Most of the 3rd week of Legislative Interim Committee Meetings provided presentations on the implementation of legislation that passed during the 2018 Legislative Session. Of particular interest were presentations to both the House and Senate Committees on the implementation of SB 7026 – last year’s school safety bill. Please click on the files below for a summary of the meetings of interest last week and for information on recent and upcoming events.
(NOTE: You may access the videos of each of the meetings listed below by clicking on the committee or subcommittee name or in the Florida Channel Video Library)
This week, legislative committees/subcommittees received presentations on several areas of interest, including presentations on school safety, mental health services, workforce education, teacher certification, and education funding. Of particular interest, the House Education Committee and Senate Education Committee received presentations on the implementation of SB 7026 and the initial findings and recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) Public Safety Commission. The presentation by the Department of Education (FDOE) on the implementation of SB 7026 was generally positive and showed that the FDOE Office of Safe Schools and school districts were moving forward with the implementation of this very complex and challenging legislation. However, Sheriff Bob Gaultieri, Chair of the MSDHS Public Safety Commission, was much more critical of the efforts of both FDOE and school districts in implementing SB 7026 and stated that school districts demonstrated “no sense of urgency” and were “playing games” in implementing the legislation. Sheriff Gaultieri outlined several of the findings and recommendations contained in the Commission’s initial report, including:
- Provide greater authority for FDOE and/or the Commissioner of Education to sanction superintendents and board members deemed non-compliant, including the authority to impose fines, withhold salary, and suspend from office.
- Authorize any teachers who volunteer to participate in the optional Guardian Program.
- Require sheriffs to work with school districts who want to implement the Guardian Program.
- Redesign the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool (FSSAT) to be more detailed and explanatory.
- Focus on compliance and implementation of current law as opposed to new initiatives and more funding.
- Maintain local authority and flexibility to determine the best model to implement in each district, but establish a statewide mandate on certain policies such as FSSAT deadlines, active assailant policies, and general compliance of state law.
The House Education Committee meeting packet, which contains both the FDOE and Commission presentations, is available HERE.
In other meetings of interest this week:
- The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee had a presentation on Mental Health Programs and Services in Public Schools. The meeting packet is available HERE
- The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee had a presentation on Workforce Education. The meeting packet is available HERE
- The House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee had presentations on teacher certification and school improvement The meeting packet is available HERE
- The PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee had presentations on the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) and the Price Level Index. The meeting packet is available HERE
The next round of Interim Committee Meetings will be held February 4-8, 2019. The schedule for the meetings of interest is available HERE
This week, members will be receiving information about FSBA’s Annual Day in the Legislature & Board of Directors’ Meeting scheduled for April 3-5, 2019. This event serves to underscore FSBA’s role as the voice of education in Florida and enhance FSBA’s advocacy on education issues under consideration by the Florida Legislature. This year, the New School Board Member Academy, Part 2 will be held in conjunction with the Day in the Legislature. We hope you will join us in Tallahassee for these important events. Click HERE for more information.
This week also was National School Choice Week. Florida is a national leader in public and private school choice options including, but not limited to, more than 3,500 traditional public schools, more than 650 charter schools, more than 580 magnet schools and programs, five private school scholarship programs, more than 6,000 public and private school Voluntary Prekindergarten programs, state and local virtual school options, and a statewide policy of open enrollment. We hope that all school districts took the opportunity to showcase their successful school choice options. The FSBA Advocacy Subcommittee has been working with school districts to encourage the production of short, informal videos as advocacy tools to promote each school district. For School Choice Week, We are particularly grateful to the Citrus and Sarasota school districts for crafting terrific videos highlighting their exemplary choice programs.