NEWS

Governor Scott Requesting Increases To Education Funding

Florida PTA would like to commend Governor Rick Scott for his foresight in requesting significant increases to education funding for the 2017-2018

fiscal year.

Florida Legislative PTA News Update March 1, 2017

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.
Federal bills:
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.

Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti Addresses PTA Member Questions

March 1, 2017

The Duval County Council PTA would like to thank Dr. Nikolai Vitti for keeping PTA membership informed by addressing member questions.  Dr. Vitti will answers question at the next DCCPTA general meeting March 28 @ 9:30 am at the school board building.

  1. Information about the Midyear assessment results.

Click Here for a recent presentation regarding student achievement at midyear.

  1. What professional development is available to math teachers?  Is it mandatory?

Professional development for mathematics is provided weekly via face-to-face meetings or on a digital platform, and every other week through early release and administrator-led common planning. Mathematics professional development offerings are also available throughout the school year. Mandatory professional development for math teachers occurs each week. Two times per month the mandatory professional development is offered by the district and twice per month the mandatory professional development is facilitated by the school leadership team.

  1. Can after school tutoring be held with teachers who have been specially selected?

This would need to be negotiated through collective bargaining. The challenge here is if specific teachers are willing to conduct after school tutoring.

  1. Can students participate in the evaluation of their teachers?

No. Student input is not a factor in the approved teacher evaluation system. Teacher assessments are a negotiated item, and must include the components required by the state.

  1. Can DCPS employees serve as PTA Treasurer and/or one of the signatures on PTA checks?

After receiving this request, we consulted our internal auditors as well as the other large districts in the state.  We would recommend not using a district employee as PTA Treasurer or a cosigner on PTA checks, if there are other options available.  I understand that there are instances where it is difficult to find individuals to fulfill this function.  A district employee may serve in this role under the following conditions:

  • The employee cannot serve this role at their assigned workplace.
  • The employee cannot be a signer on any other district funds (this would eliminate bookkeepers and principals, at minimum).
  • The employee cannot handle PTA funds at any point during their work hours at their current work site.
  • The employee must have written approval from their current supervisor.
  • The employee should have a PTA officer that is not a signer on the PTA account review the monthly financial reports prior to submitting them to the school.
  1. What is the district doing about weapons in schools?

Click Here for a PowerPoint presentation that outlines the issues and next steps.  I understand that several DCC PTA Board Members recommended the Know the Law presentation by JSO and Drug-Free Duval.  We have followed up on this, and The Parent Academy will be offering several sessions soon.

Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent
Duval County Public Schools
1701 Prudential Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Phone: 904.390.2115
Fax: 904.390.2586
Email: vittin@duvalschools.org

School Board Elections District 5 & 7 Candidate Forums

You can register to vote on the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website

Tuesday, August 30,20016 is Primary Day in Florida!  The following offices and issues will be on the ballot that day:
United States Senator
Representative in Congress:  Districts 4 and 5
State Attorney:  Judicial Circuit 4
Public Defender:  Judicial Circuit 4
State Senator:  Districts 4 and 6
State Representative:  Districts 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16
Circuit Judge, 4th Judicial Circuit:  Groups 1, 2, 9, 12, 15, 20, 23, 25 and 31
Clerk of the Circuit and County Courts
County Judge:  Groups 5, 6, 10, 15 and 16
School Board:  Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7
Neptune Beach Mayor and City Council Seats 2 and 3
Constitutional Amendment No. 4
Duval County Pension Liability Referendum

Emails for the school board candidates.

District 5

Bradford Hall = hallb90@gmail.com

Warren Jones = joneswarren3105@att.net

Brenda Jordan = brenjord15@yahoo.com

Hank Rogers = hankorogers@icloud.com

 

District 7

Melody Bolduc = melody@melodybolduc.com

Stacie Dern = Dernforduvalseat7@gmail.com

Lori Hershey = Lori@votelorihershey.com

Greg Tison = lgtison@bellsouth.net

John Turner = turnerforschoolboard@comcast.net

Barbara Toscano = barb.toscano@hotmail.com

On the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website, you can find your precinct and voting location and print out a sample ballot.
Early Voting will run from August 15 – August 28. 

Here is the link to the PDF flyer District 5 & 7 School Board Election Forums.

For more information from schoolboard2016.org Click Here

 

Advocacy News

What Lies Ahead for Education During the 2016 Session?

2015 State of the Schools Presentation

NPE State Grade Card Report

Response to the Proposed Regulations and Down Syndrome By August 1

Subject: NDSC/NDSS Action Alert: Submit Comments on ESSA

 NDSC Logo

NDSC – NDSS Action Alert

July 19, 2016

Your Action Needed on Proposed Federal Accountability Regulations for ESSA:
SUBMIT COMMENTS BY AUGUST 1

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has published proposed regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which address the area of accountability – that is, how States and local education agencies (e.g. school districts) will report the academic performance of all students and be held accountable to improve the performance of students who are not making sufficient progress on the grade-level State academic content standards. Groups and individuals are invited to submit public comments on the proposed regulations, which ED will use to complete the final accountability regulations.

The National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) has submitted extensive comments in response to the proposed accountability regulations, and the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is supporting these comments. We request that you submit your own comments by the August 1 deadline so that the voices of the Down syndrome community are heard loud and clear.

Why is it important to submit comments?

This set of proposed regulations addresses how ESSA implementation plans and report cards at the State and local education agency (LEA) levels must be developed in order to hold schools and LEAs accountable for the achievement of all students, including students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. States must use ESSA funding in a way that is consistent with the law’s purpose: “to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.” The language about academic expectations for students with disabilities in ESSA is very strong and can be used to improve implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), if the federal regulations help focus States and LEAs on their responsibilities to these students.

National organizations representing teachers unions, school boards, administrators, and superintendents are encouraging their members to fight against the strong accountability regulations that we want. It is important that OUR voices are heard from the other side!

How and where to submit comments

The due date for public comments is August 1, 2016. NDSC and NDSS are asking you to submit comments to ED that support the NDSC comments. The Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is here. Underneath the title of the NPRM, to the right, there is a green box that says “Submit Formal Comments.” Click on this box to get to the comment form.

How detailed do you need to get in your comments?

It is entirely up to you. We realize that these issues are complicated, and not everyone is comfortable going into extensive detail. At a minimum, we encourage you to express support for NDSC’s comments in a few simple sentences. Here is an example:

My name is Alex Jones, and I am the father of a 3rd grade student with Down syndrome in Cleveland, Ohio. I fully support the comments submitted by the National Down Syndrome Congress as they align with ESSA’s purpose: “to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.” I want local and state education agencies to be held accountable for my child’s progress. Thank you for your consideration!

Additional items to address in your comments

In addition to expressing support for the NDSC comments, you may also want to thank ED for the many proposed regulations that support strong accountability and make a specific request for one or more of the most important changes that are needed in the final regulations, which are listed below. NDSC’s recommendations for these changes, including the context, are described in the Summary of the NDSC Accountability Regulation Comments here. These nine recommendations and many other critically important comments and recommendations can be found in the full text of the NDSC Comments on the Accountability NPRN here

The final accountability regulations should include:

  • Alternate Achievement Standards – a clear link between alternate assessments and enrolled grade content in any reference to achievement standards
  • Meaningful stakeholder consultation – a requirement for membership from the disability community on State and LEA plan development committees and outreach to disability groups regarding other stakeholder input opportunities
  • Consistently underperforming subgroups – a requirement that States use a definition for “consistently underperforming subgroup” that keeps the bar for achievement high, is not based on a comparison to other students, and has a two-year time frame
  • Transition from targeted to comprehensive support and improvement – a change to the regulations that will require, or at least encourage, States to identify schools with consistently underperforming subgroups for comprehensive support and improvement after three years, instead of keeping them indefinitely in targeted support and improvement
  • Funding for support and improvement – a better balance in the funding levels that schools get when they are identified for targeted support and improvement as compared to the much larger amount schools get when they are identified for comprehensive support and improvement
  • 95% participation rate rule for assessments – options for how States can factor in a failure to meet the 95% participation rate requirement that are stronger than most of those in the proposed regulations
  • Minimum subgroup size (n-size) – a requirement that States must justify their n-size if it will be greater than 10 to help ensure that schools have to count their disability subgroup unless it has fewer than 10 students with disabilities.
  • Diploma definition – clarification that a diploma based on a student meeting his or her IEP goals, will not be considered a regular high school diploma, even if those goals are based on the grade-level State content standards
  • Segregation of students with disabilities – the addition of “the segregation of students with disabilities in separate classes and schools” to the list of school practices that should be reduced in order to improve school environments and post-school outcomes

Want to impact the development of your State’s ESSA plan?

NDSC has developed a State Plan Advocacy Guide to help parents make detailed recommendations on their State ESSA plan. You can find the guide here.

Please contact Ricki Sabia (ricki@ndsccenter.org) or Heather Sachs (hsachs@ndss.org) with questions. We encourage you to drop us a quick email and let us know when you submit comments so that we can be sure to thank you for your efforts!

Recognizing the importance of education policy and how it will affect our constituents, you may receive informational emails, called Education Alerts, and Action Alerts from both the NDSC and NDSS. Our two organizations are committed to working together on education issues, including ESSA implementation, IDEA-related issues, and other education matters. NDSC’s Senior Education Policy Advisor, Ricki Sabia, will lead this collaboration, and will work closely with Heather Sachs, NDSS Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy, coordinating education policy strategy to best serve the entire Down syndrome community.

Capitol Steps

Our Contact Information
National Down Syndrome Congress
30 Mansell Court, Suite 108
Roswell, GA 30076
800.232.6372
ndsccenter.org

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General Meetings:

General DCCPTA Meeting, Tuesday, March 28 @ 9:30 am - 11:00 am, hospitality 9:00 -9:30 a.m. meeting 9:30 am. Make sure your PTA/PTSA has a representative. Join us at:
Duval County Public Schools
School Board Building
Cline Auditorium, 1st floor
1701 Prudential Dr
Jacksonville, Florida 32207

PTA – Applications – Forms – Spreadsheets – Samples

Mailing Address:

DCC PTA
P.O. Box 5397
Jacksonville, FL 32247
Email DCC President
Email Local Unit Team