Legislative Updates

2019 Bills to Watch

HB 121  Instructional Personnel Salaries to require a state minimum salary.

SB172/HB6001. Bean. Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation.  Abrogation of repeal.  This is known as the Able Trust whose mission is to provide vocational training for students with disabilities.

HB 189  Zika. Dual Enrollment extended to home school, private school and charter schools.  Changes program name to Early College Program and includes 60 hours of credit in high school to award an A.A. degree.

Comment:  This bill may be related to the expansion of dual enrollment programs supported by Academica through Doral College and Manny Diaz.

HB 195  Daniels: Religious studies offered in grades 9-12

HB 226 Brandes.   Mastery Education Pilot Program.  Districts may use alternatives for the award of credit and interpretation of letter grades.  Letter grades may translate to ‘outstanding progress’ to ‘failure’.  Fair and equitable access for nontraditional diplomas and transcripts must be reflected in postsecondary articulation agreements.

Comment:  This appears to be a means to provide flexibility in the number of instructional hours required for students who participate in a mastery learning program.  Current requirements are 120 hours for one credit in block scheduling or 135 hours in standard scheduling.  Mastery learning is often criticized as a low quality method to accelerate students in order to lower education cost.

SB 274 Baxley:  Require school board term limits

Comment:  This is an outgrowth of the Erika Donalds proposal that was withdrawn when the Constitutional Revision Commission’s Amendment 8 was rejected by the Florida Supreme Court in 2018.

SB 330 Baxley: Modify curriculum standards to add controversial topics.  This is a move to add comparative economic and science theories such as Keynesian and Heyekian economics and creationism and other religious views to the curriculum.

SJR 344 Diaz: Homestead exemption of school levies for senior citizens.  See also SB 562.

SB 402. HB 437.  Gruters: Allows retired teachers to be reemployed at same salary level.

SB 422 Cruz: Elected Commissioner of Education

SB 522 Diaz. Apprenticeship Program.The bill requires an annual report; develop an apprenticeship grant program.  The report changes wording from ‘young people’ to ‘adults’.  This grant program relates to s 446.051 (2).  The language refers both to a pre apprenticeship and an apprenticeship program.

SB 564/HB 399  Hooper/DiCiglie.  Truth in Millage Notices.  Property tax notice issues

SB584 Cruz: Ban for-profit charters

SB 586  Cruz: Requires structurally sound charter schools

SB 712 Cruz:  School Safety Funding

SB 770 Hutson. Alternative path to high school graduation.  This bill allows students in vocational certification programs to reduce math and science credits for high school graduation.  Students would need 18 credits to graduate.  Most students take 24 credits, but they may opt out of PE and some electives.  The current math requirement is reduced from 4 credits to 3 and one of the three can be in the vocational program. Thus, the alternative path would require only Algebra I and Geometry and one vocational math credit. Two of the three science credits could be in the vocational program. Only biology would be required in the mainstream program.

SB855/1454 instructional material  review of books  home rule:

SB 934 Diaz.  High Performing Charter Schools.  Revising definition to include alternative schools (typically dropout prevention) that have received a ranking of ‘commendable’ and no rank below ‘maintaining’ for two out of three years.  The charter enrollment increase may not exceed the facility capacity.  The number of high performing charters that can be opened in one year is reduced from two to one.

Comment:  These alternative schools very often have high attrition and low graduation rate.  Thus, achievement gains may reflect very few students.  Attrition and graduation rates should be included in the definition the rating.

SB 1028 Hutson: State control of local referendum fund distribution. Districts to receive a proportional share based on student enrollment, of local funds derived from local a referendum.  Currently, districts have control of the allocation of these funds.  Most districts do not share this money with charter schools.

HB 1197

This bill authorizes colleges within its service area and universities in different areas to sponsor charters in districts.  The rationale is that these post secondary institutions have career education programs that consistently change.

1224 Farmer.  Charter Employee Certification.  Certification by a third party nonprofit entity in specific business skills

SB 1410 Diaz. Revises the Hope Scholarship program for students who claim to have been bullied to apply to a private school and notify a scholarship funding organization.  The bill allow students to remain in private schools until graduation.  It includes a transportation scholarship.  Unspent funds can be carried forward.

SB 1444 Diaz. Disqualification List.  The bill requires the Department of Education to maintain a list of individuals with direct contact with students or who are members of a charter school board or private school employee who have been disqualified by failing the background checks as described in s 100.10(4).

  1. Early Learning Standards

1462 Education.  Date change on reporting to SBE.

1470 Diaz. Charter Schools. This bill sets up a Commission to approve certain charter schools i.e. those in a district that has three or more consecutive district grades below a ‘C’.  It also approves Hope charters for persistently low performing district schools, and those charters proposed by a business or municipality.  The Commission decisions may be appealed to the State Board of Education.  If the charter closes within three years, the applicants and their relatives may not reapply for five years.  If there is a criminal offence, they may not reapply for ten years.

Comment.  This is yet another attempt to set up a charter school system to authorize new charters.  It removes local school board authority in these specified cases.

1472 Education ESEA amendment to comply with ESSA Act.

SB 7030 School Guardian Program to arm teachers .  (Analysis by Sally Butzin)  This is a comprehensive bill from the Committee on Education, so most likely will pass with flying colors along party lines. Several items require further research and clarification.


·         There are several references to requiring the use of a “suspicious activity reporting tool,” “the school security risk assessment tool,” “develop a standardized, statewide behavioral threat assessment instrument for use by all public schools, including charter schools,” “Florida Safe School Assessment Tool,” all of which are required to be used and loaded on computers, including those used by students. This has vendor implications and needs further research. Is there just one vendor and who has developed these tools? How much is the cost?

·         The district school board shall withhold further payment of the superintendent’s salary if reporting requirements are not met. (Is this a fair punishment?)

·         Allowing teachers who volunteer to serve as Guardians (strongly opposed by the League).

·         School board may transfer categorical funds such as research-based reading instruction, instructional materials, supplemental academic instruction, class size reduction to school safety needs and requirements in the bill.( TERRIBLE. Another unfunded mandate.)

Good things in the bill:

·         Establishes a Statewide Threat Assessment Database to share information on threats. Restrictions according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

·         Children must receive appropriate evaluation and screening within 45 days of referrals. (Could be shorter, but probably a realistic time frame.)

·         District school board shall adopt policies to ensure the accurate and timely reporting of incidents.

·         Requirements of the bill apply to charter schools as well.


SB 7070. Family Empowerment Scholarships. Diaz.  This extends the Florida Tax Credit scholarships to the l4,000 students apparently on a waiting list due to the lack of funding by corporations.  They money would come from the general fund which should be illegal. The scholarship amount is set at 95% of FEFP.  The family income level is set at about $65,000.

Hope Scholarships

HB 7075 Sullivan.  PCB 19-01.  See also SB 1410 and SB 7070.  School Choice.  Create Family Empowerment Scholarships.  The House version caps income eligibility at 300% of poverty level or $77,250 with a 25% automatic expansion to $96,563.  The amount of the scholarship is set at 97% of FEFP.

Governor DeSantis agenda:

Revise Best and Brightest Program for teacher bonus

Reduce FEFP required millage for schools by .157 or 289.7 million dollars. Increase total FEFP to $7653, an additional $224 per student.  This is earmarked…$50 million increase for school safety;  $10 million increase for mental health; $423 million for teacher and principal bonuses.

Base allocation $4254.42 per student

Revise Florida Curriculum Standards/Common Core

Expand FTC scholarships to 14,000 students

Fund increase for VPK of  seven million dollars

Fund increase of $135 million for early learning readiness program federal program dollars

Pathways to Career Opportunities Grants with K12 and colleges, internships etc. $10 million

Facility maintenance: Public Schools $50 million; charters $155.5 million

Infrastructure $510.4 million to public schools, charters, post secondary

Expand scholarships for students with disabilities

For more information see:

Jennifer Sullivan Chair Education Committee, Eustis
Randy Fine, Chair Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Brevard
Byron Donalds, Chair PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee, Hendry and Collier
Chris Latvala, Vice Chair PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee, Clearwater
Cord Byrd, Chair Higher Education & Career Readiness Subcommittee, Nassau and Duval
Amber Mariano, Vice Chair Higher Education & Career Readiness Subcommittee, Pasco
Ralph Massulo , Chair PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee, Citrus and Hernando
Sam Killebrew, Vice Chair PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee, Winter Haven
Chris Latvala PreK Appropriations: Clearwater


HB 1: Hope Scholarship Program: Donalds. This gives vouchers to students claiming bullying or other abuse. OPPOSE
HB 161: Mandatory Retention. Cortes. Removes third grade retention due to FSA scores. SUPPORT
SB 294: Mandatory retention: Rodriquez. Eliminates requirement to retain third graders due to FSA scores.
SB 188: Charter school transportation. Steube. OPPOSE
SB 194: Limitation of School Board Terms. Steube. OPPOSE
SB 216: Schools of Hope Revise Enrollment Requirement. Book. SUPPORT?
SB 436: Assess Facility Needs for Emergency. Galvano. NEUTRAL
SB 564: John McKay Scholarship. Young. It is a voucher program, but the League has not taken a formal position on it regarding the district reevaluation of IEP status for these children with disabilities. NO POSITION
SB 668: Year round School for lowest 300 schools. Brandes This is a medium priority issue that we support for all schools, not only low performing schools. It should be a district/community option.

• Vouchers: 4 No Aid Martinez; Funding Services for private schools 45 Donalds; 59 Johnson
• Students with Disabilities definitions Voucher expansion: 15 Gamez; 30 Martinez
• Expand Charters: 71 Donalds Multiple school authorizers, 93 Martinez Create charter districts
• Local Control: 32, 33, 43 term limits, prohibit school board salaries and require appointed superintendent Donalds
• School Operations: 10 Gaetz Civics, 90 Class Size at school averages Levesque, Martinez; 82 Opening Day of school before Labor Day Heuchen, 89 Education Purpose workforce Washington

2017 U.S. Congress Educational Choice Bills

HR 610 King.  The bill would abolish the ESEA act and promote vouchers for private school

HR 899  Massie.  Abolish the U.S. Department of Education  (Massie, Amash, Biggs, Chaffetz, Gaetz, Hice, Jones, and Labrador)

2017 Florida Education Bills to Watch

April 18, 2017 Uupdate

Senator Simmons filed an amendment to SB 1552 which is called Best and Brightest and inserted the original HB 5105 language for School Improvement into SB 1552.  We opposed HB 5105.  We would now oppose SB 1552.

The last action on HB 5105 on 4/13 was to delete all and refer to conference committee.  Clearly it has now risen from the dead and become SB 1552.  I don’t see a name change on that bill; it seems to still be Best and Brightest but has language for School Improvement instead.  Maybe more will happen.
The school turn around bill we did support was SB ​2516 by Appropriations.  This bill was inserted into HB 5101 on  April 13.  HB 5101 was laid on the table on April 13.  It was the Just Read! bill.  The Senate now has a Just Read! bill 468 that we support.   ​
As I read it, SB 2516 School Improvement bill was submitted to conference and was in returning messages on April 14th.  Is it still alive?

LWVF Legislative Tracking Bills   This site has LWVF positions on bills.


SB 964: Billed provisions merged into SB 926.  Montford, Garcia and Lee, has teeth.  This bill would have a significant impact by reducing the number of state required tests as well as reducing the negative impact on instruction because it:

  • allows SAT/ACT for 10th grade language arts and deletes the FSA 9th grade language arts, civics, algebra II, geometry and U.S. history exams.  The FSA for grades three to eight remain along with Algebra I and biology.
  • allows paper and pencil administration of online tests.
  • eliminates the Florida DOE supervision of teacher evaluations and rules that tie evaluations to student test score results.

Two other bills would only move testing to the end of the school year instead of beginning state wide testing in February.

  • HB 773  Cortes, Donalds, Eagle, Fischer, and Gruthers.  The language of this bill is very similar to the language of the SB926 thus is a companion bill.
  • SB926 Flores and Bradley Bill amended to include much of Montfords’ bill SB 964.  moves testing to the end of the year but allows students expected to be proficient based on proficiency measures to take the state assessment once per quarter during the year.  It authorizes a comparison of SAT and ACT content with the FSA English Language Arts and Mathematics tests at the high school level.

HB 131 Cortes End Mandatory Third Grade Retention.

HB 0251 Hahnfeldt. Sponsor duties relating to charter contracts, funding and property.  Sponsor must honor charter liens etc. before property returns to district.

HB 253 Rep. Duran, D. Miami.  The Bright Futures Scholarship recipients must log 30 hours per year volunteer work.  It  already has a GPA requirement and repayment if grades fall.

HB 303 Rep. Daniels, D. Jacksonville.  The bill will allow religious expression in course work, activities, and personal attire.  School employees must be allowed to participate in religious activities.

SB 360 Stargel. Study Florida 8th Grade Reading NAEP deficit;  HB 0293 Burton. Middle School Study

SB 604, Simmons, increase maximum local district capital outlay millage from 1.5 to 1.7 mills.

SB 376, Simmons, share 1.5 local discretionary capital outlay millage with charters with 75% low income and 25% ESE students.

HB373  Rep. Grant filed a bill that would not allow districts to grant annual contract renewals, as some districts do, for teachers who receive an evaluation of ‘effective’ or ‘highly effective’.

HB 0479 Metz. Government Accountability. Requires DOE to notify legislative audit committee of audit violations

SB 0538  Clemons. Charter School applicants must demonstrate that they meet certain needs that the school district does not, or is unable to, meet and share results of innovative methods with district.

SB 0604 Simmons. Education Funding revises amount school board may levy from 1.7 and not more than 1.95 to include fixed capital outlay.

SB 0642  Garcia. May get an exemption from SREF.  HB 0559 Duran Revises calculation for facilities calculation

SB 696 Baxley.  Charter school financial liability.

SB 0796 Bean.  Revise charter school contract and funding.  High Impact Charter designation.  Priority to certain charter schools for grants.  High Impact charter management firms qualify as local education agency LEA (as a school board now is) to receive federal funds and capital outlay.  This applies to a district turn around school plan to turn the school into a charter.  The FDOE must give priority to these High Impact charters in its grant program.  It removes current requirement that charters must have satisfactory achievement in order to receive capital outlay.

SB 1362 Broxson.  Removes requirement to compare charter vs. public school data.  Creates High Impact Charter Network, revises testing requirements. 

SB 1474 Perry.  Teachers who complete an alternate professional development certification program developed by a charter school or charter management organization are not required to take the state teacher certification examination.  The bill adds a mentoring component to professional development.

HB 5101 eliminates the Just Read! legislation.  Creates a supplemental instruction category to be included in FEFP requiring districts to use the money for salary and turnaround strategies in an MOU with collective bargaining agent.

HB 5103 substituted for SB 376 Simmons.  Charter share in local capital outlay capital outlay funding.  Includes amendments by Farmer to insert ‘at the discretion of local school boards’ and regulation of excessive lease/rent as well requires facilities to be returned to a public entity upon dissolution of the school.

HB 5105.  Schools of Hope charters to take over schools scoring below a C for three years.

HB 7101  Charter school system; Title I funds; ability to expand charters  Analysis

2017 Education Issues to Watch

Senator Simmons, Education Appropriations Committee:  teacher bonus expansion, end local effort roll back based on property tax revenue for required local effort, reduce testing, extra hour for lowest 300 schools; intensive reading.  Questions to ask:  How to reduce EOC but maintain test score requirements for teacher evaluations; what is the impact of the extra hour given that lowest performing schools use Title I for extra hour funding?

2017 Education Related Committees

Florida House

  • Education Committee Chair, Michael Beleca and ranking Democrat Shevrin Jones
  • PreK-12  Innovation: Sub Committee Chair, Jack Latvala and ranking Democrat Joseph Abruzzo
  • PreK-12 Quality Sub Committee Chair, Jake Raburn and ranking Democrat Antone Bruce

Florida Senate

Tracking House:  http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/MyHouse/myHouse.aspx

Tracking Senate:  http://www.flsenate.gov/Login/Index/2017

2016 Florida DOE Legislation Summary

2016 Florida Education Bills Passed

HB 0189 Relating to Teachr Certification: Diaz

HB 0249 Culinary Education: Moskowitz

HB 0287 Principal Autonomy Program: Diaz

SB 0672 Educational Options: Gaetz

SB 0719 Education Personnel: Spano

HB 0793 Florida Bright Futures Scholarship: O’Toole

HB 0837: Education Programs for Individuals with Disabilities: Bileca

HB 1365:  Competency Based Education Pilot Program: Rodriquez

HB 7029: Relating to School Choice: Choice and Innovation

2016 Florida Education Bills to Watch

SB 1360  Senator Gaetz.  Alternatives to FSA

Florida graduation requirements.  The FSA English Language Arts and Algebra I End of Course requirements currently can be met by earning a concordant score on the ACT and SAT.  This bill also extends alternative assessments to substitute ACT/ACT Aspire; SAT/PSAT; NMSWT, CLEP, IB, AP and industry certification exam scores to meet FSA or End of Course test requirements in Geometry, Biology,  U.S. History, and Algebra II.

Extending the use of alternative tests, properly validated, is appropriate for students who are currently taking these alternative tests to meet college entrance and college credit requirements.  There may be practical timing issues.  Student grades may be calculated before the relevant test is administered.  IF EOC results are required as part of the course grade, grades could be significantly delayed in order to obtain the alternative test scores.  The impact of the alternatives on schools and students should be evaluated.

Grades 3 -8 students may substitute concordant scores on ACT Aspire to meet FSA requirements.  Grades 9-10 may substitute ACT or ACT Aspire scores.  ACT Aspire is a relatively new examination that was one of the options for the Florida Common Core assessment.  It is not clear what benefit accrues for adding this option to meet the state assessment requirement for these grades.  The use of ACT Aspire would seem to complicate rather than simplify the calculation and validity of student progress, school grades and teacher evaluations. 

HB 1135 Rep Mayfield.  Educational Accountability.

School grades should be reported as incomplete for 2014-15.  School gains formula should be revised to include maintaining a 3, 4, and 5 level as well as growth toward proficiency standards.  The impact may be to raise school grades for high achieving schools.  Schools maintaining a level two score also show a year’s progress but will not be rewarded because they are below proficiency. They are penalized for having students who entered school without meeting readiness levels.  Thus, they must do more to raise achievement often without the resources to do so.

HB 4047 Metz; Costello, Santiago/SB 1284 HukillRevise FEFP funding formula

Eliminates district cost differentials per the Florida Price Level Index that estimates the cost of hiring comparable personnel across districts.  The population cost average is set a 100.  Hillsborough County represents the median cost estimate.  Ten counties, mostly in South Florida, have higher than average personnel costs, and they represent nearly one half of the State’s population.

The impact should be carefully analyzed.  Currently the per student allocation is also adjusted by a sparsity supplement, declining enrollment factor, and property value differences.  The School Fairness Report gives Florida a grade of ‘D’ on funding distribution; the wealthiest districts have $1,000 per student more than the poorest districts.  Yet, students living in poverty cost more to educate.  The state can do more.  It received a ‘C’ on state effort defined as the proportion of education funding of the state’s Gross Domestic Product.  The bill’s sponsors are from Lake, Seminole, Marion and Volusia–not the wealthy districts.

PCB-CIS 16-01 School Choice

This is a rework of prior bills to create the Florida Charter School Institute which is designed to reduce local district charter authorizing authority.  In addition, it creates a high impact charter district and changes charter board requirements.  See post in the blog.

SB 0424 Sobel

The bill increases the background information charter proposers must provide.  It requires monthly financial statements the first year and evidence of financial solvency.  It allows districts to deny applications with history of charter failures.


SB 669 by Sprowls and Diaz

CAP credit by examination for students not enrolled in the courses.

Personal Learning Accounts can be used as choice option

School district finances must be released to public

Controlled  open enrollment revised to extend enrollment in any school with available seats within the state.

HB 903 by Jones

Bar the use of state assessments for teacher evaluations and student promotions for two years through 2017.

Require school grades to be based on a system that is “equitable, reliable, timely, rigorous, affordable, and rationally funded”

HB 0829 by Taylor

The purpose of the bill is to expand local control as currently authorized for charter schools to public schools in order to initiate innovation and implement financial efficiencies.  So what is gained in this bill?  It appears that facilities regulations would disappear and public schools would have flexibility in how they spend lottery money.

Will these changes help students?  Maybe not.  It targets class sizes by extending the school level average that charters use to traditional public schools.

HB 140 by Ring.

There are some good changes in this bill.  The 60 day notification of facility location is much better than the previous 15 day.  The requirement for independence of boards from management companies is MUCH better.  I am wondering, however, if this applies to management company subsidiaries as well as their foundations and real estate companies.  Financial and other background checks for proposers were approved by the SBE in rule, but this bill would make them law.
The requirement that school boards automatically approve proposals from high performing charter management companies is really bad.  Too many of Academica and CSUSA schools serve college bound, higher income kids.  These schools tend to be ‘A’ schools and compete with good public schools.  This is the problem in the Palm Beach lawsuit.  Charter proposals should serve an unmet need, not just duplicate a high performing public school.


HB 287  PRINCIPAL AUTONOMY PILOT PROGRAM by Representative Manny Diaz.  Additional bills:  SB 434 Garcia and CS/H 287

Three districts would be eligible in this bill to participate in a pilot principal autonomy program.  In each district, three middle or high schools with ‘D’ or ‘F’ ratings would be selected for a school turn around program.  These schools would run under the same rules as charter schools.  Each selected school would receive about $100,000 to train principals and other educators in leadership roles to participate in a University of Virginia program principal training program.   Principals must be highly rated and can choose their own teachers.  Park Ridge Elementary and Walker Elementary schools currently operate in a similar way in Broward County.

While it appears that the district retains fiscal oversight, the ability of the principal to subcontract to a private management firm is not stated.  Each school’s mission and student population must be specified, but again, how this is to be implemented is not clear.  Would participating schools be able to require students to apply as do magnet schools?  If so, where do currently enrolled students attend schools?  Would participating charter schools be required to adhere to district suspension and dismissal regulations?



OPPOSE  The bill would redefine school districts and local school boards.  Cities could form their own school districts or combine with contiguous areas and create their own partisan school boards.  The new districts could use their own city or county commissions as school boards. This could be a means for northern Pinellas to separate from southern Pinellas where the notorious ‘Faiing Factories’ are located.

Stargel SB 830High Impact Charter School Networks

OPPOSE appears to be a measure similar to other states’ takeover public school takeover districts.    The relevant section of the bill is “High Impact Charter School Network”.  It targets ‘D’ or ‘F’ public schools.

a.  It eliminates provisions for districts to modify charter contracts for charters with grades of ‘C’ or below.
b.  It allows the State Board of Education to grant charters directly for the new network and bypass the local school board authorization process.  Districts would not have oversight and could not collect current administrative oversight fees.
Gaetz:  SB 669
Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program for students with disabilities

Clemens SB 252:

Good bill that requires charter schools to fill an unmet need that public schools do not or are unable to meet.

 Benacquisto SB 0886

Senator Benacquisto has filed SB 0886 to establish a teacher transfer process for parents and extend school choice options to CAPE certificates.  The phrase ‘controlled open enrollment’ is deleted.  Districts must create parent choice option for teachers.


Murray HJR 767

A constitutional amendment that would lead to Florida returning to an elected education commissioner who would be part of the state Cabinet. Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, filed the proposal (HJR 767)

Diaz  HJR 759 Diaz

HJR 759 would change the constitution to allow the Department of Education to establish a statewide system for approving charter schools.  Currently, school districts authorize charter schools and the State Board of Education can over rule school board decisions.


SB     US Senator Lamar Alexandar Bill . Every Child Ready for College or Career. The bill reduces testing requirement and returns control to the states.  It increases funding for charter schools.

H.R. 4172  filed by Gibson and Sinema to reduce annual testing requirements

HB 5 The Student Success Act   John Kline.  The bill differs from the Senate version primarily over testing requirements.  It retains the mandate for annual testing.  It was pulled by the House on Feb. 27th.


Committee weeks:  January 5, January 20, and the first 3 weeks of February.  Session begins March 3rd

Senator John Legg, Chair Education PreK-12 from Pasco County  Committee Members http://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/ED/

Senator Don Gaetz, Chair Appropriations sub Committee on Education   Destin, Florida Committee Members  http://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/AED/

Representative Erik Fresen Chair Appropriations sub Committee on Education from Miami.  Committee Members  http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?CommitteeId=2830

Representative Marlene O’Toole Chair Education Committee from Lady Lake  Lobby Tools Committee Members http://public.lobbytools.com/index.cfm?type=committees&id=1538  House Education Committee Profiles

Representative Manny Diaz, Chair Choice and Innovation Subcommittee; Charlie Stone, Richard Stark (D)


Education Appropriations.  Budget proposal

Choice and Innovation Subcommittee

Education Committee


Early Childhood

HB 11 Pilon. Care of Children. Exempts some organization from licensing; provides some screening

SPB 7006 Legg and HB 7017 O’Toole. Revised terms: family day care to family childcare; add large family child care home; standards limited to supervision, transportation, access, health related requirements, food and nutrition, personnel, records, and standards enforcement. DOE must define and enforce substantial compliance.  Non public schools must comply to standards and be inspected; personnel background checks for arrests and previous employment; cannot transfer ownership to a relative if arrested; must have certificate of compliance with standards; 30 clock hour child care course; first aid and cardio pulmonary resuscitation; home rules training; annual CE of 1 unit; hire a general counsel and inspector general at Early Learning Coalition; best practices in other languages;

PreK instructor must have AA minimum; staff must be 18 years old with high school diploma; notify parents of class I violations; trained in developmentally appropriate practices; online training course on performance  standards for school readiness; check on absences after 2 days;

Pilot project to assess early learning skills using K readiness and FSA

SEE ALSO: Early Learning Coalition Legislation Tracking

National Council of State Legislatures data base of early childcare legislation

U.S. Congress S. 317 provides matching grants to states with preschool standards aligned with curriculum, degreed teachers etc.

Assessment and Accountability

SB 100. Bean. Student Assessment Program. Prohibiting a school district from scheduling more than a specified number of days for assessment.

  • Fl Election Brings More School Choice Backers, potential for New Coalition .  RedefineEd reports that the anti choice legislative coalition lost seats in the legislature. The legislative agenda will focus on technological change and student mastery rather than student seat time.
  • Lawmakers Press to Tighten Rules for Charter Schools.  This November 8, 2014 Sun Sentinel article reports concerns about financial stability of charters and the need for surety bonds.  Other proposals are being drafted including improved financial transparency and where charters can open.  Charter Schools USA CEO is supporting more stringent controls on the financial backing of charters

HB 483 Jones and SB 518 require pre and post assessment and revises kindergarten readiness

SB 616  Legg. Reduce testing time to 5%; adjust weight of achievement gains for teacher evaluations from 50% to 40%; develop district contingency plan for waivers to reporting state assessment results in 2014-15. Suspend 3rd grade retention for one year and allow district policy for retention.

SB 774 Montford requires implementation of FSA delays for technology implementation etc.

HB 875 Diaz (R):  The bill would rank all public schools based on achievement gains and exempt the top 25% from the requirement for certified teachers.

HB 877 assessment and accountability; substitutes for state assessments

HB 1121 Tobia: removes statewide standardized assessments

HB 1177 Dudley: accountability revises required assessments

1450 Bullard: Assessment; 1496 Evers companion bill

HB 7069 Accountability:  O’Toole.  opening and closing of school not earlier than Aug. 10;  high performing school districts, omit ELA in 11th grade and PERT; change in EOC test requirement; no test result reporting requirement in 2014-15. student progression criteria.  See also SB 688 Montford revises opening date 21 days before Labor Day (3rd Monday in August)  Passed and signed into law.


HB 37 Raschein; SB118 Hays. Voluntary Contributions for Public Education Facilities. Allows business to collect money for school facilities.

HB 319 Costello requires that sales taxes replace property taxes for education.

SB 818 recalculates class size at school average for public schools.

Charter Schools

HB 357 Diaz (R).  The bill would allow 6 districts to convert 3 middle or high schools to charter schools and create a charter school district.  The local funding referendum money would be allocated as well as 90% of individual school allocation. http://myfloridahouse.com/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?PublicationType=Committees&CommitteeId=2855&Session=2015&DocumentType=proposed committee substitute analyses&FileName=pcs0357.KTS.pdf

SB692 Senator Brandes has filed this bill  to make it easier to expand high performing charter schools in the state. See post.

SB 1036 Montford strengthens charter school accountability.  See post

SB1038 Montford requires charters to fill unmet needs and/or be innovative.

SB 1448  Legg.  Compare to HB 7037, HB 1145, SB 1552.

  • Requires district to enroll children to any under enrolled school including charters.
  • It adds disclosure requirements for charter operators, board members, management companies and financial history;
  • Revises regulations for governing boards;
  • Florida Institute for Charter School Innovation at FSU would be created to: advance accountability, quality and innovation; provide technical assistance for charter applicants; connect teachers to charters; conduct research.  This provision appears to be an alternate mechanism for authorizing charters. The Florida Schools Excellence Commission was ruled unconstitutional in 2008. Only districts can authorize charters, but this new approach stops just short of authorizing charters.

SB 1552 Student Choice.  Benacquisto.  Requires independent advisory boards; expands beyond district boundaries; allows double sessions; allows teacher change if out of field; notify parents of cost of instruction; district pilot program; FSU institute; high performing school expansion.

HB 7037 School Choice.  Cortes. Passed House.  Shares district capital outlay local funding with charters; FSU Institute to review charter authorization proposals; charter opening/closing;

HB 1145 Education.

  • adds career programs to choice options
  • adds parental information about average per student funding per school
  • open enrollment for under enrolled schools anywhere in the state
  • appy to transfer student to another teacher
  • may not assign higher percentage of low performing teachers to at risk schools
  • revises adjunct teacher qualifications

Students with Disabilities

SB 1157 Requires districts to keep parent acknowledgment of students form in McKay Scholarship Program.

SB 602 expands the Personal Learning Accounts for students with disabilities to include the autism spectrum.


2014 Legislature Session Passed a Significant School Choice Bill

SB 850 provisions:  This bill became law in June 2014.  Its provisions include:
Expand private school tax credit vouchers for families earning up to 260% above the poverty level.
Encourage collegiate high schools and programs in every district.
Expand career academies.
Provide personal learning scholarship accounts to families with certain special needs students.
Expand supervision of vouchers to other companies.

An article explaining the background for the bill appeared in redefinEd when Governor Scott signed the bill in June 2014.  See the Lawsuits blog page for an update on this legislation.  See also the DOE Technical Assistance Paper for SB850.