Florida Legislative Session Review – Part II: Education

As a former Student Body President, and someone who is not yet a parent, I often think of higher education first when education issues arise. However, the issue of education is far broader. Here are the 20 education related bills (at least the 20 I identified) passed by the Legislature this year:

School Readiness and Pre-Kindergarten

SB 450 extends the Florida Teachers Lead Program Stipend to teachers of prekindergarten students in public schools and public charter schools who are funded through Florida Education Finance Program. Passed 39-0 and 119-0.

K-12 Education

SB 1226 establishes the Merit Award Program for instructional personnel & school-based administrators and requires that district school board adopt Merit Award Program plan inorder to receive funding under the program. Passed 39-0 and 110-4.

HB 461 requires the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) to facilitate 1-year drug testing program to randomly test student athletes for anabolic steroid use. Passed 119-0 and 39-0.

SB 1232 creates the Florida Career and Professional Education Act for purpose of improving academic performance and respond to state’s workforce needs, requires that district school boards develop strategic plans to address and meet local and regional workforce needs, and requires public schools and school districts to offer career and professional academies. Passed 33-4 and 117-0.

SB 1046 makes several changes, including: allows slot machine taxes to be used for recurring expenses; provides a definition of “team teaching” as it applies to the class size amendment; revises the funding model for exceptional student education programs to provide additional funds for students who are gifted in graded K through 8; and provides a formula for calculating a supplemental allocation for juvenile justice education programs. Passed 39-0 and 119-0.

HB 511 makes several changes relating to school districts: defines “academically high-performing school districts;” require districts to include insurance premiums in millage notices; and revises purposes for which districts may use their voter-approved 2 mill tax. Passed 119-0 and 39-0.

HB 7123 establishes, among other non-education provisions, the Green Schools Pilot Project to enable selected school districts to comply with standards. Passed 119-0 and 39-0.

SB 108 specifies that the Florida Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement must cooperate with school districts to identify minority and underrepresented students for participation in AP or other advanced courses. Passed 35-0 and 119-0.

HB 1161 authorizes a school board to adopt policies and procedures for the High School to Business Career Enhancement Program through which student internships may be offered in school district. This is the It Oughta Be a Law bill sponsored by Rep. Kevin Ambler. Passed 110-0 and 38-0.

HB 967 requires district school boards to provide physical education. Passed 118-0 and 38-0.

Higher Education

HB 83 is a broader economic development bill, but it has a provision relating to higher education in Florida: the bill creates Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research to commercialize products products and services from research and development conducted at state universities under the 21st Century Technology, Research, & Scholarship Enhancement Act. Passed 116-0 and 37-0.

HB 343 creates the Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant Program to provide financial aid to students in community college or school district career certificate programs. Passed 112-0 and 38-0.

SB 1270 is a large re-organization bill that formally transfers the state university system from the Board of Education to the Board of Governors. (Florida voters passed an amendment reinstating the Board of Governors, but the Legislature never fully implemented the amendment. The group behind the initiative sued and this bill is a result of the settlement of that lawsuit. Passed 39-0 and 108-0.

HB 7147 is a comprehensive bill, meaning it has a lot in it – everything but the kitchen sink: updating the forecast models for higher education enrollment; review and revise some courses taught at universities and community colleges; creates the Florida Business and Education Collaborative; requires the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to conduct a study of the implementation of existing articulation policies between community colleges and state universities; allows Board of Trustees to name buildings after people who are still alive; and revises the process for community colleges to offer bachelor degree programs. Passed 119-0 and 39-0.

SB 1710 creates permission for the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the University of South Florida to assess a differential tuition to its students to support undergraduate education. Passed 28-10 and 79-37.

HB 515 authorizes master of science degree programs in nursing and social work at the University of West Florida. Passed 115-0 and 35-0.

Other Education Related Bills

SB 2484 revises the Division of Business and Professional Regulation “Hospitality Education Program.” Passed 40-0 and 118-0.

SB 2092 is another “comprehensive” bill: makes additional revisions based on the conversion of universities to the Board of Governors; establishes salary ranges for local school board members; and tweaks the charter school process. Passed 39-0 and 116-0.

SB 1060 makes minor changes to school facility finance statutes. Passed 39-0 and 119-0.

SB 1064 makes minor changes to matching (“challenge”) grant statutes. Passed 39-0 and 119-0.

Schedule of Review Posts:

Mon May 21: Public Records/Public Meetings
Thu May 24: Education
Tue May 29: Environment, Growth Management, & Natural Resources
Mon Jun 4: Legal System & Public Safety
Mon Jun 18: Veterans/Military Affairs
Tue Jun 19: Elections
Wed Jun 20: Transportation & Economic Development
Fri Jun 22: Health Care
Mon Jun 25: Insurance (excluding property)
Wed Jun 27: Human & Social Services
Fri Jun 29: Gambling & General Government
Mon Jul 2: Property Insurance & Property Taxes (including the special session legislation)
Tue Jul 3: Miscellaneous Bills not included in previous reviews

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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5 Responses to Florida Legislative Session Review – Part II: Education

  1. Tally says:

    Your link to SB1232 is no good; it goes to SB1226.

    Does SB1232 go back to having vocational training for high schoolers like they had when I was a teenager back in the 60s?

    I sure hope so. I once mentored a kid who was going to flunk out of high school because he couldn’t pass algebra, but he was already working as a mechanic.

    I thought it was insane that Florida was going to deny him a high school diploma because he couldn’t master something that was totally useless to his existence.

  2. Jim Johnson says:

    Thanks for pointing out the broken link…

    The bill doesn’t get into a lot of specifics about how the districts should address local and regional workforce development needs.

  3. voxpop says:

    I LOVE that june 18th one: “Gambling and General Government”

    I mean, for personal reasons I love it, but the juxtaposition of the two and their obvious sameness is why I am laughing today.

  4. Tally says:

    Are you going to do an analysis of Crist’s vetos?

    I’ve been comparing what Tax Watch suggested and what he actually vetoed and he seems to have gone so much farther. I was very surprised by this. He definitely is unpredictable.

  5. Jim Johnson says:

    I wasn’t planning on doing an analysis of the vetoes… mostly because the political media blogs have done a good job of that.

    He has gone farther than I expected him to… but at the same time allowed other things in.

    One thing I noted is that, the Tampa Riverwalk gets its $2 million… go figure. Charlie giving Democratic Mayor Pam Iorio help with her pet project. Jeb axed money for the Rieverwalk because he didn’t want Pam to get credit for making it happen.

    Charlie rises above petty politics when it comes to good ideas… one of the reasons I eagerly supported his campaign from the start.

    As for the rest… meh. I really didn’t see a lot of hue and cry from the groups that got cut.

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