Before diving into this third 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 second week of the Session. The third week of the Legislative Session begins with a particularly busy schedule today that includes consideration of the Senate’s omnibus education bill (SB 7070), several public and private school choice bills, and bills relating to student health, early learning and VPK, exceptional students, curriculum, facilities, and school personnel. In addition, the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee will discuss its education budget proposal. Today’s schedule is posted below and is updated throughout the day with the outcome on these bills after each meeting concludes.
- 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 Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee:
SB 7070 – K-12 Education by Education – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill expands educational choice and opportunity for low-income families, supports public schools by expanding student support services and reducing regulations, benefits teachers by removing teacher certification barriers and providing incentive awards, and revises requirements relating to the cost per student station and for school districts to qualify for Special Facility Construction Account funding. In brief, the bill:
- Creates the Family Empowerment Scholarship to help a specified number of students from low-income families attend an eligible private school.
- Authorizes unallocated funds under the Hope Scholarship Program to be used to fund the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship.
- Modifies the Best and Brightest Teachers and Principals Scholarship Programs to provide recruitment, retention, and recognition bonus funds to teachers and awards to principals based on the academic improvement of schools.
- Modifies teacher certification requirements relating to the general knowledge examination and requiring changes to specified certification examination fees.
- Removes school district requirements for an educational plant survey and cost per student station restrictions when local funds are used for facility construction.
- Modifies funding for wraparound services by establishing a categorical program to help district-managed turnaround schools offer services to improve the academic and community welfare of students and families.
- Promotes the expansion of community schools to engage and support parents and community organizations to improve student learning and well-being.
- Revises provisions relating to the cost per student station and the use of funds for certain new construction.
- Revises provisions relating to facilities projects funded by the Special Facilities Construction Account program.
The Committee also released an overview of its proposed education budget. A few key highlights include:
- Total FEFP funding at more than $22 billion, an increase of more than $1 billion (5.22%) over the current year
- Base Student Allocation set at $4,353.82, an increase of nearly $150 (3.55%) over the current year which generates Base Funding at $13.6 billion, an increase of nearly $600 million (4.6%) over the current year
- Required Local Effort at $7,856,878,313, an increase of more than $143 million (1.86%) over the current year (This reflects a partial roll-back of the Required Local Effort millage rate)
- Total FEFP funds per student at $7,778.79, an increase of $350.00 (4.71%) over the current year
- Safe Schools funding at more than $230 million, an increase of $68 million (42%)
- Mental Health Assistance funding at $100 million, an increase of more than $30 million (44.43%)
- Best & Brightest Teacher/Principal bonus program funded at $234 million (formerly funded as a non-FEFP item; revised as set forth in SB 7070)
- Retains the Funding Compression Allocation at $53.7 million, a reduction of $3 million below the current year
- In addition to these listed allocations, funding for certain private school scholarship programs will be funded through the FEFP (as set forth in SB 7070)
Although there are welcome and significant increases in several important allocations, there are also some troubling funding policy changes. Please keep in mind that it is still VERY early in the budget development process and adjustments are likely to be made in the coming weeks.
- Codifies early learning professional development standards and career pathways in law.
- Requires the Office of Early Learning to develop early learning professional development training and course standards for school readiness program providers and identify both formal and informal early learning career pathways with stackable credentials and certifications, which allow early childhood teachers to access specialized professional development.
- Requires the established credentials and certifications to align with the training for K-12 teachers, reading coaches, and school principals to the greatest extent possible.
HB 1193 – Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program by Grall – PASSED
The bill revises accountability requirements for the VPK program. In brief, the bill:
- Requires the State Board of Education (SBE) and the Office of Early Learning (OEL) to adopt an end-of-kindergarten screening to be administered at the end of the VPK program year and requiring the parents of children enrolled in a VPK program to submit their child to the screening;
- Requires the SBE to adopt a kindergarten screening and alternate, equivalent screenings to be used at the beginning and end of kindergarten to determine a kindergarten readiness rate for public schools;
- Requires each VPK provider to undergo a program assessment that measures, among other things, child-teacher interactions;
- Establishes a program score for each VPK provider that incorporates the end-of-prekindergarten screening, the evidence-based pre- and post-assessment, and the program assessment scores;
- Specifies that a VPK provider’s contract can be terminated for a period of 2 to 5 years, rather than 5 years, for failure to comply with certain laws or meet a satisfactory program score over a certain period of time;
- Requires the OEL and DOE to provide for a coordinated assessment system to track the progress of students in the VPK program through grade 2 in order to provide timely interventions and supports;
- Revises VPK student performance standards to include math skills and executive functioning skills;
- Requires the OEL to make available online professional development and training courses, that are at least 8 clock hours long, that support prekindergarten instructors in increasing the competency of teacher-child interactions.
HB 1197 – Charter Schools by Fischer – PASSED
- Authorizes state universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to sponsor charter schools.
- Repeals current limitations on charter schools operated by an FCS institution with a teacher preparation program.
- Provides that the board of trustees of a sponsoring state university or FCS intuition is a local educational agency for the purpose of receiving federal funds and accepting responsibility for all requirements in the role.
- Requires the Department of Education (DOE), in collaboration with charter school sponsors and operators, to develop a sponsor evaluation framework and report results in its annual charter school application report.
- Revises charter school application reporting requirements and submission dates for both sponsors and the DOE.
- Establishes operational funding and capital outlay funding formulas for charter schools sponsored by a state university and FCS institution.
PKI 2 – 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 three out of five years;
- Codifies the Center for Community Schools and its community schools model and encourages participating schools to become self-sustaining;
- Expands the traditional public school Schools of Hope grant program;
- Requires school districts to report on controlled open enrollment applications;
- Clarifies background screening requirements for private school personnel;
- Allows a student to convert a Hope Scholarship to a transportation scholarship to a public school outside the school district and repeals the requirement for an independent evaluation of public schools with 10 or more students receiving a Hope Scholarship.
- Revises the list of the types of facilities that may be used to house a charter school and allows certain facilities to provide land to charter schools.
HB 189 – Postsecondary Education for Secondary Students by Zika – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
- Renames the “collegiate high school program” as the “early college acceleration program” and expands the program from one to two years.
- Requires the program be made available to students in both grades 11 and 12 and specifies that the program must include an option for a participating student to graduate from high school with an associate’s degree.
- Prohibits a district school board from limiting the number of eligible students who may enroll in an early college 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 to establish an early college program with a state university or an eligible institution and authorizes a charter school to establish an early college program with a state college, state university, or other eligible postsecondary institution.
- 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.
- Requires, beginning September 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, each postsecondary institution to report information regarding each dual enrollment articulation agreement it has entered into during the previous year to the Commissioner of Education.
- Specifies that dual enrollment instructional materials must be provided to students in a home education program at no cost.
- Requires, by November 30, 2020, and annually thereafter, the Department of Education to post on its website information regarding the status of early college programs.
In the House Health Market Reform Subcommittee:
HB 587 – Medicaid School-Based Services by Andrade – PASSED
The bill aligns current law with the federal Medicaid requirements by removing the requirement that Medicaid recipients receiving services through the Florida Medicaid Certified School Match Program qualify for Part B or H of the IDEA, or for exceptional student services, or have an IEP or IFSP.
In the House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee:
HB 225 – Education/Military Uniform by Beltran — AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill allows a student to wear the uniform of a branch of the United States Armed Forces or the National Guard at the student’s graduation ceremony if the student has completed basic training and is an active member.
HB 1127 – Educational Employees/Disqualification by Duggan — PASSED
- Requires the FDOE 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. Individuals who may not be subject to extensive criminal background checks would be exposed by the DQ list.
- Requires that the DQ list be used by all public schools, including charter schools, and private schools that accept students who participate in a state scholarship program listed in s. 1002, F.S., to screen potential employees, contract employees, board members, or owners for past bad conduct that would disqualify them from being in an educational environment.
- Authorizes the Educational Practices Commission (EPC) and the Commissioner of Education (Commissioner) to place an individual on the DQ list.
- Requires the FDOE to place individuals on the DQ list when directed to do so by the EPC for reasons such as an individual has had their education certificate permanently revoked by the EPC, a private school owner’s authority to own or operate has been revoked by the Commissioner, or a private school operator’s authority to own or operate has been revoked by the Commissioner.
- Requires certain individuals to report and investigate credible allegations of misconduct. Those with duties to report or investigate include: superintendents of schools who must investigate all allegations; the DOE, which must investigate legally sufficient complaints involving misconduct; and the Commissioner who must, at a minimum, suspend and remove from direct student contact any individuals with credible allegations of misconduct.
HB 259 – Comprehensive Health Education/Human Trafficking by Williams – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill revises the required comprehensive health education curriculum 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 349 – Students with Disabilities in Public Schools by DuBose – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
- Defines terms related to seclusion, physical restraint, and mechanical restraint, and instructs when such techniques may be used.
- Prohibits placing a student in seclusion.
- Provides that physical restraint may be used only to protect students or school personnel, but not for disciplining a student and physical restraint may only be used for the time necessary to protect the student and others.
- Prohibits straightjackets and restraint techniques such as obstructing or restricting breathing or blood flow or inflicting pain to induce compliance.
- Requires school districts to adopt policies and procedures related to positive behavior interventions and supports and identifying all school personnel authorized to use the restraint.
- Requires each school district to report to the FDOE approved procedures for training.
- Requires the Commissioner of Education to develop recommendations to incorporate instruction regarding autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, other developmental disabilities, and emotional or behavioral disabilities into continuing education or inservice training requirements for instructional personnel.
In the Senate Education Committee:
SB 194 – Higher Education by Stargel – PASSED
The bill deals primarily with post-secondary issues but, of interest to school districts, the bill requires each district school board to notify students in acceleration mechanisms of opportunities guaranteeing college credit for specified examinations or for completion of dual enrollment courses.
SB 292 – Education/Military Uniforms by Lee – PASSED
The bill prohibits a district school board from barring a student from lawfully wearing to his or her graduation ceremony a uniform of any of the Armed Forces of the state or of the United States.
SB 318 – Child Abuse, Abandonment, and Neglect by Montford – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill prohibits the release of any identifying information with respect to any person reporting child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, except under certain circumstances.
SB 770 – Alternative High School Graduation Requirements by Hutson – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill promotes career education and readiness opportunities for students in public schools. The bill creates an alternative pathway, namely the career and technical education (CTE) graduation pathway option, for students to earn a standard high school diploma, and specifies related requirements. The bill:
- Requires students to successfully complete at least 18 credits to receive a standard high school diploma under the CTE graduation pathway option, and exempts a charter school that exclusively offers the CTE pathway option from application requirements related to district school boards but specifies that such charter schools must comply with the application requirements relating to the DOE.
- Modifies the 24-credit pathway for earning a standard high school diploma by revising computer science credit substitution for mathematics or science credits, and creates a mechanism for the review of the sufficiency of career education course standards to meet the Algebra I credit requirement.
- Revises the acceleration mechanism component for the school grade calculation for high schools by specifying that dual enrollment courses include career clock-hour dual enrollment courses.
- Creates the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program to enable high school and Florida College System institutions to offer applied learning opportunities for students in high-demand career pathways linked to occupations that will provide students with middle-level and high-level wages.
- Increases from 15 to 30, the limit on the number of CAPE Digital Tool Certificates that must be identified annually.
- Restores middle grades career education and planning course requirements which were eliminated in 2017, with some modifications.
- Requires district school boards to also declare a “College and Career Decision Day” to recognize high school seniors and encourage them to prepare for college and pursue advanced career pathways.
- Requires the DOE to provide assistance to specified entities in notifying students, parents, and members of the community about apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities.
- Authorizes school districts to issue an adjunct teaching certificate for a full-time teaching position, but specifies that such certificates are valid for a period of three years and are not renewable. The bill also specifies reporting requirements for school districts.
SB 934 – High Performing Charter Schools by Diaz – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill modifies the high-performing charter school eligibility criteria, and related authorities regarding increasing student enrollment and replicating charter schools. The bill:
- Provides a mechanism for an alternative charter school to become a high-performing charter school if such 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 3 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 2 consecutive school grades of “A” in the most recent 2 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 2 schools to no more than 1 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 1308 – Pathways to College and Career Success by Perry – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill provides for greater access to meaningful credentials that prepare students for additional postsecondary education or a career. The bill:
- Requires the Commissioner of Education (commissioner) 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 alignment 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 completers 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.
- Expands access to associate in arts (AA) degrees by requiring:
- The statewide articulation agreement to provide for a reverse transfer agreement to award AA degrees to students who transferred to a state university from an FCS institution before earning the AA degree, but have since completed requirements for the degree.
- State universities to annually notify students of the option in law to request an AA certificate if they have successfully completed the requirements of the degree.
- Authorizes a state university or FCS institution to waive tuition and fees for a student who was enrolled between 5 and 10 years ago, and who successfully completed all but the equivalent of 10 percent of the required coursework for an associate or bachelor’s degree.
SB 1316 – Civic Education by Brandes – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill expands and enhances civics instruction in public schools. The bill:
- Creates the United States Government and Civic Engagement course and provides:
- An option for students entering grade 9, in the 2020-2021 school year, to take one-half credit in United States Government and Civic Engagement.
- A nonpartisan civic literacy project as the laboratory component of the United States Government and Civic Engagement course.
- Creates the Florida Seal of Civic Engagement Program.
- Provides an option for students initially enrolling in a Florida College System institution or state university to demonstrate competency in civic literacy by earning the Seal of Civic Engagement.
- Requires the FDOE to include nonpartisan civic literacy projects when encouraging school districts to initiate, adopt, and expand service-learning programs and policies in kindergarten through grade 12.
- Amends the school grading requirements beginning with the 2020-2021 school year to include the percentage of students who complete the United States Government and Civic Engagement course with a grade of “B” or higher in the calculation.
SB 1366 – Education/Computer Science Education by Baxley – PASSED
- Provides that a student may substitute one computer science credit for one science credit, excluding Biology I, in order to satisfy the credit requirements to earn a standard high school diploma;
- Includes high-quality professional development for teachers to provide instruction in computer science courses and content to the existing training that a school district or consortium of school districts may apply to the Department of Education for funding to deliver, subject to legislative appropriation; and
- Increases the number of potential certificates available to elementary and middle school students by doubling the limit on CAPE Digital Tool certificates that may be included on the Industry Certification Funding List.
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 DOE to provide authorized staff of school districts, charter schools, the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, and private schools that accept scholarship students who participate in a state scholarship program with electronic access to the DOE’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 DOE and EPC with authority to place individuals on the disqualification list for certain purposes.
- Requires the DOE 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.