The Legislature will hold a second round of Interim Committee Meetings this week in preparation of the upcoming 2018 Legislative Session. Please click on the file below to access the full schedule of meetings and information on the bills, and presentations that will be considered. In addition, we have provided links to information about the State Board of Education meeting, the Constitution Revision Commission meeting, and the legal challenge of SB 7069.
Committees will receive several presentations and updates on a variety of issues including state PECO funding, school district financial accountability, hurricane related fiscal issues, mental health and substance abuse, and school discipline. In addition, several education-related bills of interest will be considered, including, among others:
SB 192 – Public Meetings by Baxley
Provides definitions for several terms; provides guidelines for boards to conduct permissible fact-finding exercises or excursions; and provides that notice is not required when two or more members of a board are gathered if no official acts are taken and no public business is discussed.
SB 272 – Local Tax Referenda by Brandes
Provides that a referendum to adopt or amend a local government discretionary sales surtax, including the school capital outlay surtax, which is held at any date other than a general election requires the approval of at least 60% of the electors voting on the ballot question; a referendum which is held at a general election requires the approval of a majority of the electors voting on the ballot question. [NOTE: The bill’s effective date is July 1, 2018, which indicates that it would impact any referenda held after that date.]
HB 165 – Threats to Kill or Do Bodily Injury by McClain
Prohibits person from making threat to kill or do bodily injury in writing or other record & transmitting that threat in any manner; removes requirements that threat be sent to specific recipient to be prohibited; provides penalty.
You may access the full schedule of meetings of interest HERE. We will provide a report on the outcome of these meetings at the end of the week.
At the State Board of Education Meeting (SBE) last week, SBE members considered several topics of interest including, among others, Schools of Hope, Schools of Excellence, and SBE 2018 Legislative Priorities.
Schools of Hope
A public school that is required to submit a turnaround plan for implementation is eligible to receive additional funding from the Schools of Hope Program based on the strength of the school’s plan for implementation and its focus on evidence-based interventions that lead to student success by providing wrap-around services that leverage community assets, improve school and community collaboration, and develop family and community partnerships. A maximum of 25 traditional public schools may be awarded up to $2,000 per full-time equivalent student from the Schools of Hope Program. The FDOE received 58 applications for schools in 19 school districts and chose to approve 11 applications for schools in 4 school districts of these as follows:
- Lucillle Moore Elementary and Springfield Elementary in Bay County;
- Lorah Park Elementary, Toussaint L’Ouverture Elementary, Homestead Middle, West Homestead K-8, and Miami Carol City Senior High in Miami-Dade County;
- Gove Elementary, West Riveria Elementary, and Palm Beach Lakes High in Palm Beach County; and
- Idyllwilde Elementary in Seminole County.
Commissioner Stewart stated that, in addition to meeting all eligibility criteria, these 11 applications were approved because they were judged to have the greatest likelihood of success. The Commissioner also announced that FDOE will reopen the application process and eligible schools may apply for the first time or may reapply (either with same application or revised application). The schedule for this second round of applications has not yet been determined. A complete list of applications, including the successful applications, is available HERE. Districts may wish to review the successful applications for information and suggestions for crafting or revising their applications.
Schools of Excellence
The State Board of Education is required to designate a school as a School of Excellence if the school’s percentage of possible points earned in its school grade calculation is in the 80th percentile or higher for schools comprised of the same grade grouping for at least two of the last three school years if the school meets the qualifying criteria. Schools receiving this designation are given flexibility in several areas, including:
- Exempts the school from any law or rule that requires a minimum period of daily or weekly reading instruction.
- Grants the school principal autonomy as provided under the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative.
- Authorizes instructional personnel to substitute 1 school year of employment at a School of Excellence for 20 inservice points toward the renewal of a professional certificate, up to 60 inservice points in a 5-year cycle.
- Exempts the school from compliance with district policies or procedures that establish times for the start and completion of the school day.
- Calculates compliance with the maximum class size requirements based on the average number of students at the school level.
Click on the link to each grade grouping below to access the list of schools the qualified for the School of Excellence designation:
2018 SBE Legislative Priorities
In other business, the SBE approved their 2018 Legislative Priorities which address, among other issues, computer coding instruction, Bright Futures Scholarships, and workforce readiness. Please click HERE to access these priorities.
You may access the full SBE meeting agenda, which includes links to these and other business items, HERE.
The full Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) met briefly last week to sort through more than 2,000 proposals that had been submitted by the public and decide which of these, if any, would be sponsored directly by one or more of the Commissioners. Ultimately, all but six of the public’s proposals were eliminated from further consideration. However, Commissioners may still choose to submit new proposals that may include ideas suggested by the public. As of this writing, Commissioners have submitted 21 separate proposals, some of which were inspired by public proposals or testimony. You may access a list and more information about these proposals HERE. For more information about the CRC, please visit the Education Legal News page in our Resource Room and/or the CRC Website.
Thirteen school districts have joined in a legal complaint challenging the constitutionality of certain provisions contained in HB 7069 that was passed during the 2017 Legislative Session. The plaintiff districts include a representative spectrum of the state, including large, medium, small, urban, and rural districts. The filed complaint was filed last week and focuses on two key issues: the requirement that school districts share a portion of local capital outlay revenue with charter schools and the establishment of Schools of Hope without local school district approval or oversight. You may access the complaint HERE.