As we begin the seventh week of the Legislative Session, please take a few minutes to watch our FSBA Week 6 Video Update featuring FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina providing a recap of the main events during the sixth week of the Session. In addition, this is a good time to provide a quick update on where things stand in the state budget development process. This week, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Rob Bradley and House Appropriations Committee Chair, Travis Cummings are negotiating over the funding “allocations” that will be available for each budget category — budget categories include Education, Human Services, Criminal Justice, Natural Resources, General Government, and Judicial Branch. Once the allocations have been set, the Budget Conference Committees for each category can begin the task of settling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. While the total House and Senate budgets are about $400 million apart (total House budget is about $89.9 billion while the total Senate budget is $90.3 billion), there is a wider difference between the House and Senate FEFP funding (the Senate total FEFP funding is about $22.1 billion while the House total FEFP funding is about $21.6 billion), so it’s clear that there is still a great deal to be resolved, some of which will be resolved once the allocations are set. For more information, you may wish to review our outline of the state Budget Development Process and our Comparison of the House and Senate Proposed PreK-12 Education Funding. We will keep you informed as the Budget Process moves forward.
Meanwhile, several bills of interest will be under consideration today, including bills relating to prekindergarten programs, career education, postsecondary education, curriculum, charter schools, parental rights, taxation, and funding. Today’s schedule is posted below and will be updated to show the outcome on these bills after each meeting concludes.
Please note that all of the meetings listed below may be viewed in real time via live webcast on the Florida Channel or may be viewed later in the Florida Channel Video Library. Also note that clicking on the Committee/Subcommittee names linked below provides access to membership, meeting packets, and other committee information; clicking on the bill numbers linked below provides access the bill summary, analysis, related bills, and other information.
In the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee:
SB 194 – Higher Education by Stargel – PASSED
The bill modifies higher education programs to improve state university data, to provide greater opportunities for transfer students, and to inform students of college credit opportunities through examinations or dual enrollment. Of interest to school districts, the bill requires each district school board to notify students in acceleration mechanisms of opportunities guaranteeing college credit for specified examinations for completion of dual enrollment courses.
SB 522 – Apprenticeship Programs by Diaz – PASSED
Subject to annual appropriation, the bill establishes a new reporting requirement and funding source to expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities. The bill:
- Requires the FDOE to report specified information to the Legislature and the State Apprentice Advisory Council regarding apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training in Florida.
- Requires the FDOE to provide information on its website explaining how a Florida College System institution or a school district may assume the responsibilities of a local education agency for the purposes of administering an apprenticeship program.
- Creates the Florida Apprenticeship Grant (FLAG) Program, which provides eligibility for grant awards to registered apprenticeship program sponsors who do not require assistance from a career educational institution.
- Assigns to the FDOE the responsibility for the administration and supervision of related and supplemental education and training of apprentices whose apprenticeship programs have received a FLAG Program award.
SB 798 – Baccalaureate Degree Access by Mayfield – PASSED
The bill removes the prohibition on an FCS institution that offers a baccalaureate degree from participating in intercollegiate athletics beyond the 2-year level to authorize an FCS institution to participate in intercollegiate athletics at the 4-year level. This allows FCS institutions to choose to participate in intercollegiate athletics at either the 2-year or 4-year level.
SB 1164 – Post-Secondary Fee Waivers by Gainer – PASSED
The bill authorizes certain Florida College System (FCS) institutions to waive out-of-state fees for students under certain conditions for the purpose of recruiting students. The bill:
- Provides that a FCS institution that serves counties directly impacted by a hurricane, and whose enrollment decreases by more than 10% as a result of such impact, may waive the out-of-state fees for the purpose of recruiting students for a period of three years, beginning 180 days after the date on which the hurricane directly impacted the counties served by the FCS institution.
- Provides that a student who qualifies for the hurricane-related out-of-state fee waiver is eligible to receive the waiver for up to 110% of the number of credit hours required for the degree or certificate program in which the student is enrolled.
- Specifies that such student may not dis-enroll from the FCS institution for more than one semester.
- Provides that each FCS institution must report to the State Board of Education the number and value of all hurricane-related out-of-state fee waivers granted annually.
- Provides that out-of-state students enrolled under the hurricane-related out-of-state fee waiver must not be included in the FCS institutions’ enrollment totals by the Education Estimating Conference on Florida College System Enrollment.
SB 1198 – School District Fiscal Transparency by Stargel – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill revises and clarifies language from a bill passed during the 2018 Legislative Session – HB 1279 — that is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2019. As amended, the bill:
Requires charter schools to comply with cost accounting and reporting requirements and budget transparency requirements that are required for school districts.
- Clarifies that the school district must report expenditures to the department on a school-by-school and on a district-aggregate basis for total operating costs provided in “School District Program Cost Reports” by category as specified in law, including subtotals for direct and indirect costs, total school costs, and program costs as well as total costs for classroom instruction.
- Permits the FDOE to categorize schools by school type, age of facility, and any other category that equalizes cost comparability to determine groups of peer schools and districts.
- Clarifies that the FDOE is required annually to calculate the total costs for classroom instruction to specify that:
- For schools, this means school direct classroom instruction costs plus instructional supports costs divided by total school costs, and
- For school districts, this means total direct costs plus total school and district instructional supports costs divided by total program costs.
- Clarifies that the web-based fiscal transparency tool combines and compares academic achievement and the percentage of funds spent on classroom instruction for all public schools and districts based on cost reporting and student performance measurement calculations.
- Modifies school district budget transparency and removes the requirement to include graphical representations for each public school within the district on its budget items.
- Clarifies that the financial efficiency information be calculated pursuant to specified cost reporting requirements with a link to the web-based fiscal transparency tool developed by the DOE. Clarifies that the school district’s budget’s fiscal trend information for the previous three years is required to use educational funding accountability definitions in current law and the total instructional expenditures are to be calculated pursuant to specified cost reporting requirements.
- Clarifies that the fiscal trend information for the previous three years related to general administrative expenditures and general fund ending balances to specify:
- The general administrative expenditures as a total budget are the inverse of the total costs for classroom instruction as a percentage of total operating costs.
- The general fund’s ending fund balance not classified as restricted is expressed as the financial condition ratio, which is the fund balance as a percentage of the total general fund revenues.
- Removes the provisions regarding financial emergencies, which required the superintendent to reduce the district’s administration expenditures reported in proportion to the reduction in general fund’s ending balance or the reduction in student enrollment, whichever is greater if a financial condition existed for two consecutive fiscal years.
- Revises a requirement relating to the authorization of a district school member to be reimbursed for travel expenses to provide that each member of a district school board shall be allowed, from the district school fund, reimbursement of travel expenses provided that any travel outside the state (rather than travel outside the district that exceeds $500) requires prior approval by the district school board to confirm that such travel is for official business of the school district and complies with rules of the State Board of Education.
- Removes obsolete language.
SB 1366 – Education/Computer Science Education by Baxley – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill promotes options for education in computer science, revises provisions relating to virtual instruction, and amends provisions related to required health education instruction. The bill:
- Provides that a student may substitute one computer science credit for one science credit, excluding Biology I, in order to satisfy the credit requirements to earn a standard high school diploma;
- Adds high-quality professional development for teachers to provide instruction in computer science courses to the existing training that a school district or consortium of school districts may apply to the FDOE for funding to deliver, subject to legislative appropriation;
- Increases the number of potential certificates available to elementary and middle school students by doubling the limit on CAPE Digital Tool certificates that may be included on the Industry Certification Funding List.
- Revises criteria for virtual education providers to be approved by the FDOE to include additional means for demonstrating successful experience.
- Extends the validity of conditional approval of a virtual education provider from 1 year to 2 years.
- Amends provisions relating to parental rights to provide that a public school student whose parent makes a written request to the school principal shall be exempted from any portion of the comprehensive health education required which the parent finds objectionable.
- Revises the content of the required comprehensive health education instruction by deleting portions of the required instruction on dating violence and adding instruction on techniques for students and teachers to recognize, prevent, and respond to child abuse and instruction on the dangers and warning signs of human trafficking
SB 1470 – Charter Schools by Diaz – PASSED
- Renames the Charter School Appeal Commission to the Charter School Commission (CSC).
- Provides that the CSC retains the responsibilities related to an applicant’s appeal of the sponsor’s denial of an application and adds responsibilities to the CSC to require:
- The CSC to review applications from a high-performing charter school seeking to replicate, a high-performing charter school system seeking to replicate, and a hope operator and assist the commissioner with specified appeals.
- The commissioner to appoint the number of members sufficient to ensure no conflict of interest exists for application review, as well as for appeal decisions.
- That, for members reviewing a charter application, one-half must represent charter schools and one-half must represent sponsors.
- Requires the CSC, in addition to the sponsor, to:
- Recommend denial of an application that does not propose a reading curriculum that is consistent with effective teaching strategies grounded in scientifically based reading research.
- Consider specified information relating to applicants, education service providers, and school closure and financial history in making a final determination on the application.
- Review all charter applications using the evaluation instrument developed by the FDOE.
- Receive and consider a charter school application by a specified timeline.
- Not charge a fee for consideration of an application or base its decision on the promise of future payments of any kind.
- Allow an applicant, upon written notification, seven days to make technical corrections to the application.
- Requires the CSC to submit its recommendation for approval of a charter school application to the state board for approval. Therefore, the CSC does not approve or deny an application, but instead recommends approval or denial to the state board.
- Adds the CSC to charter approval requirements currently assigned to the sponsor.
- Specifies an appeals process for sponsors and applicants for applications submitted to the CSC.
- Establishes penalties for specified charter school personnel or entities if:
- A sponsor chooses not to renew or to terminate a charter, or a charter school closes mid-year or within one year of beginning operations, except for closures due to consolidation.
- Such personnel or entities are convicted of a crime, including, but not limited to, fraud or financial offenses related to the operation of a charter school.
in the House Appropriations Committee:
HB 7123 – Taxation by Ways & Means – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill provides for several tax reductions and other tax-related policy modifications designed to provide tax relief totaling $102 – $114 million. The main tax relief provisions include:
- A reduction in the tax rate for commercial property rentals from 5.7% to 5.35%;
- A three-day “back-to-school” holiday for certain clothing, school supplies, and personal computers; and
- A seven-day “disaster preparedness” holiday for specified disaster preparedness items.
In addition, of particular interest to school districts, the bill:
- Provides that funds from the school district’s current operating discretionary millage levies authorized pursuant to s. 1011.71, F.S., are to be shared proportionately with charter schools in the levying district, specifies that charter schools must use such funds in a manner consistent with the ballot language for the levy, and provides that this provision would apply to collections after July 1, 2019..
- Allows the Department of Revenue (DOR) more flexibility in estimating a county’s level of assessment in one or more assessment years following a natural disaster in counties in which a state of emergency has been declared and to take all practicable steps to maximize the representativeness and reliability of its statistical and analytical reviews and use the best information available to estimate levels of assessment.
- Revises provisions relating to contributions to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program by taxpayers seeking a credit against insurance premium tax to provide that such a taxpayer may apply for a credit to be used for a prior taxable year before the date the taxpayer is required to file a return for that prior taxable year.
- Requires that a referendum to adopt or amend a local government discretionary sales surtax to be held only at a general election.
- Requires a county, school district, or petition sponsor to provide a copy of the ordinance or resolution to the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Governmental Accountability (OPPAGA) at least 180 days before the referendum.
- Requires OPPAGA to procure, within 30 days after receiving the ordinance or resolution, the certified public accountant who will conduct the performance audit.
- Provides additional requirements for a petition sponsor of an initiative to adopt a charter county and regional transportation system surtax.
- Provides that failure to comply with the above provisions renders a discretionary sales surtax referendum void.
In the House Education Committee:
HB 1061 – Funds for the Operation of Schools by Overdorf – PASSED
The AP Capstone Diploma is a program offered by the College Board. Students who earn a score of 3 or higher on the exams for the AP Seminar course and the AP Research course, plus earn a score of 3 or higher on four additional AP exams of their choosing, receive the AP Capstone Diploma. The bill provides for school districts to receive additional funding through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) for each student who receives an Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma in addition to a standard high school diploma.
HB 1197 – Charter Schools by Fischer – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill:
- Authorizes FDOE approved state universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to sponsor charter schools.
- Revises requirements for charter schools operated by a FCS institution with a teacher preparation program.
- Provides that the board of trustees of a sponsoring state university or FCS institution is a local educational agency for the purposes of receiving federal funds and accepting responsibility for all requirements in the role.
- Requires the FDOE, in collaboration with charter school sponsors and operators, to develop a sponsor evaluation framework and report results in its annual charter school application report.
- Revises charter school application reporting requirements and submission dates for both sponsors and the FDOE.
- Establishes operational funding and capital outlay funding formulas for charter schools sponsored by a state university or FCS institution.
HB 7055 – Career Education by PKI – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
To help meet growing workforce demand and provide students flexibility and options to pursue advanced career pathways, the bill:
- Revises the school grades formula to recognize career certificate clock hour dual enrollment and establishes formal career dual enrollment agreements between high schools and career centers;
- Allows students with an industry certification to earn two mathematics credits for Algebra I;
- Allows a computer science credit to substitute for a mathematics or science credit and requires a biennial review of career education courses for alignment with high school graduation requirements;
- Requires the Department of Education to provide assistance in increasing public awareness of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities;
- Requires the elimination of industry certifications that are not aligned to industry needs;
- Establishes a “College and Career Decision Day” to recognize high school seniors for their postsecondary education and career plans;
- Doubles the cap on career and professional education (CAPE) Digital Tool certificates the State Board of Education may identify for weighted FTE funding;
- Reestablishes a middle grades career planning course requirement;
- Requires the FDOE to award a certificate of completion to students who fulfill specified requirements and requires that the certificate of completion specify that the student is workforce ready;
- Authorizes students who are otherwise entitled to receive a certificate of completion may elect to remain in high school to receive special instruction to remedy their deficiencies;
- Revises criteria for virtual education providers to be approved by the FDOE to include additional means for demonstrating successful experience; and
- Extends the validity of conditional approval of a virtual education provider from 1 year to 2 years.
In the House Health & Human Services Committee:
HB 587 – Medicaid School-Based Services by Andrade — PASSED
The Florida Medicaid Certified School Match Program (program) provides school districts and private and charter schools the opportunity to enroll in Medicaid in order to have Medicaid share in the cost of providing certain school health services to students that are Medicaid recipients. The bill aligns current law with the federal Medicaid requirements by removing the requirement that Medicaid recipients receiving services through the Florida Medicaid Certified School Match Program qualify for Part B or H of the IDEA, or for exceptional student services, or have an IEP or IFSP.
HB 1171 – Parental Rights by Grall – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill creates a new chapter of Florida Statutes – Chapter 1014, F.S. – that addresses parental rights. The bill:
- Provides legislative findings and defines the term “parent” as a person who has legal custody of a minor child as a natural or adoptive parent or a legal guardian;
- Provides that the state, its political subdivisions, other governmental entities, or other institutions may not infringe on the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of his or her minor child except under certain circumstances;
- Consolidates many of the statutory provisions relating to parental rights in the new Chapter to provide that parental rights include, among others:
- The right to direct the education and care of his or her minor child.
- The right to access and review all school records relating to the minor child.
- The right to consent in writing before the state or any of its political subdivisions makes a video or voice recording of his or her minor child, except in certain circumstances.
- The right to be notified promptly if an employee of the state, any of its political subdivisions, any other governmental entity, or any other institution suspects that a criminal offense has been committed against his or her minor child, except in certain circumstances.
- Provides that an employee of the state, any of its political subdivisions, or any other governmental entity who encourages or coerces a minor child to withhold information from his or her parent may be subject to disciplinary action.
- Requires each district school board to develop and adopt a policy to promote parental involvement in the public school system that addresses specified topics.
- Authorizes a parent to request certain information in writing and provides a procedure and timeline for such requests to be handled.
- Prohibits certain health care practitioners from taking specified actions and/or a hospital from allowing certain actions without a parent’s written permission.
- Provides grounds for administrative fines for health care facilities and grounds for disciplinary action for health care practitioners.