Representative Fresen refused to accept most parts of Senator Gaetz’s education funding plan. Now, the talks will escalate to the House and Senate Appropriations committees. It will be up to Chairmen Lee and Corcoran to hammer out a deal. According to news reports, the only agreement between the two was to avoid increasing local property taxes to support new education funding.
Senator Gaetz and Representative Fresen are meeting this weekend to hammer out the education budget. I received a list of Representative Fresen’s proposals. It shifts $430 million in projected funding increases from local property taxes to the State. The new per student amount would be $7,178.49 and tops the 2007 level by about $52 per student. This is long overdue.
There are increases in specific areas and as much total funding as reported earlier.
The two new bills heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee today were not really new. Senator Gaetz collapsed a number of existing bills into two omnibus bills. The recess bill did not get included. The limit on capital outlay for public school facilities was included.
The second bill relates to early childhood education, open enrollment, dual enrollment, private school sports participation, and charter school accountability.
These bills move on next week. A lot of negotiation will happen between the House and the Senate. The specifics follow:
Some education bills will die. Senator Legg, Chair of the Education Committee, will not convene his committee unless specifically directed to do so by the Leadership. Without the committee hearing, bills die. Some are still active.
I asked Debbie, our League lobbyist, had Brandes’ municipal charter bill died? I could not find it last night. I know it is hard to hope, but today it is much easier. When major legislators acknowledge the problem, change will happen. It may take some time, so keep on keeping on.
Read her response:
Senator Gaetz is thinking about what is right. He and Rep. Fresen (HB 873) are squaring off over charter school funding for facilities. Both bills would reduce the amount of capital outlay dollars public schools can assess through local property taxes. According to the Miami Herald, Senator Gaetz’s bill would also crack down on ‘private enrichment’ schemes that charter management firms use to build and lease facilities for which they charge exorbitant rates.
This session the legislature has bills ranging from accountability to discipline and sex, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The State LWV Florida sent out a helpful list of education bills that will be heard in committee tomorrow. The Tallahassee Democrat overview is helpful to understand the legislative priorities.
The Florida Education Association (FEA) filed a complaint against the Best and Brightest bonus plan. The complaint was filed with the US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations. This is the $10,000 bonus for teachers with high SAT and/or ACT scores who received highly effective ratings. Well, not exactly. First year teachers were exempt from the teacher evaluation rating. Not enough money was allocated to cover the $10,000 cost per qualified teacher.
The latest buzz is about the release of 2014-15 school grades without including students’ test score gains. This decision is attributed to Governor Scott. In a way, it makes sense. After all, we have a new state test. How can you report gains on a new (FSA) more difficult test using scores from an old (FCAT 2 ) easier test? Hard to spin those scores…let’s see ‘Down is Up”?
The real issue is the law on which the decision is based. Continue reading