FSBA 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION SUMMARY — PART I
FSBA’s Legislative Session Summary – Part I provides detailed summaries of the education related bills that were passed during the regular Session. In addition to the detailed Summary, we have conducted two Education Legislation Webinars on these bills. The first webinar focused on HB 7069 and the changes to Florida’s system of assessment and accountability. The second webinar presented an overview of several other education related bills. Our detailed Legislative Session Summary – Part I, our webinar presentation slides, a DOE presentation on HB 7069, and other materials are all posted on the FSBA website on our 2015 Session Resource Center at https://fsba.org/2015-
In addition to our detailed bill summaries in Part I of our Session Summary, we encourage you to review both our webinar presentation on HB 7069 and the DOE presentation titled “Information on HB 7069” (presented at the FOIL Spring Conference) because they contain information that was not available at the time that we completed Part I of our Session Summary. Of particular interest, these more recent documents provide several clarifications on the implementation of SB 7069, including the provision that, because of the unavailability of independently verified statewide assessment results in Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry, school districts should calculate final course grades and make promotion decisions without regard to the 30% requirement that typically applies. We will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.
The legislature convened Special Session 2015-A this afternoon. The leaders of both chambers expressed their desire to resolve their remaining budget differences and begin the budget conference process promptly – perhaps as early as this weekend. The appropriations chair in each chamber has re-filed several budget-related bills that are identical to what each chamber passed during the regular session. Among other things, this means that the education funding portions of each budget remains the same and our comparison of those budgets remains accurate. However, we anticipate that both chambers will make some adjustments to their education budgets during the Special Session – at the very least, adjustments will need to be made to reflect increased student enrollment figures and related changes from the FEFP 4th Calculation. In addition, there is concern that education funding may be further reduced to accommodate resolution of the outstanding healthcare issues, funding for the implementation of Amendment 1, and/or the provision of a tax cut package. This concern has spurred Governor Scott to call for the Legislature provide total education funding of $7,126 per-student. FSBA encourages you to contact your legislators to urge them to safeguard education funding from reduction as they resolve other budget issues and/or seek tax cuts. Please remind your legislators that, although projected student enrollment has increased since the Governor, House, and Senate released their original budgets, the Legislature still holds substantial revenue reserves and still has the opportunity to prioritize education and reach a record level of per-student funding. [NOTE: To refresh your memory of where things stand as of today, our House-Senate education budget comparison and each chamber’s FEFP summary are still posted on our 2015 Session Resource Center located at https://fsba.org/2015-
COMING UP TOMORROW
[NOTES: House and Senate Rules provide that, during a Special Session, committee meetings may be called with notice provided only 2 hours in advance. Hence, we cannot always predict when meetings may be called and the agenda for such a meeting may not be available for our Updates. We will, as always, make every effort to keep you informed, but you may wish to regularly check the House and Senate websites: House — http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/
At this time, there are two committee meetings scheduled for Tuesday, neither of which appear to have any direct relation to education funding. However, the meetings are listed below with some notes for your information.
The House Finance & Tax Committee will meet – 10:00 am–12:00 pm.
The agenda for this meeting is not available, but it is expected that the Committee will be discussing, among other things, a proposed tax cut package. [NOTE: During the regular 2015 Session, the House tax cut package was valued at about $690 million. House Finance & Tax Committee Chair Matt Gaetz has suggested that the package might be pared down to a value of approximately $400 million.]
The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet – 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.
The Committee will consider SB 2-A — Health Insurance Affordability Exchange. [NOTE: Concerns abound that the Special Session has begun without legislative leaders having reached agreement on how to handle the main issue that led to the budget impasse that triggered the need for a special session – LIP funding and Medicaid expansion. The federal government has indicated that it will provide about $1 billion in LIP funding for 2015-2016 (compared to nearly $2.2 billion provided in the current year). Although the Senate is expected to revise its proposal somewhat, it is evident that the House remains staunchly opposed to an expansion of Medicaid that would provide insurance coverage for the uninsured poor that would decrease the need for LIP funding.]
Ruth Haseman Melton
Director of Government Relations
Florida School Boards Association
Office: 850 / 414-2578
Cell: 850 / 509-6411