As expected, both chambers reviewed their respective budgets – SB 2500 and HB 5001 — and related budget implementing bills and budget conforming bills. Most of these bills were either approved without amendment or the amendments did not directly pertain to PreK-12 education. However, two significant amendments were approved in the Senate to SB 376 relating to Charter School Capital Outlay Funding. As originally filed, this bill (along with its House companion – HB 5103) restructures charter school capital outlay to require the inclusion of local capital outlay funding derived from school district discretionary millage revenue and set forth requirements for the calculation and distribution of these funds to eligible charter schools. Both of today’s amendments were sponsored by Senator Farmer and were adopted when the bill was on 2nd Reading on the Senate floor. The first of these amendments revised a provision that had removed the discretion of the school board with regard to the district’s 1.5 discretionary capital outlay millage authority. The amendment restores language providing discretion to the school board with regard to the millage levy and use of this revenue. However, this does not negate the requirement to share the revenue from this millage levy with charter schools because that requirement appears elsewhere in the bill. As amended the bill now provides:
“. . . each school board may levy not more than 1.5 mills against the taxable value for school purposes for district schools, as specified in this section, and charter schools, as specified in s. 1013.62 at the discretion of the school board.”
The second amendment revised provisions relating to the personal enrichment of charter school owners and others and the eligibility and allowable use of capital outlay funding for charter schools. The amendment adds to the list of individuals who are specifically barred from personal financial enrichment and deletes from the list of charter school facilities that are eligible for funding a charter school owned by or leased from a person or entity that is not an affiliated party of the charter school. As amended, SB 376 now provides:
“It is the intent of the Legislature that the public interest be protected by prohibiting personal financial enrichment by owners, operators, real estate developers, managers, and other affiliated parties of charter schools. Therefore, a charter school is not eligible for a funding allocation unless the chair of the governing board and the chief administrative officer of the charter school annually certify under oath that the funds will be used solely and exclusively for constructing, renovating, or improving charter school facilities that are:
- Owned by a school district, political subdivision of the state, municipality, Florida College System institution, or state university; or
- Owned by an organization, qualified as an exempt organization under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, whose articles of incorporation specify that upon the organization’s dissolution, the subject property will be transferred to a school district, political subdivision of the state, municipality, Florida College System institution, or state university.
Both of these amendments are substantial improvements to the Senate version of the bill and places the Senate in a stronger position when the House and Senate versions are referred to a Conference Committee assigned with the task of working out the differences between the two bills. We are in the process of revising Jim Hamilton’s excellent Comparison of SB 376 and HB 5103 to reflect these changes (and please note that there were no amendments made to HB 5103 today). In addition to these amendments, the Senate passed all of their budget, implanting, and conforming bills today and have certified their bills to the House. The House is expected to review and pass their own budget and related bills tomorrow, thus setting the stage for budget conference committees to be named and to begin the task of resolving the differences between the various versions of each bill.
The outcome and summaries (or comparisons) of the remaining Budget, Implementing, and Conforming bills are detailed below under the Today’s Happenings tab and the meeting schedule and list of bills that will be under consideration on Thursday is available under the Coming Up Tomorrow tab. Also, keep in mind that there are several background and advocacy materials available on our Advocacy Tools page and our 2017 Legislative Session page that may be helpful to you.
In the Senate Session:
SB 2500 – General Appropriations Act (GAA) – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
The bill provides moneys for the annual period beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2018, and supplemental appropriations for the period ending June 30, 2017, to pay salaries and other expenses, capital outlay – buildings, and other improvements, and for other specified purposes of the various agencies of state government. [NOTE: None of today’s amendments impacted PreK-12 education funding. Please see FSBA’s Comparison of the Senate and House Education Budgets for details and differences between SB 2500 and HB 5001.]
SB 2502 – Implementing the General Appropriations Act – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
The bill provides the statutory authority necessary to implement and execute the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017-2018. Statutory changes are temporary and are effective July 1, 2017 and expire on July 1, 2018 unless otherwise specifically indicated. Of particular interest to school boards, the implementing bill:
- Incorporates the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) work papers by reference for the purpose of displaying the calculations used by the Legislature;
- Provides that funds provided for instructional materials shall be released and expended as required in the proviso language attached to Specific Appropriation 91 relating to Instructional Materials;
- Amends s. 1011.62, F.S., relating to the Florida Digital Classrooms Allocation to change the minimum allocation per district from $250,000 to $400,000 for Fiscal Year 2017-2018;
- Authorizes the Dixie Middle School/High School special facilities project to exceed the cost per student station.
[NOTE: None of today’s amendments impacted PreK-12 education funding.]
SB 7022 – State Administered Retirement Systems – READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
The bill establishes the contribution rates paid by employers participating in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) beginning July 1, 2017. These rates are intended to fund the full normal cost and the amortization of the unfunded actuarial liability of the FRS. With these modifications to employer contribution rates, the FRS Trust Fund will receive roughly $149.5 million more revenue on an annual basis beginning July 1, 2017. The public employers that will incur these additional costs are state agencies, state universities and colleges, school districts, counties, and certain municipalities and other governmental entities.
SB 2516 — Education Funding – READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
The bill conforms various education funding statutes to the policies used to implement the funding decisions contained in SB 2500. The bill:
- Modifies the policy regarding the “extra hour of reading” at the 300 lowest-performing elementary schools by:
- Permanently codifying the program in statute, rather than relying on annual reauthorization. The program was established for three years beginning in the 2012-2013 fiscal year but has been extended annually in the implementing bill since the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
- Expanding the program to allow schools that improve performance to the extent that they are no longer on the most current list of 300 lowest-performing schools to maintain the program for two additional academic years.
- Expanding the requirements of the program to include a 60-hour summer school component.
- Codifying the methodology for calculating the allocation of Supplemental Academic Instruction (SAI) funds, which includes funds for the “extra hour of reading” requirement.
- Requiring school districts to delineate the implementation design and reading intervention strategies for the program as part of their comprehensive reading plan.
- Modifies the small, isolated high schools provision of the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) by expanding its application to elementary schools and establishing the criteria by which elementary schools may qualify.
- Permanently codifies the sparsity supplement calculation used to compute the sparsity supplement for eligible districts with a full-time equivalent (FTE) student membership of between 20,000 and 24,000, by dividing the total number of full- time equivalent students in all programs by the number of permanent senior high school centers in the district, not in excess of four (rather than three as used for other districts). This calculation has been in the implementing bill since the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
- Modifies the federally connected student supplement to allow for recalculation throughout the year based on actual student membership and the tax-exempt valuation from the most recent assessment roll.
- Permanently codifies a provision that prohibits a school district from seeking a positive allocation adjustment in the current fiscal year because of an under allocation for a prior fiscal year caused by district error.
- Modifies the qualification requirements and funding methodology for the High Growth District Capital Outlay Assistance Grant Program.
- Requires the Auditor General to conduct an annual financial audit of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.
[NOTE: Today’s amendment extended the date for future legislative review and repeal of provisions governing the Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation.]
SB 376 – Charter School Capital Outlay Funding by Simmons– READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
The bill restructures charter school capital outlay to dedicate a source of funding consisting of shared local capital outlay funding derived from the discretionary millage revenue. The bill allows the legislature the discretion to determine whether to provide additional charter school capital outlay funds in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). [NOTE: Two important amendments were adopted today when the bill was on 2nd Reading on the Senate floor. Please see the discussion of these amendments above.]
In the House Session:
HB 5001 – General Appropriations Act (GAA) – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/13/17
The bill provides moneys for the annual period beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2018, and supplemental appropriations for the period ending June 30, 2017, to pay salaries and other expenses, capital outlay – buildings, and other improvements, and for other specified purposes of the various agencies of state government. [NOTE: Please see FSBA’s Comparison of the Senate and House Education Budgets for details and differences between SB 2500 and HB 5001.]
HB 5003 – Implementing the General Appropriations Act – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/13/17
The bill provides the statutory authority necessary to implement and execute the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017-2018. Statutory changes are temporary and are effective July 1, 2017 and expire on July 1, 2018 unless otherwise specifically indicated. Of particular interest to school boards, the implementing bill:
- Incorporates the FEFP calculations or budget runs;
- Provides that any district school board that generates less than $2 million in revenue from one mill of ad valorem tax shall contribute 0.75 mill, rather than 1.5 mills, for Fiscal Year 2017-2018, to the cost of funded special facilities projects;
- Amends s. 1012.731, F.S. relating to the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program to award highly effective teachers who have demonstrated a high level of academic achievement based on their SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT or MCAT score being at or above the 77th percentile.
- Creates s. 1012.732, F.S. relating to the Florida Best and Brightest Principal Scholarship Program to award highly effective principals whose school facility has a high percentage of best and brightest teachers.
HB 5007 — Florida Retirement System – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/13/17
The bill establishes the contribution rates paid by employers participating in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) beginning July 1, 2017. In addition, effective July 1, 2017, the bill:
- Authorizes renewed membership in the investment plan for retirees of the investment plan and certain optional retirement programs.
- Expands the survivor benefit for members of the Special Risk Class to provide that such benefits are retroactive to July 1, 2002. The bill also establishes a survivor benefit for all other membership classes of the investment plan who are killed in the line of duty and provides that the benefit is retroactive to July 1, 2002.
- Closes the Senior Management Service Optional Annuity Program to new participants.
- Reduces the annual service accrual rate for the Judicial Subclass from 3.33 to 3.0 percent.
Effective January 1, 2018, the bill changes the default from the pension plan to the investment plan for members who do not affirmatively choose a plan. In addition, effective July 1, 2018, the bill prohibits members initially enrolled in a position covered by the Elected Officers’ Class from participating in the pension plan and requires participation in the investment plan.
HB 5101 — Educational Funding – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/13/17
The bill conforms applicable statutes to the appropriations provided in the House proposed General Appropriations Act for Prekindergarten through grade 12 education for Fiscal Year 2017-2018. The bill:
- Repeals the requirement for the Just Read, Florida! Office to review the K-12 comprehensive reading plan and provides that these plans will instead be done as part of the monitoring, intervention, and support strategies required as part of school improvement;
- Limits the time frame for VPK providers to amend prior fiscal year student enrollments no later than September 1 of the subsequent fiscal year;
- Removes obsolete language referencing the Florida School for Boys in Okeechobee;
- Modifies the FEFP SAI allocation by requiring each school district that has a school earning a grade of “D” or “F” to use that school’s portion of the SAI to implement the intervention and support strategies and, for all other schools, the school district may use the SAI for eligible purposes currently described in law. The bill also codifies in law the SAI allocation funding formula;
- Codifies the Sparsity Supplement current calculation methodology;
- Modifies the Research-Based Reading Instruction Allocation to:
- Prioritize, but not require, use of the funds for the extra hour of intensive reading instruction for the 300 lowest performing elementary schools based on a three year average of the state reading assessment data;
- Allow the extra hour to be optional for students scoring level 4 or level 5 on reading assessments;
- Require summer reading camps to be taught by someone certified or endorsed in reading;
- Require reading plans to only be submitted by school districts that have a school earning a grade of “D” or “F”. The review and approval process will now be done as part of the monitoring, intervention, and support strategies;
- Eliminate the department’s ability to withhold funds;
- Repeals the requirement of submitting a digital classrooms plan, aligns the use of these funds to items on the eligible services list authorized by the Universal Service Administration Company E-rate program, and includes computer and device hardware and associated operating system software as allowable uses of the funds;
- Codifies the Safe Schools categorical;
- Removes the requirement for an adjustment to be made to a district’s funding in the FEFP based on an FTE reporting error that is not corrected by the district within the FTE reporting amendment periods; and
- Amends the required components of a school district’s standard student attire policy for purposes of school district receiving incentive payment.
HB 5103 — Capital Outlay Funding – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/13/17
The bill restructures charter school capital outlay to dedicate a source of funding consisting of shared local capital outlay funding derived from the discretionary millage revenue. The bill allows the legislature the discretion to determine whether to provide additional charter school capital outlay funds in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). [NOTE: Please see the Comparison of SB 376 and HB 5103 prepared by Jim Hamilton for the details and differences of these bills. Also, please see the discussion of amendments made to SB 376 above.]
HB 5105 — School Improvement – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/13/17
The bill streamlines early warning system requirements and alleviates school improvement planning requirements by requiring a school improvement plan only for schools with a grade of “D” or “F.” The bill also streamlines the school improvement process by:
- Requiring the same level of intensive interventions and support strategies for “D” and “F” schools;
- Requiring the school district to provide the SBE a district-managed turnaround plan by September 1 after a school earns a “D” or “F;”
- Requiring the selection of another turnaround option after the school receives a third consecutive grade below a “C” unless the school is deemed likely to improve to a “C” and receives an additional year; and
- Requiring another turnaround option be implemented after 2 years implementing the first plan unless the school is deemed likely to improve to a “C.”
The bill provides that an educational emergency exists in a school district when a school earns a “D” or “F” and requires the district to execute a memorandum of understanding with the collective bargaining agent concerning the selection, placement, and expectations of instructional personnel and school administrators at the school. The memorandum must also be submitted to the SBE by September 1 after a school earns a “D” or “F.”
The bill authorizes the establishment of “schools of hope” and designation of “hope operators” to provide students in areas of persistently low-performing schools with a high-quality education option designed to close the opportunity gap and increase student achievement. The bill:
- Establishes criteria for schools of hope and hope operators;
- Defines persistently low-performing schools as those subject to differentiated accountability for more than three years or closed as a result of school improvement requirements;
- Authorizes the State Board of Education (SBE) to identify and designate hope operators who meet specified criteria;
- Removes barriers to hope operators by creating a new notice and agreement process that is exempt from the current charter law and state procurement laws. The prss:
- o allows a hope operator to submit a notice of intent to establish a school of hope in a school district with one or more persistently low-performing schools;
- o requires the school district to enter into a performance based agreement with the hope operator which must include specified provisions;
- Provides a school of hope with specific exemptions from current law;
- Provides provisions for facilities and funding for schools of hope;
- Establishes a grant program to cover specified operational expenses; and
- Establishes the Schools of Hope Revolving Loan Program to help schools of hope cover school building construction and startup costs.
HB 7069 – Best & Brightest Teachers & Principals – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/13/17
The bill amends the Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program eligibility criteria and establishes the Best and Brightest Principal Program. 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 77th 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; 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 are currently provided to principals participating in the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative (PAPPI).
Please note that all of the meetings listed below may be viewed via live webcast on the Florida Channel. For real-time updates on these meetings and other legislative activities, please click HERE to access our Twitter feed.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet (9:30 am-12:30 pm; 412 KOB) to consider the following items and others:
SB 196 – Juvenile Civil Citation and Similar Diversion Programs by Flores
The bill is one of several bills filed in an effort to reduce the number of juveniles with damaging criminal records and being referred to costly residential and detention programs. The bill requires a law enforcement officer to issue a civil citation or require the juvenile’s participation in a similar diversion program when the juvenile admits to committing one of the following first-time misdemeanor offenses:
- Possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under age 21;
- Criminal Mischief;
- Retail and farm theft;
- Loitering and prowling;
- Affrays and riots;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis;
- Use, possession, manufacture, delivery, transportation, advertisement, or retail sale of drug paraphernalia; or
- Resisting an officer without violence.
The bill permits a law enforcement officer to issue a civil citation or require the juvenile’s participation in a similar diversion program when the juvenile admits to committing:
- A misdemeanor offense not enumerated in the bill;
- A misdemeanor offense not enumerated in the bill and the juvenile has one or two prior misdemeanors from a separate criminal episode; or
- A misdemeanor offense not enumerated in the bill and the juvenile is currently alleged to have committed, or is currently charged with, a felony.
A law enforcement officer must provide written documentation articulating why an arrest is warranted when he or she has the discretion to issue a civil citation but instead chooses to arrest the juvenile. The bill specifies that the option of the issuance of a civil citation or referral to a similar diversion program does not apply to a misdemeanor offense arising out of an episode in which the juvenile is also alleged to have committed a felony. [NOTE: The Committee is expected to take up a Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) in place of the current text of the bill. This short summary reflects the provisions of the PCS. This is the last committee of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 213 – is similar but has not been heard in any of three committees of reference.]
SB 256 – Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching by Steube
The bill removes the July 1, 2017 expiration date for the statutory authority for the Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching (Center) established within the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee. The Center was created in the implementing bill for the 2016-2017 General Appropriations Act and, as such, the statutory provisions for the Center are effective for one fiscal year and would expire July 1, 2017 if not preserved in this bill. The goals of the Center are to:
- Conduct basic and applied research on policies and practices related to arts integrated teaching.
- Partner with interested Florida College System (FCS) institutions and private educational institutions to conduct arts integrated educational research.
- Seek out agreements to provide technical assistance and support to the Florida Department of Education, school districts, private schools, charter schools, and educator preparation programs in the implementation of evidence-based arts integrated instruction, assessment, programs, and professional development.
- Collaborate with interested arts organizations and Florida school districts in the development of frameworks for arts integrated courses in schools and professional development activities, using multiple delivery methods for arts integrated teaching in different content areas.
- Disseminate information about outcome-based practices related to arts integrated instruction, assessment, curricula, and programs.
- Position Florida as a national leader in arts integrate teaching and research.
- Examine arts integrated teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational courses.
[NOTE: This is the last committee of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 6017 – is identical and has passed two of three committees of reference.]
SB 1402 – Local Governmental Financial Emergencies by Latvala
The bill makes numerous changes to the “Local Governmental Entity, Charter School, Charter Technical Career Center, and District School Board Financial Emergencies Act.” Specifically, the bill:
- Expands the entities that have oversight over local governmental entities, charter schools, charter technical career centers, and district school boards when certain conditions exist to include the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Legislative Auditing Committee.
- Requires a local governmental entity, or an agency in certain cases to notify the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives when certain financial emergencies exist.
- Requires, upon notification of financial emergency, the Governor, in cooperation with the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Legislative Auditing Committee to contact the local governmental entity or the Commissioner of Education to determine which actions have been taken by the local governmental entity or district school board to resolve or prevent the condition and determine whether the local governmental entity or district school board needs state assistance to resolve or prevent the condition into the future.
The bill revises the composition and duties of financial emergency boards by specifying who can nominate and appoint members, establishing member qualifications, and revising the duties of the board. In addition, the bill authorizes the Governor to suspend a member of the governing body of the local governmental entity or district school board for malfeasance and misfeasance under certain circumstances. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 1289 – is identical and has passed two of three committees of reference.]
SB 1582 – Workers’ Compensation Insurance by Bradley
The bill amends several provisions in the Florida’s workers’ compensation law and the Insurance Code (which governs the rate making approval process for many, but not all, providers of workers’ compensation coverage). The bill:
- Codifies Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, by increasing temporary total disability benefits and temporary partial disability benefits from 104 weeks to 260 weeks.
- Amends the attorney fee provision to:
- require the Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) to consider certain factors in determining if the attorney fees should be increased or decreased, based on a maximum hourly rate of $250;
- remove the criminal penalty for claimant attorneys receiving fees that are not approved by the JCCs, thereby allowing claimants to enter into retainer agreements; and
- eliminate the attorney fee cap of $1,500 on medical-only claims;
- Requires greater specificity in the information that must be provided in petitions for benefits filed with the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC), such as the specific date of maximum medical improvement and the specific date that such permanent benefits are claimed to begin;
- Clarifies that deadlines within multiple provisions relating to medical care are based on business days, not calendar days. For example, the bill requires carriers to authorize or deny medical authorization requests within three business days;
- Revises the workers’ compensation rating law. Currently, Florida law requires carriers, or rating organization filing on their behalf, to file an administered rate or full rate. The bill implements loss costs rating, which requires each insurer to seek approval for rates based on aggregate claim information filed by a rating organization with individual company data (loss costs multipliers), being used for the final rate, subject to approval by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR); and
- Limits defense and cost containment expenses of insurers to 15 percent of incurred losses, and provides that excessive defense and cost containment fees must be returned to policyholders.
[NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 7085 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
The Senate Criminal & Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (1:00-2:00 pm; 37 SOB) to consider the following item and others:
SB 260 – Threats to Kill or Do Bodily Injury by Steube
The bill deletes the current statutory requirements that a specific person be directly threatened by a person making a threat through means of a letter, inscribed communication, or electronic communication, and that the specific person actually receive the threat, The bill prohibits a person from making a threat to kill or injure another:
- In writing or other record, including an electronic record; or
- By posting or transmitting the threat, or procuring the posting or transmission, in a manner that would allow any person to view the threat.
The bill that violation of these provisions may be the basis for a lawful arrest by an officer without a warrant, if the officer has probable cause to believe a person has committed the offense. The bill retains the current second degree felony penalties for adult offenders and creates a first degree misdemeanor applicable to juvenile offenders. [NOTE: This is the second of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 575 – is similar and has passed two or three committees of reference.]
The Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (1:00-2:00 pm; 412 KOB) to consider the following items and others:
SB 360 – Middle School Study by Stargel
The bill requires the Florida Department of Education to conduct a comprehensive study of states with high-performing students in grades 6 through 8 in reading and mathematics, based on the states’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress; and report findings of the study to the Governor, the State Board of Education, and the Legislature by December 2017.
Specifically, the study must review, at a minimum:
- Academic expectations and instructional strategies.
- Attendance policies and student mobility issues.
- Teacher quality.
- Middle school administrator leadership and performance.
- Parental and community involvement.
[NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 293 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
SB 642 – Public Educational Facilities by Garcia
The bill revises provisions related to public educational facilities. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires the Commissioner of Education to, upon request by a district school board, grant an exemption to the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF).
- Requires the district school board to provide a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis along with its request for an SREF exemption.
- Specifies, for the purposes of determining the capacity of school facilities as reported in the Florida Inventory of School Houses that a school containing kindergarten through grade 5 is considered an elementary school and a school containing students in grades 6 through 8 is considered a middle school.
[NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 559 – is similar and has passed one of three committees of reference.]
SB 772 – Assistive Technology Devices by Rousson
The bill revises provisions related to the use of assistive technology devices by students with disabilities. Specifically, the bill:
- Recognizes that access to and use of the assistive technology device is essential for a student moving from school to home and community;
- Allows an individualized plan for employment to be one of the plans that may serve as the basis for a student to retain an assistive technology device through a transition; and
- Adds the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice within the Florida Department of Education to the group of educational entities required to enter into interagency agreements with specified agencies, as appropriate, for the transaction of assistive technology devices.
[NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 371 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
SB 890 – Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation by Bean
The bill extends – from October 1, 2017 to October 1, 2027 – the repeal date for the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation (Foundation or The Able Trust), which serves as the direct-support organization of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Florida Department of Education. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 907 – is comparable and has passed one of three committees of reference.]
SB 1222 – School Grades by Bradley
The bill reduces the percentage of students that must be scheduled to be assigned to another school from 60% to a majority (over 50 percent) to allow a K-3 school that does not receive a school grade itself to be assigned the school grade of a graded school for which it is designated to be a feeder pattern school. A designated feeder pattern school may be eligible to receive Florida School Recognition Program funding and, for a charter school that is an expanded feeder chain of a charter school within the same school district that is currently receiving charter school capital outlay funds, may be eligible to receive a charter school capital outlay funding allocation. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 781 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, has passed the House, and is in Messages to the Senate.]
SB 1710 – Education/Civic Literacy by Stargel
The bill designates the month of September as “American Founders’ Month” and authorizes the Governor to issue a proclamation urging all civic, fraternal, and religious organizations and public and private educational institutions to recognize, observe, and celebrate the month. Specifically, the bill:
- Encourages all public schools to observe “American Founders’ Month” with appropriate instruction and activities.
- Establishes civic literacy as a priority of Florida’s K-20 education system.
- Requires the Just Read, Florida! Office to develop and provide access to sequenced, content-rich programming, instructional practices, and resources to increase students’ core knowledge and literacy skills including student attainment of state standards for social studies, science, and the arts.
- Requires students initially entering a Florida College System institution or state university in 2018-2019 and thereafter, to demonstrate civic literacy through successful completion of a civic literacy course or by achieving a passing score on an assessment adopted in rule by the State Board of Education or in regulation by the Board of Governors, as applicable.
[NOTE: This is the second of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 7057 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
The Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (1:00-2:00 pm; 110 SOB) to consider the following item and others:
SB 1416 – Enhanced Safety for School Crossings by Young
The bill requires the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to evaluate the viability and cost of a uniform system of pavement markings and signage for use on all state and local arterial or collector roads within a one-mile radius of all public and private schools for the purpose of designating safe school crossing locations. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 493 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
The House will be in Session (12:00 pm-completion; House Chamber) to consider their Appropriations, Implementing and Conforming bills on 3rd Reading. [NOTE: See Today’s Happenings above for a description of each bill. Also note that the Senate will also be in Session (4:00-6:00 pm; Senate Chamber) but there are currently no bills of interest scheduled for consideration.]