Before diving into the sixth week of the Legislative Session, please be sure to watch our FSBA Weekly Video Update featuring FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina providing a recap of the main events during the fourth week of the Session. Today’s agenda includes consideration of the omnibus school choice bill — HB 7095 – in the House Education Committee. Today’s agenda also includes consideration of several other bills of interest including bills relating to charter schools, career education, early learning, mental health, curriculum, early learning, and safety. 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 Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee:
HB 441 – 911 Services by DuBose – PASSED
In pursuit of recommendations made by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission (commission), the bill:
- Requires the Technology Program within the Department of Management Services to develop a plan by February 1, 2020, to upgrade 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) within the state to allow the transfer of an emergency call from one local, multijurisdictional, or regional E911 system to another local, multijurisdictional, or regional E911 system in the state.
- Specifies that this transfer capability should include voice, text message, image, video, caller identification information, location information, and additional standards-based 911 call information.
- Requires the development and implementation of communications systems that allow direct radio communication between each PSAP and first responders outside the PSAP’s normal service area.
- Requires each county to develop a plan to implement countywide text-to-911 service and, by January 1, 2022, to enact a system that allows for text-to-911 service.
- Provides a mechanism for an alternative charter school to become a high-performing charter school, if the school received, instead of specified school grades, at least two school improvement ratings of “commendable” and no school improvement rating below ‘maintaining,” during each of the previous three school years, and:
- Applies the existing financial audit-related eligibility criteria to an alternative charter school that received the specified school improvement rating.
- Eliminates the eligibility criteria for a charter school to become a high-performing charter school based on the school receiving two consecutive school grades of “A” in the most recent two school years.
- Modifies a high-performing charter school’s existing authority to increase its student enrollment once per school year to specify that the student enrollment may not exceed the current facility capacity.
- Reduces the number of charter schools that a high-performing charter school may establish within the state in any year from no more than two schools to no more than one school. The bill maintains current law that authorizes a high-performing charter school to establish more than one charter school within the state in any year if the high-performing charter school operates in the area of a persistently low-performing school and serves students from that school.
SB 1132 – Funds for Operations of Schools by Simmons – PASSED
The bill provides that school districts will 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.
SB 1308 – Pathways to College and Career Success by Perry – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill primarily addresses post-secondary issues but, of particular interest to school districts, the bill:
- Requires the Commissioner of Education to conduct an annual review of career and technical education offerings in the K-12 education system, career centers, and the Florida College System (FCS) to determine their alignments with employer demand, postsecondary degree or certificate programs, and industry certifications. As a result of the review, the commissioner must:
- Phase out programs not aligned to the needs of employers or do not provide those persons who complete programs with middle- or higher-wage jobs.
- Encourage school districts and FCS institutions to offer new programs that are in demand by employers.
- Provide an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature summarizing findings and recommendations.
- Establishes, beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year, the Last Mile Scholarship program within the FDOE to annually award the cost of in-state tuition and required fees to students classified as residents who are in good standing at FCS institutions and state universities and who are within 12 or fewer credit hours of completing their first associate degree or baccalaureate degree.
SB 1342 – Post-Secondary Education by Secondary Students by Stargel – PASSED
- Revises dual enrollment provisions in the following ways:
- Modifies Florida law regarding student eligibility criteria for participating in dual enrollment by changing the unweighted high school grade point average requirement from 3.0 to 2.5.
- Prohibits a district school board and Florida College System institution (FCS) from limiting student participation in dual enrollment, including early college programs, but creates a waiver from such prohibition based on capacity to accommodate all eligible students.
- Requires private school dual enrollment articulation agreements to include a provision expressing that costs associated with tuition and fees, including registration and laboratory fees, will not be passed along to a student’s private school of enrollment.
- Specifies that instructional materials assigned for use within dual enrollment courses must be made available free of charge to students in home education programs and private schools.
- Reframes the collegiate high school program as an early college acceleration program and revises related requirements, creates a mechanism for awarding bonus funding if certain conditions are met, and specifies reporting requirements for district school superintendents and the Commissioner of Education (commissioner).
- Specifies dual enrollment and early college program related reporting requirements for postsecondary institutions and the Department of Education.
SB 1444 – Education/Disqualification of Employees by Diaz – PASSED
- Requires the creation of a state disqualification list to be maintained by the FDOE, which must include the following information:
- The name of any individual who has been placed on the list by the Education Practices Commission (EPC) pursuant to law, or whose educator certificate has been permanently revoked by the EPC.
- The name of any private school owners or operators who have been permanently disqualified from participation in a state scholarship program by the DOE.
- Requires the FDOE to provide authorized staff of school districts, charter schools, the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, and private schools that accept state scholarship program students with electronic access to the FDOE’s disqualification list.
- Prohibits any individual on the disqualification list from earning an educator certificate or being employed in any position which requires direct contact with students in any public school, charter school, or private school that accepts state scholarship money.
- Provides the FDOE and EPC with authority to place individuals on the disqualification list for certain purposes.
- Requires the FDOE to immediately investigate, under certain circumstances, any legally sufficient complaint that involves the misconduct by an employee or contracted personnel in a public school, charter school or private school that receives state scholarship funds.
SB 1456 – Office of Early Learning by Perry – PASSED
The bill establishes professional development standards and career pathways for early childhood teachers and school readiness program providers. The bill requires the Office of Early Learning to:
- Identify early learning career pathways for early childhood teachers;
- Develop professional development training and course standards for school readiness program providers; and
- Integrate early learning professional development pathways into existing preservice and in-service training requirements.
- Renames “collegiate high school programs” as “early college acceleration programs” and expands the program from 1 to 2 years.
- Requires programs be made available to students in both grades 11 and 12 and specifies that the programs must include an option for a participating student to graduate from high school with an associate degree.
- Provides that a district school board or a Florida College System institution may not limit the number of students who enter dual enrollment programs, including early college acceleration programs, unless the commissioner grants a request for a 1-year waiver due to capacity to offer a quality program.
- Deletes the requirement for a separate early college program contract and requires each dual enrollment articulation agreement between a Florida College System institution and a school district to establish at least one early college program.
- Authorizes a district school board, charter school, or private school to establish an early college program with a state university or an eligible institution.
- Specifies that dual enrollment instructional materials assigned for use within dual enrollment courses must be made available to dual enrollment students from Florida public high schools, home education programs, and private schools free of charge.
- Requires that an articulation agreement between a public postsecondary institution and a private school include a provision expressing that costs associated with tuition and fees, including registration and laboratory fees will not be passed along to the student’s school of enrollment.
- Requires each district school board, by September 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, to post on its website information regarding earning college credit through the early college program and the associated cost savings.
- Provides that, beginning September 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, each postsecondary institution must report information regarding each dual enrollment articulation agreement it has entered into during the previous year to the Commissioner of Education.
- Provides that, by November 30, 2020, and annually thereafter, the FDOE must post on its website information regarding the status of early college programs.
HB 259 – Comprehensive Health Education by Williams – PASSED
The bill revises the required comprehensive health education curriculum for K-12 public schools to include instruction on the dangers and signs of human trafficking and techniques to recognize and respond to child abuse. With parental consent, a student may opt out of portions of comprehensive health education.
HB 401 – Mastery-Based Education by DiCeglie – PASSED
- Renames the Competency-Based Education Pilot Program as the Mastery-Based Education Pilot Program.
- Allows any school district in the state to submit an application to the DOE to participate in the program.
- Authorizes participating districts to approve and use an alternative interpretation of letter grades using rigorous scoring rubrics to measure student success in grades 6-12. Districts must continue to use a four-point scale for calculating a student’s grade-point average.
- Allows participating districts to determine and award one full credit toward high school graduation based on the student’s mastery of core content and skills without meeting the current minimum requirement of 135 or 120 hours of instruction.
- Requires participating districts to amend their student progression plans to conform to the alternative awarding of credit.
- Revises requirements for the statewide articulation agreement to provide fair and equitable access for students who graduate with a standard high school diploma and have earned high school credit through a mastery-based education program.
HB 403 – Safety of Religious Institutions by Grall – PASSED
The bill enables a church, synagogue, or other religious institution to authorize a licensed person to carry a concealed firearm on property owned, rented, leased, borrowed, or lawfully used by the institution. The authorization must be made for lawful purposes, including safety, security, and personal protection. Because the bill permits this authorization notwithstanding any other law, a licensed person who carries a firearm with authorization at a school owned, rented, leased, borrowed, or lawfully used by a religious institution would not violate Florida’s ban on possessing firearms on school property. Religious institutions and owners of property borrowed or used by a religious institution may continue to prohibit firearms as they choose. These property owners may ask a person carrying a firearm to leave the premises, and a person who refuses to leave after warning commits armed trespass, a third degree felony.
HB 7095 – School Choice by PKI – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
- Allows Schools of Hope to open in “Florida Opportunity Zones”;
- Allows Schools of Hope funds to be used for capital outlay and initial leasing and related costs and to compensate executive and regional directors until a school reaches full enrollment;
- Revises the definition of “persistently low-performing schools” to include schools that have a grade below a “C” for 3 out of 5 years;
- Allows additional facilities to house a charter school, and specifies entities that may provide land to schools within their property;
- Provides that FDOE must provide to school districts a list of all underused, vacant, or surplus facilities owned or operated by the school district that may be made available to a hope operator.
- Codifies the Center for Community Schools and its community schools model and encourages participating schools to become self-sustaining;
- Requires school districts to report on controlled open enrollment applications;
- Clarifies background screening requirements for private school personnel; and
- Allows a student to convert a Hope Scholarship to a transportation scholarship to a public school outside the school district.
- Repeals the requirement for an independent evaluation of public schools with 10 or more students receiving a Hope Scholarship.
- Revises provisions relating to charter school enrollment preferences.
- Provides that various entities may provide space or land to charter schools within their facilities, land on which facilities are located, or adjacent properties under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.
- Revises the eligibility criteria for a school district to be designated as an academically high-performing school district.
- Provides that a traditional public school that is required to submit a turnaround plan for implementation is eligible to receive up to $500 (rather than $2,000) per full-time equivalent student from the Schools of Hope Program.
- Provides that wraparound services provided by school districts include, but are not limited to, tutorial and after-school programs, student counseling, nutrition education, parental counseling, health services, drug-prevention programs, food and clothing banks, and adult education.
HB 1127 – Educational Employees/Disqualification by Duggan – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill:
- Requires DOE to create and maintain an electronic employment disqualification list (DQ list) with the intent of preventing individuals subject to disciplinary action from working or serving in an education environment.
- Defines individuals subject to the DQ list to be: public school employees, public school contracted personnel, charter schools, charter school governing boards, and private schools that accept students who participate in a state scholarship program listed in chapter 1002, F.S.
- Authorizes the FDOE to participate in the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Care Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse and provides that each certified teacher will only be subject to one background screening every five years.
- Requires certified teachers to meet the same screening standards as other professions that care for vulnerable individuals, like childcare personnel.
- Requires district school boards, superintendents and principals to report criminal acts or misconduct perpetrated by adults in specific circumstances on school grounds.
- Provides additional authority to the Education Practices Commission to place individuals on the disqualification list and to suspend certified teachers for criminal acts specified in the Florida Education Code.
The House Health & Human Services Committee will meet, 2:00 – 6:00 pm, to consider the following items and others:
HB 361 – Behavioral Health of Minors by Silvers
HB 363 – Public Records/Admission to Mental Health Facilities by Silvers
HB 601 – Public Records/Reports of Abuse, Abandonment, Neglect by Roth