that appear to be off the table for the rest of this legislative session. Ms. Messina also discusses HB 287 / SB 434 relating to the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program, HB 669 / SB 886 relating to Educational Choice, and the recent proposals relating to charter school capital outlay funding. (Please scroll down below the video for more information about these issues.)
HB 287 / SB 434 — Principal Autonomy Pilot Program
The bill establishes the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative (PAPPI) within the Department of Education to provide the principals of participating schools in participating school districts with increased autonomy and authority regarding allocation of resources and staffing. Participation is voluntary and is limited to up to seven school districts that have already expessed an interest in participating in the Pilot Program. School boards selected for participation in PAPPI are exempt from the K-20 Education Code and State Board of Education rules, with some exceptions. School districts that wish to participate must submit a proposal to the State Board of Education for approval. Among other things, the proposal must identify three schools that received at least two school grades of “D” or “F” during the previous three school years, describe the areas in which increased autonomy will be granted, and state measurable goals regarding student achievement and operational efficiency. The initial term of the Pilot Program is three years.
Several school districts have expressed an interest in participating in the Pilot Program in part because of the flexibility that the exemption from state statutes can provide. Other districts are more wary of the Program in part because it may be an effort by the state to circumvent the school district authority by dealing directly with individual schools.
HB 669 / SB 886 — Educational Choice
The centerpiece of this legislation is that requires, rather than authorizes, each district school board to allow parents to seek enrollment in, and transport his or her child to, any public school that has not reached capacity in the district. policies and procedures must be in place to accomplish this by the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. Other major provisions of the bill include the requirement that parents be provided information about the average amount expended per student in their child’s school, the requirement for DOE to determine the portability of the FEFP funds when students are able to apply and enroll in any public school in the state, and the requirement for district school boards to establish a transfer process by which a parent may request that his or her child be transferred to another teacher. The House and Senate versions of this bill differ on the details of how districts would implement the provisions of the bill — with the House version being slightly more workable than the Senate version of the bill — but, both versions are fraught with logistical problems and equity issues.
Charter School Capital Outlay Funding
There were already some significant differences between the House and Senate budget proposals regarding charter school capital outlay — the House has proposed allocating $90 million for charter school capital outlay while the Senate had proposed no funding for charter school capital outlay. The chambers’ differeing allocation amounts became more emphatic when the House and Senate released differing proposals relating to capital outlay funding policies for both traditional public schoools and charter schools. The House Proposal — contained in an amendment to HB 873 — would require, among other things, that school districts to share local capital outlay millage revenue with charter schools. In contrast, the Senate has proposed legislation — which has not been amended onto any bill, as yet — that would revise how state funding is allocated for chater school capital outlay, but would not make any changes to current law with regard to local capital outlay millage revenue. Both of these proposals call for a study of the calculation of the statutory cost per student station and both proposals would prohibit a school district from exceeding the statutory cost per student station for projects when expending funds from ALL revenue sources. The differences between these two proposals may have to be resolved in the budget conference process. Please see our summaries of the House language and Senate language for more information.