The At-Large Budget Conference Committee met at 5:30 p.m. last night to discuss several silos. The only education issue that was included in the conference committee meeting was an offer by the Senate for Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO). The House accepted the Senate offer at the meeting so barring unforeseen problems, PECO is now closed out. The total amount of money from the PECO trust fund allocated is $353,600,000 and included expenditures for Higher Education. Expand the toggle below for details.
The K-12 issues included in the PECO allocation includes the items below.
- Charter School Maintenance Funding – $169,600,000
Special Facilities (Assistance to small districts).
- Gilchrist (Year 3 of 3) – $7,205,344
- Baker (Year 1 of 3) – $8,504,580
- Levy (Year 1 of 3) – $12,416,164
- Bradford (Year 1 of 3) – $13,178,063
There were two Appropriations Project requests that were funded from the PECO dollars.
- Hernando County District School Board – Career Certificate and Dual Enrollment requested $9,350,000 and funded at $4,761,570
- Manatee County District School Board – Manatee Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Requested $2,000,000 and funde3d at $2,000,000
Please note that the school hardening grants that were available to school districts last year ($50 million) was proposed by the House but is not funded from PECO dollars for this year. There is a possibility that money will be made available from other sources of funding. However, that has not been agreed to and we do not yet know if it will occur.
We expect that the budget chairs will meet again sometime Friday although no time was announced. At the press briefing after the Senate session Thursday, President Bill Galvano said that both the House and Senate intend to move forward with the teacher salary enhancement proposal (most likely at around the $500 million) and that will not be impacted by the legislature’s efforts to cut about $300 million from the current allocations to put into reserve due to possible needs created by the Coronavirus Pandemic. The legislature currently has more than $1 billion in their rainy-day fund and works to always maintain that level for emergencies.
In order to help reach the $300 million to set aside for the Coronavirus, the Senate took action Thursday on the tax package bill (HB 7097). The strike-all amendment that was adopted will reduced the package to about $57 million from the original amount of over $120 million. The Senate will take their final vote on the tax package bill on Friday and then it will have to go back to the House for approval. The three-day back-to-school tax free holiday remains in the bill as does the tax holiday for hurricane supplies.
HB 641 Articulated Mechanisms in Education (Simmons/Plasencia) was amended on 2nd Reading yesterday to include teacher salary enchantment language.
- The amendment included:
- classroom teachers as defined by 1012.01 (2) (a), plus certified PreK teachers funded in the FEFP to be funded to at least $47,500 or the maximum amount achievable based on the allocation as specified in the GAA and has a provision to fund specified teachers who did not receive an increase (or who received less than 2%)
- removes the requirement for the Commissioner to approve the pay plan– school boards must approve the plan and submit to the Department of Education
- exempts the teacher salary enhancement allocation from the scholarship funding formula
- Read full amendment HERE (engrossed bill not yet available)
- This bill is now on 3rd Reading for today and, if passed, will be sent back to the House
- The amendment included:
HB 7065 (school safety) remained in messages in the House.
- The House will need to concur with the amendments and pass the bill, or amend and send back to the Senate
HB 7067 K12 Scholarships is now on 3rd Reading in the Senate
- Senator Lee proposed an amendment to collect data from the scholarship schools to present to the Legislature, annually. The amendment failed 16 Y -21 N