Among the key meetings this week, the Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee held a Workshop on Public School Fixed Capital Outlay. The meeting included a presentation by DOE on the current funding and policies relating to capital outlay projects for traditional public schools and charter schools. This was followed by two separate panel discussions with the first addressing the capital outlay needs and issues facing school districts and the second addressing the capital outlay needs and issues facing charter schools. The first panel was comprised of five district superintendents – Sandra “Sam” Himmel (Citrus), Bill Husfelt (Bay), Susan Moxley (Lake), Bobby Pearce (Wakulla), and Rick Shirley (Sumter) – and the second panel was comprised of various charter school officials. The panel of superintendents did an excellent job of highlighting overview of capital outlay needs and issues. Click HERE to access the Meeting Packet which contains the DOE presentation.
In another key meeting, the Senate Education Committee considered, among other bills, SB 104 by Senator Brandes relating to Computer Coding Instruction. The bill provides that, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, high schools may provide opportunities for students to take computer coding courses of sufficient rigor such that two credits in those courses and the earning of a related industry certification satisfies two credits in sequential foreign language instruction. The DOE must report on the courses identified in the Course Code Directory that meet these requirements and the number of students taking advantage of this opportunity. In addition, the bill provides that these courses may be taken from the Florida Virtual School and requires Florida College System institutions and state universities to recognize the computer coding course credits as foreign language credits. The bill passed the Education Committee unanimously and has one more committee of reference — the Senate Rules Committee. The House companion bill, HB 265, has not yet been heard in any of the three House committees of reference. [NOTE: In other action, the Senate Education Committee passed SB 256 relating to the Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching and passed (as amended) SB 374 relating to Postsecondary Education. Please see the Meeting Packet for more information on all three of these bills.]
In other key meetings this week, both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee met to consider presentations on the Governor’s Budget Recommendation. We have posted more detailed information on the Governor’s Budget Recommendation on our 2017 Legislative Session page (click on the tab titled “2017-2018 Education Budget Materials”). As you review those documents, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The Governor’s Budget Recommendation is more a policy document than a budget – Since the Legislature has complete responsibility for crafting the state budget, the Governor’s recommendations serve as a guide to the Legislature on the funding policies that the Governor believes should take priority. While it is evident that the Governor’s Budget places a priority on increasing funding for public education, his budget relies on education funding policies – among others, maintaining the current Required Local Effort (RLE) millage rate to garner additional local revenue from increased property values — that are contingent upon the Legislature’s agreement to pursue them.
- The Governor’s Budget Recommendation is optimistic – It anticipates that there will be more funding available than is currently projected. This is partly because the Governor must present his budget recommendations for education before enrollment and state and local revenue projections are updated, but, to a greater extent, because it relies on revenue, expenditures, and savings from sources that might not be embraced by the Legislature.
- The Governor’s Budget Recommendation proposes $618 million in tax cuts – Most of the proposed tax cuts would result in permanent, recurring revenue losses from the state coffers, but some ($146 million) would come from sales tax holidays – including the tax holiday on back-to-school supplies — which would result in non-recurring revenue losses.
The Senate Government Oversight & Accountability Committee considered and passed several bills including SB 80 relating to Public Records. This bill would authorize the court to exercise discretion in awarding attorney fees and costs relating to public records enforcement actions when the public records request is made primarily to harass the agency or cause a violation of public records laws. Two other bills — HB 163 and SB 246 – also address this issue, but have not yet been considered in any committee of reference.
The House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee had a presentation on Florida’s School Accountability System. Click HERE to access the Meeting Packet which contains useful information on history and elements of the Accountability System.
The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee had a presentation on the Governor’s Budget Recommendation and then continued the discussion of the House Budget Exercise calling for suggestions for reducing the education budget. Each of the Subcommittee members expressed difficulty and frustration in identifying areas to make reductions and most suggestions for reductions were from non-FEFP areas. The Subcommittee will release a report on its exercise results to the full Appropriations Committee in the coming week.
If you are interested in watching any of the meetings, please remember that nearly all meetings may be viewed via live webcast or archived videos on the Florida Channel.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
The House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee will meet (9:00-11:00 a.m.) to consider two Proposed Committee Bills (PCBs):
PCB PIEC-3 relating to Local Government Ethics Reform
PCB PIEC-4 relating to Local Government Lobbyist Registration Trust Fund
The House Ways & Means Committee will meet (12:30-3:00 p.m.) to consider:
Presentation of Governor Scott’s Tax Reduction Plan
Workshop on Local Government Fiscal Transparency Concepts
(Click HERE to access the Meeting Packet which contains Fiscal Transparency Concepts and draft bill language)
The House Education Committee will meet (3:30-5:30 p.m.) to consider:
Workshop on Turnaround Strategies for Low Performing Schools
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
The Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) to consider:
Presentation of Governor’s Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Budget Recommendations
Discussion of Programs for Struggling Schools and Students
Discussion of Physical Education and Recess for Elementary Schools
The House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee will meet (1:00-3:00 p.m.) to consider:
Presentations on Closing the Achievement Gap
The House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee will meet (3:30-6:00 p.m.) to consider:
Presentation on Civics Education
Workshop on Teacher Certification
Thursday, February 16, 2017
The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) to consider:
Review and Discussion of Data Collected from Recurring Appropriations Project Forms
The Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (9:00-10:30 a.m.) to consider:
In addition, the State Board of Education will meet (9:00 a.m.-N/A) at the Alachua County School Board Office in Gainesville. Click HERE to access the agenda.