We are less than a week away from the start of the Legislative Session. The following is a synopsis of what happened in Tallahassee last week:
HB78- Recess Bill – the bill passed unanimously through the Senate Education Committee. The next committee of reference is the Appropriations Subcommittee on Pre-K-12 Education. Florida PTA participated in a press conference along with Senator Flores and Representative Plasencia discussing the importance of recess for elementary students.
HB 7027 – began as a committee bill and is a memorial urging the Federal Government to establish block grants for Title 1 and IDEA funding. The block grant would give control to the state on how to disperse these funds. It passed through committee. This bill is just a memorial and does not change any statutory language.
SB 376 – Charter School Funding – Authorizing school boards to levy specified amounts for charter schools; providing that charter school capital outlay funding consists of shared local capital outlay and state funding as provided in the General Appropriations Act; prohibiting a charter school from being eligible for a funding allocation under certain circumstances. This bill will require school districts to share local capital outlay dollars with charter schools. Currently, charter schools receive $75 million PECO dollars for their capital needs. It passed through the Education Committee.
SB604 – Education Funding – Revising the amount each school board may levy for certain purposes; revising the purposes for which a school district may levy additional millage by specified means to include fixed capital outlay. Senator Farmer filed an amendment which would allow school districts to levy up to a 2.25 millage rate. The amendment was adopted but the bill was temporarily postponed to amend this language into SB376.
SB1334 – Universal background checks – this bill will close the gun show loop hole and require that any person purchasing a gun from a private seller be subjected to a background check and the 3-day mandatory waiting period. This a Florida PTA priority and we will be participating in a press conference next week asking Florida Legislature for their support of this bill.
We have received a few emails regarding H.R. 610, also called the “Choices in Education Act of 2017”, which would repeal every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and replace it with block grants for states to use for a voucher system. The bill also repeals a rule issued by the Department of Agriculture which would roll back school nutrition standards in schools if passed.
National PTA is monitoring the bill and will issue a statement if the bill moves forward.