What is important to the Florida State Board of Education (SBE) this year? According to this report, the SBE is focusing on capital outlay funding, charter expansion priorities, streamlining teacher preparation programs, and online education. As priorities from different stake holders emerge, the negotiation with the legislature will intensify.
1. Capital Outlay. For public schools, there is a shift in how funding for school facilities is allocated. In the past, districts received a percentage of the amount of funding for facilities they received for the past five years. Since charter schools received priority, public school facilities suffered. The SBE proposal would instead allocate money to account for the actual maintenance and repair needs of schools. Funding would be based on the square footage and age of schools.
2. Focus on High Need Areas. Giving incentives to high impact charter organizations to come to school districts with areas of need, to help improve educational opportunities in under served areas. Easier access to capital outlay funding is used to encourage charters to expand in high academic need areas. In addition, rules for expanding charters are streamlined by allowing a charter management company to file one application for multiple schools. This latter proposal was defeated in the last legislative session.
3. Streamline Teacher Preparation. Requiring teacher preparation programs would be required to give a bachelor’s degree within their graduate programs.
4. Remove restrictions for entering K-5 online programs. Currently, children in 2nd though 5th grades must have been enrolled in public schools before entering a total online program. This restriction would be gone.