Commissioner Pam Stewart announced a new test has been selected to replace the FCAT 2.0 exams beginning with the 2014-15 school year. The new assessments will be provided by the not-for-profit American Institutes for Research (AIR). FSBA is in the process of reviewing the materials that were released today and will provide and will provide more detailed information as soon as possible. In the meantime, you may access DOE’s press release, Q & A, and other information on the DOE website at http://www.fldoe.org/
In the Senate Health & Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee:
SB 574 – Mental Health First Aid Training Program by Sobel – PASSED WITH A CS
The bill requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to establish a mental health first aid training program provided by instructors that have been certified by a national authority on mental health first aid programs. The program is intended to help the public identify and understand the signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders and provide the public with skills to help a person who is developing or experiencing a mental health or substance use problem. The program must provide an interactive mental health first aid training course through contracts with behavioral health managing entities or other appropriate community providers. The bill requires the contracting entity to work cooperatively with local school districts to give first priority for training to the staff in schools, when appropriate.
COMING UP TOMORROW
The State Board of Education will meet at 9:00 am via conference call — Call-In Number: 888-339-2688; Pass Code: 337 986 39. Among the items on the agenda are and update on Digital Learning, approval of amendment to SBE Rule relating to Student Membership Surveys and approval of critical teacher shortage areas. You may access the full agenda by clicking HERE.
The Senate Education Committee will meet – 8:00-9:30 am; Florida Channel webcast – to consider the following items and others:
SB 396 – Joint Use of Public School Facilities by Bean
The bill authorizes each district school board to adopt written policies to promote public access to outdoor recreation and sports facilities on school property, to increase the number of joint-use agreements, and to develop and adopt written policies and procedures for an appeal process if negotiations for a joint-use agreement fail; provides immunity from civil liability for a district school board that adopts public access policies or enters into a joint-use agreement except in instances of gross negligence or intentional misconduct, etc. [NOTE: At least one amendment will be offered that seeks to strengthen immunity to liability provisions and to encourage joint community projects.]
SB 514 – Gender-Specific School Pilot Project by Flores
The bill requires DOE to administer a two-year Gender-Specific School Pilot Project in five school districts with populations of more than 100,000 kindergarten through grade twelve students and requires the Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to submit a report comparing the academic performance of students in the gender-specific school in this pilot program with the academic performance of students in other public schools in the school district.
SB 628 – Educational Facilities Financing by Montford
The bill expands to some K-12 “private nonprofit” schools the same construction, financing, and refinancing benefits currently available through a financing authority to independent, non-profit colleges and universities. The bill also expands the projects and authorized uses for the colleges, universities, and “private nonprofit” schools that participate in the program.
SB 1206 – Agricultural Industry Certifications by Montford
The bill requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to annually provide to the State Board of Education and DOE information and industry certifications for farm occupations to be placed on industry certification funding lists; defining industry certification as part of career education programs; requires placement on funding lists to determine annual funding distributions to school districts and postsecondary institutions, etc.
SB 1226 – Education / Repeal / Revise by Montford
The bill repeals discontinued or unfunded programs, corrects cross references, removes antiquated effective dates, eliminates duplicate reporting requirements, repeals concluded pilot programs, and updates terminology. The bill also clarifies the graduation requirements for certain high school students. In the 2013 session the Legislature passed SB 1076 which, in part, dealt with course and testing requirements for high school graduation. The bill explains how the new graduation requirements impact students who were in high school before SB 1076 passed.
SB 1382 – Hazardous Walking Conditions by Hays
The bill requires school boards to address, correct, and plan for all public schools in the district, including schools in operation before current safety requirements went into effect, to comply with safety requirements that address hazardous walking conditions for students. The bill creates a new hazardous walking condition category regarding “crossings over the road” and provides that the determination that a hazardous walking condition exists may not be used as evidence in a civil action for damages against a governmental entity.
SB 1400 – Postsecondary Student Tuition by Latvala
The Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) for this bill eliminates the automatic annual tuition increases at public postsecondary institutions, revises the Florida Prepaid Program contract conditions, and extends an in-state tuition benefit to students who meet certain conditions.
SB 1512 – Students with Disabilities by Stargel
The bill creates a new scholarship program called “Personalized Accounts for Learning” (PAL accounts) for kindergarten through grade 12 students with a disability, repeals the Special Diploma, and creates new pathways for students with disabilities who meet the requirements to earn a standard diploma. [NOTE: while this bill contains some desirable elements, FSBA is concerned about the creation of a new voucher program. We will provide a more detailed analysis of this bill in our next issue of Boarder-Line.]
The Committee will also conduct a workshop on Early Learning.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet – 8:00-9:30 am; Florida Channel webcast – to consider the following item and others:
SB 602 – Residency/Candidates/Public Officers by Latvala
The bill clarifies what the term “residence” means when used in “residence” requirements for candidates and public officers. The bill provides a non-exhaustive list of factors that a court may consider in determining where a candidate or officer resides. The analysis for determining a person’s “residence” applies to those subject to a residence requirement upon qualifying as a candidate, regardless of whether the person is seeking partisan office, and for the residence requirements that apply only when a person takes office.
The House Civil Justice Subcommittee will meet – 9:00 am-12:00 pm; Florida Channel webcast – to consider the following item and others:
HB 1117 – Athletic Safety, Education, and Training by Workman
The bill requires youth sports organizations, independent sanctioning authorities, the Florida High School Athletic Association, and state and private colleges and universities to develop, adopt, and implement policies and training programs relating to bullying and harassment. The bill also creates an unlawful employment practice for failure of a Florida-based professional sports franchise to prevent abusive conduct, which may include a $10,000 per incident fine.
The House Governmental Operations Subcommittee will meet – 9:00 am-12:00 pm; Florida Channel webcast – to consider the following items and others:
HB 295 – Employment after Retirement by Porter
The bill clarifies that instructional personnel may be reemployed after retirement but only under a 1-year probationary contract. If the instructional personnel successfully completes the probationary contract, such employee may receive an annual contract; reemployed retired instructional personnel may not receive professional service contracts.
HB 801 – Preference in the Award of State Contracts by Fitzenhagen
The bill expands provisions to require certain political subdivisions to provide preferential consideration to Florida businesses when awarding competitively bid contracts for construction services; requires counties & municipalities to provide preferential consideration if state appropriations are used; specifies that grant preference supersedes local ordinances that restrict certain contractors from competing for an award; requires certain political subdivisions to disclose whether payment for competitively awarded contract will come from state appropriations.
The House K-12 Subcommittee will meet – 9:30-11:30 am; Florida Channel webcast – to consider:
HB 875 – Education Fiscal Accountability by M. Diaz
The Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) requires the Commissioner to establish a return on investment (ROI) rating system in order to evaluate the extent to which public school and school districts use financial resources in a cost-effective manner to improve student performance relative to fiscal peers. The PCS also creates the Schoolhouse Funding Pilot Program for the purpose of giving pilot school principals increased authority over school budgets and human capital decisions and determining whether the increased authority positively impacts the return on investment for the principals’ schools. The PCS requires the commissioner to select at least 15 middle schools and 15 high schools to participate as pilot schools. The PCS also establishes requirements for the pilot program relating to participation in state assessment and school accountability systems, educator certification, background screening, and personnel evaluation. [NOTE: This bill has been promoted by the same groups and individuals that advocated for the “Parent Trigger” bill in prior years. FSBA has profound concerns about this bill and will provide a more detailed analysis in our next issue of Boarder-Line.]
The House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee will meet – 12:30-2:30 pm; Florida Channel webcast – to consider:
HB 7099 – Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program by Finance & Tax
The bill substantially revises and expands the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program’s student eligibility criteria, scholarship amounts, tax credit availability, and scholarship-funding organization (SFO) accountability standards. It also creates a new Florida Sales Tax Credit Scholarship program that allows dealers who collect state sales and use tax to receive tax credits for making donations to SFOs. The administrative provisions of the new program will parallel those of the existing program. [NOTE: FSBA is opposed to this bill. Please see Boarder-Line Issue 2 for a summary and discussion of FSBA’s concerns about this bill.]
The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet – 12:45-4:15 pm; Florida Channel webcast – to consider:
SB 850 – Education / Collegiate High Schools by Legg
This bill expands rigorous curricular, instructional, and assessment options available to public elementary, middle, and high school students. The bill expands options to elementary students, expands options and strengthens requirements for middle school and high school students, creates a new middle grades early warning system to identify at-risk students, expands and strengthens anti-hazing provisions, and requires Florida College System institutions to establish collegiate high school program for students in every school district in the colleges’ designated service area.
The Subcommittee will also review and discuss Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Budget Issues.
The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet – 3:00-6:00 pm; Florida Channel webcast – to consider:
HB 5103 – Personal Learning Accounts by Choice & Innovation
Establishes Florida Personal Learning Account Program to enable parents of students with disabilities to customize their child’s education using wide range of instructional services; provides student eligibility, responsibilities for program participation, administration, and funding of Florida Personal Learning Accounts, and DOE, nonprofit scholarship-funding organization, & school district obligations. [NOTE: This is the companion bill to SB 1512 discussed above under the Senate Education Committee.]
EDAS-2 – Education Funding Conforming Bill by Education
The bill conforms statute to the funding decisions in the 2014-2015 General Appropriations Act and addresses issues relating to the education system. FSBA supports some provisions in this bill but has concerns about other provisions.
Subcommittee Chair Fresen will also release his Education Budget Proposal. [NOTE: We will provide more information about the conforming bill and the House Education Budget Proposal in our next issue of Boarder-Line.]
IN THE NEWS
Tampa Bay Times – 3/13/14
Bill to eliminate Florida statewide textbook adoption gains traction
Miami Herald – 3/16/14
School choice bills spark much debate, plenty of controversy
Palm Beach Post – 3/16/14
School voucher bill could triple money for politically connected group