As we near the mid-point of the Session, time is growing short for bills that haven’t been heard in their committees/subcommittees of reference so today we see a flurry of activity to consider bills that have been waiting for first hearings while others are completing work in their committees/subcommittees of reference and soon will be ready for consideration on the floor of their respective chambers. Today’s agenda includes consideration of the Senate’s school safety bill that was postponed last week — SB 7030. Other bills of interest include bills relating to capital and operating funding, charter schools, curriculum, instructional materials, and ethics. Today’s schedule is posted below and is updated to show 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 Committee:
SB 296 – District Millage Elections by Montford – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill increases the number of years for which a district school board may levy, by local referendum or in a general election, additional millage for school operational purposes from a maximum of 4 years to a maximum of 10 years.
SB 354 – Immunization Registry by Montford – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
- Directs certain health care practitioners to report vaccination administration data to the Department of Health (DOH) immunization registry when vaccinating children up to 18 years of age or college or university students at a college or university health center who are 19 to 23 years of age.
- Permits a parent or guardian of a child up to 18 years of age or a college or university student 19 to 23 years of age to refuse to be included in the immunization registry.
- Directs school boards and private school governing bodies to establish and enforce a policy requiring that before a child may attend a public or private school, the child must have on file a Florida Certification of Immunization (FCI) with the DOH immunization registry. Any child who does not participate in the immunization registry must present or have on file with the school an FCI form, which will be a part of the student’s permanent record and be transferred with the student if the student transfers.
- Provides that school boards and private school governing bodies must establish and enforce a policy requiring appropriate scoliosis screening at the proper age.
SB 1120 – Corporal Punishment in Public Schools by Taddeo – PASSED
The bill removes corporal punishment on a student and the related procedures from the disciplinary options provided to a teacher, school principal, and the school board and conforms cross references as a result of this change.
SB 1132 – Funds for Operations of Schools by Simmons – PASSED
The bill provides for school districts to receive additional funding through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) for each student who receives an Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma in addition to a standard high school diploma.
SB 1224 – Charter School Employees by Farmer – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill was substantially amended by a strike-all amendment but, in brief, the bill:
- Revises charter school application deadline requirements.
- Authorizes certain charter school applicants to open charter schools before a specified timeframe and after approval.
- Prohibits specified individuals and entities from submitting an application to open a charter school for specified periods of time.
- Requires charter school principal, governing board member, chief financial officer, or their equivalent, to meet certain certification requirements.
- Authorizes virtual charter schools to provide part-time virtual instruction for certain students and that a charter school may be an approved provider.
- Revises fingerprint filing requirements for charter school instructional and non-instructional personnel and provides that fingerprints and background checks of such personnel who meet certain requirements are valid for a specified period of time in all school districts.
SB 1284 – District Cost Differential by Diaz – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill:
- Requires the DCD to be calculated by utilizing a wage level index developed by the Department of Education in consultation with specified informed stakeholders
- Provides that the DCD would be calculated by multiplying the most recent 3-year average wage level index for each school district by 0.008 and then adding 0.200 to the product.
- Eliminates the requirement for the Commissioner of Education to annually compute the DCD for each school district by utilizing the Florida Price Level Index.
- Provides that the current methodology for calculating the DCD will be used through the 2019-2020 school year.
SB 1456 – Office of Early Learning by Perry – PASSED
The bill establishes professional development standards and career pathways for early childhood teachers and school readiness program providers. The bill requires the Office of Early Learning to:
- Identify early learning career pathways for early childhood teachers;
- Develop professional development training and course standards for school readiness program providers; and
- Integrate early learning professional development pathways into existing preservice and inservice training requirements.
SB 1470 – Charter Schools by Diaz – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill:
- Renames the Charter School Appeal Commission the Charter School Commission (CSC).
- Authorizes the CSC to review applications from Schools of Hope and High Performing Charter Schools and maintain duties related to charter application appeals.
- Adds the CSC to requirements relating to sponsor review of charter applications.
- Requires the CSC to submit recommendations for approval or denial of specified charter applications to the State Board of Education for approval.
- Establishes a sponsor and applicant appeals process for CSC recommendations to approve or deny an application, and requires state board action on an appeal.
- Establishes penalties for specified charter school personnel or entities if:
- A charter is terminated or a charter school closes mid-year or within three years of beginning operations.
- Such personnel or entities are convicted of a crime, including, but not limited to, fraud or financial offenses related to the operation of a charter school.
- Increases the number of social studies credits needed to earn a standard high school diploma to three and one-half credits to include one-half-credit in financial literacy as a separate course.
- Adds financial literacy to those courses that may be satisfied by passing an assessment aligned to the state’s financial literacy standards.
- Limits taking the financial literacy course or passing the assessment to those students in grades 11 and 12.
- Provides that the financial literacy course requirement can be fulfilled by passing a course or an assessment aligned to the state’s financial literacy standards.
- Decreases the number of elective credits from eight to seven and one-half credits required for graduation in order to maintain the required total of 24 credits students must successfully complete to earn a standard high school diploma.
- Adds middle school course requirements to those that may be satisfied by passing an end-of-course (EOC) assessment, an Advanced Placement (AP) examination, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or any other appropriate assessment identified in rule by the State Board of Education.
HB 855 – Instructional Materials by Hill
- Requires a school principal to notify parents of students about the content of reproductive health instructional materials at least 10 days in advance of student exposure to such materials.
- Requires that the list of current instructional materials each school board provides on its website to include, at a minimum, the title, author, and ISBN number if available, for all instructional materials.
- Requires school districts to provide supplemental instructional materials and create a policy for the use of such materials in the classroom.
- Requires the Commissioner of Education (Commissioner) to conduct a review of the school district processes for evaluating materials that are not included on the state-adopted list.
- Provides that the Commissioner must provide a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 31, 2020 that includes:
- statistics regarding how many materials have been removed by school districts as a result of the review process in s. 1006.283, F.S.;
- identification of instructional materials with confirmed, factual errors and any corrective measures taken; and
- recommendations on how the public can review materials not on the state-adopted list, including library materials, books included on summer readings lists, and books available for purchase at book fairs.
In the Senate Infrastructure & Security Committee:
SB 7030 – School Safety & Security by Education – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill builds upon the school safety and security foundation established in SB 7026 by addressing the school safety and security recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, and strengthening accountability and compliance oversight authority. The bill:
- Improves school security measures by:
- Establishing a workgroup to review campus hardening policies and recommend a prioritized list of strategies for implementation and related policy and funding enhancements;
- Prioritizing the use of the school security risk assessment tool;
- Expanding the personnel who may serve as a school district’s school safety specialist to include certain law enforcement officers employed by the sheriff’s office; and
- Expanding school district options and eligibility for participation in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program.
- Enhances student safety by:
- Requiring improved school safety incident reporting;
- Promoting the FortifyFL mobile suspicious activity reporting tool;
- Expediting services for students with mental or behavioral disorders;
- Requiring active assailant response policies;
- Establishing a standardizing behavioral threat assessment instrument; and
- Establishing a workgroup to make recommendations regarding the development of a statewide threat assessment database.
- Provides school districts with greater flexibility to improve school safety by authorizing the transfer of additional categorical funds within the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) towards school safety expenditures.
- Adds school guardians to the list of officials the false personation of whom is prohibited and subject to criminal penalties.
In the House Local, Federal, & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee:
HB 225 – Education/Military Uniform by Beltran – PASSED
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 high school graduation ceremony if the student has completed basic training and is an active member of the service.
HB 269 – Senior Citizen & Teacher Property Tax Protection by Bush — PASSED
- Prohibits tax collectors from including on any form, assessing, or collecting fees, charges, taxes, or assessments pertaining to property for which the taxes have become delinquent if the taxpayer is a qualifying senior or public school teacher.
- Prohibits a tax collector from using the services of a debt collection entity to collect delinquent fees, charges, taxes, or assessments against real property owned by a qualifying senior.
- Prohibits a tax collector from selling any tax certificate for delinquent taxes or assessments if the property is owned by a qualifying senior.
- Directs the Department of Revenue to assist tax collectors to identify mechanisms, strategies, and funding sources to assist qualifying