Today’s schedule shows only two meetings of interest but includes consideration of bills that could have a significant impact on school districts, including bills that address and school choice. Today’s schedule is posted below and will be updated throughout the day with the outcome on these bills after each meeting concludes.
[toggle title=”Committee/Subcommittee Meetings – March 14, 2019“]
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 PCBs linked below provides access the actual text of the proposed bill
- Clicking on the bill numbers linked below, you can access the bill summary, analysis, related bills, and other information
In the House State Affairs Committee:
HB 207 – Impact Fees by Donalds – PASSED
The bill prohibits any local government from requiring payment of impact fees any time prior to issuing a building permit. The bill codifies the requirement for impact fees to bear a rational nexus both to the need for additional capital facilities and to the expenditure of funds collected and the benefits accruing to the new construction. Local governments will be required to designate the funds collected by the impact fees for acquiring, constructing, or improving the capital facilities to benefit the new users. Impact fees collected by a local government may not be used to pay existing debt or pay for prior approved projects unless such expenditure has a rational nexus to the impact generated by the new construction.
In the House Education Committee:
HB 7013 – Interstate Compact/Military Children by PKQ – PASSED
The bill reenacts the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (Compact) which enables member states to uniformly address educational transition issues faced by military families.
PCB EDC 19-01 — School Choice by Education – PASSED
- Creates the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program (FESP) which provides scholarships to kindergarten and public school students in grades 1 through 12 and sets student eligibility criteria that include:
- Children on the direct certification list;
- Children currently placed, or during the previous state fiscal year was placed, in foster care or in out-of-home care;
- A sibling of a student who is participating in the FESP and resides in the same household as the sibling; or
- Children with a household income level that does not exceed certain percentage of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) which currently stands at $25,759 for a family of 4. The household income limit increases each year through 2021-2022 school year, beginning at 300% of the FPL (or $77,250 for a family of 4) in the 2019-20 school to a maximum of 375% of the FPL (currently, $96,572 for a family of 4) in the 2021-22 school year.
- Requires FDOE must notify eligible SFOs of the number of new scholarships awards available in a fiscal year — approximately 28,000 new scholarships for 2019-20 — and the deadline for submitting eligible students.
- Provides that students are are eligible for an initial scholarship on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to new applicants whose household income levels do not exceed 185% of the FPL or who are in foster care or out-of-home care and sibling(s) of a student who is participating in the scholarship program.
- Provides that the scholarship award for eligible students is based upon the student’s grade level and is calculated as 97% of the district average per student funding for either grades K-3, 4-8, or 9-12. The FESP is funded solely from general revenue through the Florida Education Finance Program.
- Provides that private schools that participate in the FESP must meet the same requirements for participation established by FTC Program, the commissioner has the same duties and responsibilities over private schools established in the FTC Program, and a participating SFO will be governed by the same statutory requirements as outlined in the FTC Program.
- Rrequires the AG to conduct an annual operational audit of accounts of each participating SFO, which must include a verification of students served and transmission of that information to the FDOE. The AG also must notify the DOE of any SFO that fails to comply with a request for information.
Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program
To align scholarship amounts with the FESP, the bill revises the scholarship amount for FTC scholarship students and repeals the sliding scale of scholarship amounts for students whose household income is greater than 185% but less than 260%. The bill also revises eligibility by limiting FTC scholarships to students who do not receive a scholarship from the FESP or another state scholarship program. The bill also revises the transportation scholarship for a public school student by allowing the student to use the scholarship to attend a public school within the school district, instead of only outside the school district.
Hope Scholarship Program
To align scholarship amounts with the FESP, the bill revises the scholarship amount for Hope Scholarship students. The bill also limits the amount of contributions an eligible scholarship funding organization may carry forward to 5% of net eligible contributions. Any contributions above 5% must be transferred to another eligible scholarship funding organization or if another eligible scholarship funding organization does not participate in the Hope Scholarship Program, eligible contributions may be used for FTC students.
Contributions to Scholarship Funding Organizations
The bill renames the Florida Sales Tax Credit Program to contributions to scholarship funding organizations, consistent with similar laws. The bill also revises the use of sales tax credits by maintaining the priority for FTC scholarships and eliminating the priority for GSP scholarship which would have been effective for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The bill allows contributions by motor vehicles purchasers to be used for FTC scholarships in addition to Hope Scholarships.
Please note that there are no committee/subcommittee meetings of interest scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) so our next issue of Spotlight will be available next week.