As had been requested by FSBA and other education groups, Governor Scott vetoed the FEFP portion of the state budget and called on legislators to increase total FEFP funding per student by $100 over the current year (2016-2017) level. Florida’s Legislature convened in Special Session 2017-A on Wednesday to address this K-12 funding issue as well as funding and policy relating to job growth, tourism, medical marijuana and other issues. With regard to K-12 funding, the Senate filed SB 2500A to replace the vetoes FEFP funding and SB 2502A which provides implementing language. The House filed HB 3A which combines both funding and implementing language to replace the vetoed FEFP funding. Both bills retain all of the proviso language that was included in the 2017-2018 budget adopted during the regular session and both bills provide an increase of about $215 million in total FEFP funding over the adopted 2017-2018 budget – an amount sufficient to provide the increase of $100 per student suggested by Governor Scott. While both chambers make some minor adjustments to funding for some allocations to reflect more recent revenue projections, the only significant difference between the House and Senate versions of this funding bill is the source of funds used to provide this increase. the House maintains the roll back millage rate for Required Local Effort and uses, instead, both recurring and non-recurring state funds to produce the $215 million increase while the Senate allows a slight increase from the roll back rate and adds recurring state funds to produce the $215 million. Please see our Comparison of the Senate and House FEFP budgets for more details on these budget proposals.
Controversy has already arisen over these budget proposals. As examples:
- Speaker Corcoran has stated that the House will not consider any effort to increase the the Required Local Effort millage rate above the roll-back rate as has been proposed by the Senate.
- The Senate has voted to override the Governor’s veto of the FEFP, stating that this step was taken as a “safety net” to ensure that funding will be available to school districts if the Legislature is unable to reach agreement on new funding levels prior to the start of the next fiscal year on July 1. However, the Speaker Corcoran has announced that House does not plan to override the Governor’s veto in a similar manner.
- Questions have arisen as to the need for a 72-hour “cooling off” period before legislators may vote to approve the new FEFP funding. In an abundance of caution, the Senate plans to allow for the 72-hour delay, but the House does not agree that it is necessary.
Due to these and other disagreements, a successful outcome of this Special Session is far from secure. We will keep you informed of developments on this front. In the meantime, please note that we have posted several documents relating to the 2017-A Special Session on our 2017 Legislative Session page, including, among other things, the Governor’s veto message and Proclamation calling for the Special Session and the FEFP Funding Summary for each chamber’s education budget bills.
Legislators will continue to work on their respective FEFP funding bills on Thursday and Friday. The schedule for Thursday is provided below. As always, please remember that you may follow committee and floor activities via live webcast on the Florida Channel and, for real-time updates, please click HERE to access our Twitter feed.
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The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet (10:00 am – 12:00 pm; 412 KOB) to consider the following items and others:
SB 2500A – Appropriations by Latvala
SB 2502A – Implementing SB 2500A by Latvala
[NOTE: Senator Simmons has filed two amendments to SB 2500A that would revise FEFP funding and revise funding currently provided in HB 7069.]
The House will be in Session (10:30 am – completion; House Chamber) to consider the following item and others:
HB 3A – Florida Education Finance Program by M. Diaz