BUDGET ALERT – YOUR ACTION REQUESTED
The Education Budget Conference Committee held its first meeting last night. The House presented its first offer on the education budget and budget proviso language. Elements of the House offer, coupled with adjustments to align the budget with approved allocations and with adjustments to align with the 4th Calculation of the FEFP for the current year, resulted in a reduction in the Base Student Allocation (BSA) and in total base funding when compared to the allocations in the original House budget proposal – i.e. the original House budget proposal provided a BSA of $4,051 and total base funding of $11,962,820,917. Under the first House offer and other adjustments, the BSA would decline to $4,013 and base funding would decline to $11,844,545,562. This is a difference of more than $100 million in base funding. However, tonight, the Senate made its first counter offer which has the result of reclaiming a good portion of the BSA and base funding – i.e. the current Senate offer provides a BSA of $4,046 and total base funding of $11,942,113,879. As you know, it is the base funding that is the source of funds for everyday operating expenses in your school district – including, but not limited to, expenses for electricity, fuel, insurance, and salaries – so it is essential to maximize the BSA and base funding. Please contact the House and Senate Budget Conferees and urge them to provide the highest possible BSA and base funding and, at a minimum, to safeguard the amounts in the current Senate offer.
Erik Fresen (Conference Committee Chair) — firstname.lastname@example.org
Janet Adkins — janet.adkins@myfloridahouse.
Larry Ahern — email@example.com
Karen Castor Dentel — karen.castordentel@
Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed — gwyn.clarke-reed@
Heather Fitzenhagen — heather.fitzenhagen@
Jeanette Nunez — jeanette.nunez@myfloridahouse.
Keith Perry — firstname.lastname@example.org
Jake Raburn — email@example.com
Betty Reed — firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie Stone — charlie.stone@myfloridahouse.
Dwayne Taylor — dwayne.taylor@myfloridahouse.
Bill Galvano (Conference Committee Vice Chair) — email@example.com
Joseph Abruzz — abruzzo.joseph.web@flsenate.
Dwight Bullard — bullard.dwight.web@flsenate.
Nancy Detert — firstname.lastname@example.org
John Legg — email@example.com
Bill Montford — firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Sachs — email@example.com
David Simmons — firstname.lastname@example.org
John Thrasher — email@example.com
In the Senate Appropriations Committee:
[NOTE: The Committee had a very lengthy agenda and was not able to consider all bills.]
SB 444 – Workers’ Compensation by Galvano – NOT CONSIDERED
Revising powers of the Department of Financial Services relating to compliance with and enforcement of workers’ compensation coverage requirements; revising requirements for the release of stop-work orders; revising rate formulas related to the determination of compensation for disability and death, etc.
SB 698 – Sexual Misconduct with Students by Stargel — PASSED
Citing this act as the “Sexual Misconduct with Students by Authority Figures Act”; providing for reclassification of specified sexual offenses committed against a student by an authority figure; providing for severity ranking of offenses; providing for application of the severity ranking chart of the Criminal Punishment Code, etc. [NOTE: the House version of this bill – HB 485 – was considered on 2nd Reading in the House session today (see below).]
SB 886 – Teachers Classroom Supply Program by Montford – NOT CONSIDERED
Revising procedures for distributing program funds to classroom teachers, etc. [NOTE: The House considered its version of this bill – HB 337 – during the House Session today (see below).]
SB 950 – Educator Certification & Assignment by Stargel – PASSED WITH A CS
Authorizing a school district to assign to a school that has earned failing grades certain newly hired instructional personnel; revising the powers of a district school superintendent to include authorization to assign certain newly hired instructional personnel to a school that has earned failing grades based on the judgment of a school principal; deleting obsolete provisions relating to acceptable means of demonstrating mastery of professional development; revising certain requirements for the renewal or reinstatement of a professional certificate, etc.
SB 1114 – FRS / Cash Balance Plan by Community Affairs – PASSED WITH A CS
Revising the definition of “vested” or “vesting” to provide that a member initially enrolled in the Florida Retirement System after a certain date is vested in the pension plan after completing 10 years of creditable service; providing for compulsory membership in the FRS System Investment Plan for certain employees in the Elected Officers’ Class or the Senior Management Service Class initially enrolled after a specified date; authorizing renewed membership in the retirement system for retirees who are reemployed in a position eligible for the Elected Officers’ Class under certain circumstances, etc.
SB 1206 – Agricultural Industry Certifications by Montford – NOT CONSIDERED
Requiring the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to annually provide to the State Board of Education and the Department of Education information and industry certifications for farm occupations to be considered for placement on industry certification funding lists; defining the term “industry certification”; requiring the state board to adopt rules for implementing an industry certification process for farm occupations, etc.
SB 1394 – Standard Diploma / Merit Designation by Legg – PASSED WITH A CS
Revising the requirements to earn a Merit designation on a standard high school diploma, etc.
SB 1474 – Public Officers and Employees by Abruzzo – PASSED; PLACED ON CALENDAR ON 2ND READING FOR 4/25/14
Authorizing the electors of a political subdivision to impose additional or more stringent standards of conduct and disclosure requirements upon the political subdivision’s officers and employees; providing that a respondent is entitled to a public hearing upon a finding of probable cause of a violation of a local ethics ordinance; requiring a local ethics ordinance to establish certain procedures, etc.
SB 1512 – Students with Disabilities by Stargel – PASSED WITH A CS
Establishing the Florida Personalized Accounts for Learning; specifying criteria for students who are eligible to participate in the program; prohibiting specific providers, schools, institutions, school districts, and other entities from sharing, refunding, or rebating program funds; requiring a school district to notify the parent regarding the option to participate in the program; specifying the school district’s responsibilities for completing a matrix of services and notifying the Department of Education of the completion of the matrix, etc. [NOTE: This bill creates a new voucher program for certain students with disabilities by creating an education savings account or debit-card account to purchase educational and/or therapeutic services for these students. Although FSBA supports the concept of improving services to students with significant abilities, we are opposed to this approach because we feel it is unnecessary, opens the door to rapid expansion to other student populations, invites fraud and abuse, and provides insufficient overall accountability. Among the amendments that were adopted today was an amendment that resurrected several provisions of the Tax Credit Scholarship expansion bill (the Senate had earlier withdrawn its stand-alone version of this bill from further consideration). The Senate version is significantly narrower in scope than the House version and imposes several accountability provisions relating to the Scholarship Funding Organizations. However, it does NOT require voucher students to take state assessments.]
SB 1702 – Early Learning by Education – PASSED WITH A CS
Providing a directive to the Division of Law Revision and Information; revising provisions relating to the Rilya Wilson Act; including large family child care homes in local zoning regulation requirements; providing requirements for nonpublic schools delivering certain voluntary prekindergarten education programs and child care and development programs; authorizing the Department of Children and Families to adopt rules for compliance by certain programs not licensed by the department; revising requirements for application and determination of eligibility to enroll in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, etc. [NOTE: The House considered its version of this bill – HB 7069 – during the House session today (see below)]
HB 5601 – Economic Development by Finance & Tax – PASSED WITH ONE AMENDMENT (A CS WAS NOT REQUESTED)
Revises provisions related to prepaid calling arrangements; imposes additional rate on gross receipts for electrical power or energy; reduces sales tax rate for charges for electrical power or energy; extends expiration date applicable to granting of community contribution tax credits; revises & provides exemptions from sales & use tax; requires DOR to distribute funds to State Transportation Trust Fund for certain transportation projects; increases amount of income exempt from corporate income tax; increases amount of income exempt from franchise tax imposed on banks & savings associations; provides for creation of Qualified Television Loan Fund; revises limits on tax credits that may be approved under New Markets Development Program; provides for Energy Star & WaterSense product sales tax holiday, physical fitness admissions tax suspension, school sales tax holiday, & hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday; provides appropriations. [NOTE: This bill is part of the proposed tax cut package and includes, among other things, the school sales tax holiday and a slimmed-down version of Commissioner Putnam’s proposal to boost gross receipts tax revenue and, in turn, PECO funding.]
In the House SESSION:
Bills on 3rd Reading
HB 7069 – Early Learning by Education – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; IN MESSAGES TO THE SENATE
Changes terminology relating to school readiness & family day care; revises certain requirements & standards relating to child care facilities, VPK program, & school readiness program; revises provisions relating to exemption from certain licensing standards; revises duties of Office of Early Learning & early learning coalitions.
HB 7083 – Charter Schools by Choice & Innovation – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; IN MESSAGES TO THE SENATE
Revises charter school provisions relating to applications & contracts, termination of charter, student enrollment, payment & transfer of funds, use of school district facilities, & model forms, contracts, & evaluation instruments; revises provisions relating to high-performing charter schools & high-performing charter school systems; specifies conditions under which virtual instruction provider’s contract is automatically terminated; revises eligibility for receipt of capital outlay funding.
HB 355 – Instructional Materials Affordability by Porter – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; IN MESSAGES TO THE SENATE
Requires SBE & BOG to adopt textbook & instructional materials affordability policies, procedures, & guidelines; provides requirements for use of adopted undergraduate textbooks & instructional materials; requires public postsecondary institution to post in course registration system & on website information relating to required & recommended textbooks & instructional materials & prices thereof; requires task force to research affordability issues.
HB 785 – Workers’ Compensation by Albritton – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; IN MESSAGES TO THE SENATE
Providing that oral vitamins, nutrient preparations, dietary supplements, and certain medical food are not reimbursable; authorizing employers to negotiate the retrospectively rated premium with insurers under certain conditions; providing requirements for the filing and approval of such plans and associated forms; providing requirements for insurers engaging in the negotiation of premiums with eligible employers; providing construction with respect to the passage of similar legislation, etc.
Bills on 2nd Reading
HB 337 – Teachers Classroom Supply Program by Fresen – READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; IN MESSAGES TO THE SENATE
Revises procedures for distributing program funds to classroom teachers.
HB 485 – Sexual Misconduct with Students by Raburn – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING
Designates act the “Stop Harassing Underage Teens Act”; provides for reclassification of specified sexual offenses committed against students by authority figure of school; provides for severity ranking of offenses.
HB 87 – Fine Arts Courses by McBurney – READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; IN MESSAGES TO THE SENATE
Requires Commissioner of Education to prepare annual report relating to student access to & participation in fine arts courses & information on educators, facilities, & instruction in such courses.
IN THE NEWS
StateImpact Florida – 4/22/14
Schools suspend FCAT because of computer problems
The Florida Current – 4/21/14
Senate to hear resurrected, less sweeping vouchers bill
Tampa Bay Times – 4/21/14
Voucher bill resurfaces