State News

Senate President Pro Tempore David Simmons, R Longwood
Education Chair, Manny Diaz, R Hialeah
V. Chair, Bill Montford, D Tallahassee
Janet Cruz, D Tampa
Kelli Stargel, R Lakeland
Dennis Baxley, R Ocala
Lori Berman, D Lantana
Keith Perry, R Alachua

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE (includes Stargel, Diaz as chair and vice chair along with Baxley, Montford, and Simmons. Additional members are:
Anitere Flores, R Miami
Lauren Book, D Plantation
Jason Pizzo, D Miami

Jennifer Sullivan, R Mount Dora

As of February 4, 2018

PCBWM3 This proposed committee bill will greatly increase funding for educational services to private schools through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. The bill is now HB7087.

The House and Senate are combining bills and refining budgets. The two major education bills are SB2058 and HB7055. The Senate General Appropriations Act is SB2500. The other more specific bills, many of which are rolled into these two ‘education train’ bills are still active and can be amended and recombined.

CSHB 7055 is the committee substitute for PCB 18-01. It has 198 pages. Single subject bills are a thing of the past. Now bills are a hodgepodge which is a legislative strategy to force people to take the good with the bad. The summary of this bill has over 30 topics. The funding provision is changed from HB 18-01 tax credits for new car sales to a $9,700.000 in recurring state funds. There is language related to specific training for the military, and interestingly enough, provisions to investigate district school board members’ and administrators’ ethical behavior but are charter board members subject to the same restrictions and scrutiny?
This revision of 18-01 adds language to limit lobbying for two years by former superintendents etc.

PCB EDC 18-01 House Education Committee new ‘train bill’. See blog post.

HB 1 Hope Scholarships for students who have been bullied etc. to transfer or to receive FTC scholarship. High Priority Donalds Oppose
HB 161 Mandatory Retention Removal for 3rd Grade Top Priority Support Cortes and Mercado
HB 188 Public School Transportation no position
SSJR 194 and HJR 1031 Limitation of Terms of Office Steube STRIKE ALL AMENDMENT. School Board member may not appear on the ballot if the current term ends with 8 years in office. Low Priority Neutral.
SB 216 Schools of Hope. Book. Requires charter take over schools to enroll at least 75% of district persistently low performing school population. It mandates that instructional and non instructional employs meet the Florida certification requirements of s 1012.55 and 1012.56. Support
SB 294 Rodriquez. Bill to remove mandatory third grade retention based on Florida State Assessment scores. Support.
SB 436 Education No position on requirement to assess resources needs for emergency situations. Galvano and Mayfield
564 McKay Scholarships HB 399 (Young) No Position
SB 668 (Brandes) Year-round School Programs Medium Priority Support
SB 966 Baxley. Adopts minimum curriculum standards. This ‘Controversial Theories’ bill allows districts to adopt more rigorous standards. If they do, they must include teaching controversial science theories and economic concepts in a factual, objective, and balanced manner.
HJR/SJR 1031 Fischer, Raburn. School Board Term Limits. A strike all amendment to the original bill removed the provision to make the term limits retroactive. Term limits now begin on or after November 6, 2018.

HB 1035 Sullivan Creates a personalized education approach based on mastery learning. Students proceed at their own pace and are not graded in traditional ways.

SB 1172 Hope Scholarship. Galvano. “Bullying” bill would qualify students who were harassed or otherwise bullied to transfer to another school or receive a FTC scholarship.
SB 1286 Gardiner Scholarship program Simmons. Revises definition of rare disease. No position
HB 1297 Early Childhood. Brown. Disqualifies provider with four or more citations in two years.

SB 1434 Educational Enhancements. Passidomo. Expands mental health assistance funding to districts; restricts capital outlay funding to charters to facilities that are owned by the district or will revert to district ownership if the charter is closed. Changes funding allocation. STRIKE ALL AMENDMENT and substitute language: It is now amended to be mostly about charters that take over low performing schools. Some of the language about capital outlay funding is better. It also slips in language about Florida Tax Credit Scholarships.

SB 1546 Voluntary PreK. Simmons. Qualifies non profit technology based in home provider for special populations of children.
SB 1554
Rodriquez. Charter schools using capital outlay for new construction must comply beginning in July 2018 with the State Educational Facilities of the Florida Building Code.
SB 1614 FTC Scholarships Hukill. Requiring the Department to suspend payments for schools that fail, rather than knowingly fail, to meet certain accountability standards and be the basis for ineligibility to participate in the program, visit The bill requires personnel who do not meet employment qualifications in 1012.315 to not have direct contact with children e.g. sexual misconduct, robbery etc
SB1664 Lee, Baxley Instructional Materials. Requires district to provide public review and comment on instructional materials before Superintendent adopts materials.
. SB 1672 Farmer. Modify 2017 law requiring districts to share discretionary millage with charter schools to authorizing districts to share the millage at the district’s discretion. Charter financers must provide a bond rating of at least A-. Districts creating a conversion charter may receive $30,000 to acquire a bond rating.
SB 1684 School Improvement. Simmons. Revises Schools of Hope turn around plan to define persistently low performing school as one that completes two years of a district turn around plan and has not improved its grade to a “C”. Also includes and extra hour and extended day or summer instruction. Defines alternatives for schools that do not improve including conversion charters and contracting with outside entities. High Priority Support
SB 1690 Farmer. Requires principals and chief financial officers of charters to have valid third party certification. Given the importance of principals in schools’ success, it is important that principals have knowledge of educational issues, instructional strategies, operations, funding, and management. Top Priority Support
SB 1750 Rodriguez. Ethics. Prohibits public officials from voting on bills that inure financial gain to themselves and related others. The legislature had changed the ethics rules to allow members to vote on bills on which they could benefit if they disclosed their interest and if the bill affected a ‘class’ e.g. a group of people rather than the legislator alone. Top Priority Support
S 1756 School Accountability. Simmons. Provide site visits at any time to any FTC private school that receives notice of noncompliance or proposed action. Require annual independent audit if FTC school receives $250,000 or more in funds. Require teachers to have degree from an accredited college and require FTC school to report to DOE. Disqualify FTC operators with bankruptcy and those who fail to comply with specified regulations. Increase site visits to 5 or 7% of schools.
SB 1772 Montford. Require a study of the value of capital outlay funds recoverable from charter schools. Support
S 1820 Perry. Reading Scholarship Accounts. Provide FTC scholarships on a first come first served basis to students who score a 1 or a 2 on the FSA ELA exam. Oppose
SB 1848 Florida Tax Credit Scholarships. Farmer. This bill is intended to repeal audits for non profit scholarship funding organizations and corporate tax credits for funding the FTC scholarships. We need to understand how this bill relates to the newly proposed Reading Scholarship and other measures included in the newly drafted House education train bill.
SPB 2508 Appropriations. Schools of Hope; Franchise Model Schools; Structured Programs; hope supplemental services allocations; mental health assistance; millage allocatons; Best and Brightest revision
HB 4331 Community Partnership Schools. This is an appropriations bill to support the University of Central Florida’s community partnership schools for $2,930,570. UCF is the partner with the Children’s Home Society community schools that bring wrap around services, after school programs, and parental education programs to public schools it sponsors in collaboration with local agencies and businesses. There are nine schools statewide that are being expanded to 17 public schools. Additional information to track this bill is located here.
HB 5101 Diaz Appropriations. Revises Just Read, Florida! Office, Schools of Hope, operations, Principal Autonomy, and charter school capital outlay.
HB 6047 Charter Schools Newton, Berman. Repeals certain capital outlay funding for lab schools. Deletes provisions stating charter schools are eligible for capital outlay funding and that Schools of Hope are considered charter schools and may not use capital outlay for purchasing facilities. Top Priority Support
H 6051 Repealing audits for non profit scholarship funding organizations. Shaw. Companion bill S 1848. Oppose?

Senate Nos on HB 7069 Book 32, Bracy 11, Braynon 35, Campbell 38, Farmer 34, Garcia 36, Gibson 6, Grimsley 26, Montford 3, Powell 30, Rader 29, Rodriguez 37, Rouson 19, Simmons 9, Stewart 13, Thurston 33, Torres 15

House Nos on HB 7069 Abruzzo 81, Alexander 8, Antone 46, Asencio 118, Ausley 9, Berman 90, Brown 45, Cortes 43, Cruz 62, Geller 100, Davis 13, Diaz, M 103, DuBose 94, Duran 112, Henry 26, Jacobs 96, Jacquet 88, Jenne 99, Jones 101, Lee 84, McGhee 117, Mercado 48, Moskowitz 97, Newton 70, Pritchett 102, Russell 95, Shaw 61, Silvers 87, Smith 49, Stafford 109, Stark 104, Watson 107, Watson 20, Willhite 86, Williams 92


Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Chair Senator Flores
Appropriations Subcommittee on Pre-K Education, Chair Senator Passidomo
Education Committee Chair, Hukill

PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee on Education Chair Rep. Diaz
PreK-12 Innovations subcommittee Chair Latvala
PreK-12 Quality subcommittee Chair Raburn


Privatization of Public Schools

P45 Donalds Section 1 Article IX: Cannot limit the legislature from providing other educational services in addition to the system of free public schools WITHDRAWN MARCH 21, 2018.

Remove restriction on Separation of Church and State

P59 Johnson: Section 1 Article IX that prohibits state funds for religious schools would be amended to eliminate restrictions on public funding for educational services at religious entities.

P4 Martinez: Section 3 Article I: This ‘Declaration of Rights’ amendment removes prohibition in Article I Section 3 on funding for church, sect, religious denomination or sectarian institution. WITHDRAWN MARCH 21, 2018

Remove local control of school boards CRC Member Erika Donalds

P32: Sections 2, 4, 7 Article IX: Preventing salaries for local and state school board members

P33: Section 5 Article IX: Requiring appointed superintendents X

P43: Section 4 Article IX: Requiring term limits for school board members

Expand Charter Schools

P.71 Donalds: Section 4 Article IX: Charter Schools Authorization. The amendment gives the legislature free rein to increase or otherwise change current authorization of charter schools to other entities than school districts, municipalities, businesses, colleges/universities. DELETE ALL AMENDMENT filed: the school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools…except for those authorized by the state charter school authorizing board, municipalities, charter counties, Florida college system and public universities as provided by law.

P.93 Martinez: Section 4 Article IX: Authorize charter school districts. Section 4 Article IX. Allows high performing district school boards or vote of electors to become a charter district. This exempts district from all provisions of the K20 Education Code. TP’d on January 19, 2018

School Operation

P. 10 Gaetz: Article IX: Require Civics literacy
P. 82 Heuchan: Section 4 Article IX: Require schools cannot open before seven days before Labor Day.
P. 89 Washington: Section 1 Article IX: Change purpose of education to add contribute to the economy, workforce etc.
P.90 Levesque and Martinez: Section 1 Article IX: Excess class size funding goes to teacher salaries WITHDRAWN

State University System

P. 25 Plymale: Creates Section 8 Article IX: Establish Community College System
P. 44 Washington: Section 7 Article IX: Require minimum vote threshold for tuition and fee increases.
P. 60 Johnson: Creates Section 8 Article IX: Bright Futures scholarship and Public Student Assistance Grant funding mandates and qualifications
P. 57 and P. 49, P.16: Creates new section Article X: Kruppenbacher and Gainey: Death benefits for survivors of first responders etc. that equal tuition and fee costs for post secondary education.
P. 70 Keiser: Creates Section 10: Tuition and fee waivers for certain members of the military and/or spouse and children
P. 83 Washington: Section 1 Article IX: Establish State College System workforce needs

Students With Disabilities

P. 15 by Gamez, amends Section 2 Article I to eliminate prohibition and regulation of alien rights to ownership of real property.

In this amendment, there is a phrase that states that a person may not be deprived of any right because of a cognitive disability. This could have implications for access to vouchers and charters.

P. 30 by Martinez changes Section 2 Article I by deleting the word ‘physical’ and substituting the word ‘any’ in the phrase “A person may not be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin or a physical disability. This too could have school choice implications.

Both amendments are referenced to education as a second committee.

One Comment

  1. The LWV is one of the most trustworthy sources on the web for unbiased, FACTUAL information. I check in regularly to get aspects of issues that would go uncovered otherwise! Thanks for being there for parents and students!

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