2019 Legislative Wrap-Up from Florida PTA

A message from FLORIDA PTA

Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2019 Florida Legislative Session has come to an end after a full 60 day session and one additional day to pass the budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. As we reflect on all that happened during this session, the Florida PTA Legislation Committee is proud of the results after all of the hard work that was put in to ensure all our children were well represented. This year, the Legislation Committee had boots on the ground every day of Committee Weeks and Legislative Session, ensuring not a day went by where Florida PTA wasn’t advocating for all of Florida’s children. Below is a wrap-up of some of the key bills Florida PTA focused on in Tallahassee this year.

SB 7030 – Implementation of the Recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission – This bill, commonly referred to as the School Safety bill, increased access to mental health resources as well as mental health professionals for our children in school. Great funding for this access was also provided in this bill. It also requires the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool to be the primary security assessment tool used by school districts. However, this bill also allows for the expansion of the Guardian Program to include the arming of teachers who volunteer to take on this responsibility. While this expansion is voluntary and school districts need to vote to opt in, Florida PTA was vocal on our position that trained law enforcement officers be the ONLY people armed on our school campuses. Florida PTA continues to actively advocate at local school board meetings to ensure school districts do NOT opt into this expansion of the Guardian Program.

SB 7070 – K-12 Education – This bill revised the qualifications by which students can receive scholarships to go to private schools as well as created a new Family Empowerment Scholarship Program which takes additional tax dollars to send children to private schools. While Florida PTA encourages families to make the best educational decisions for their children, this should not be done with our tax dollars. Florida PTA was again vocal on our position that all schools who are receiving tax dollars should have certified teachers, teach rigorous standards, and be held to the same high accountability measures public schools are expected to achieve.

HB 7123 – Taxation – This bill became a priority of Florida PTA when an amendment was filed that would have required local school districts to share referendum money for schools with all charter schools, whether or not the language on the ballot clearly stated traditional public schools. While the initial amendment made this retroactive, which would have affected counties such as Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, the language was changed to only affect referendums going forward. Now all school referendum monies must be shared with charter schools.

HB 107 – Wireless Communications While Driving – This bill, commonly referred to as the No Texting and Driving bill finally passed this year after years of advocacy as part of the FL DNT TXT N DRV coalition. HB 107 makes texting while driving a primary offense, meaning that you can be pulled over for texting while driving. In addition, it makes road work zones, school crossings, and school zones hands free zones. Information on the race and ethnicity of each person who receives a ticket issued will be collected and reported to ensure there is no racial profiling.

HB 7125 – Public Safety – This became the criminal justice reform package which included key changes to areas of juvenile justice such as the increase of the felony theft amount to $750, the first increase since 1986. In addition, it eliminated some of the direct file language for certain offenses reducing the number of charges that require a juvenile to be charged as an adult.

HB 7071 – Workforce Education – This bill created new pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs for students as well as secondary and postsecondary workforce education providing more options for our students.

SB 190 – Higher Education – This bill provided greater flexibility to students receiving Bright Futures Scholarships including providing additional time by which scholarship funds can be used, expands Bright Futures to include a new program, and provide students with explanation of secondary options.

HB 1027 – Office of Early Learning – This bill establishes the Office of Early Learning to develop training for early learning providers to ensure higher standards and quality of the services being provided.

SB 66 – Drinking Water in Public Schools – This bill would have required filters be added to water fountains at schools. While it was heard and passed in one committee, it didn’t make it any further and will come back next year.

HB 361 – Mental Health Services – Commonly referred to as the Baker Act bill, this legislation would require schools to conduct a good faith effort to notify a parent/guardian of a child who is being Baker Acted prior to them being transported away from the school. This bill will also be back next year.

SB 624 – Youth in Solitary Confinement – This bill would have prohibited youth to be held in solitary confinement by the Department of Corrections. While this bill made it through 2 committees, it died in Appropriations. This bill will also be back next year.

Superintendent Asks for Community Financial Support

A message from Superintendent Greene: Historic School Board Agenda Item

The agenda for our May School Board meeting is now a public document. It contains an item that will change the course of history for our students and for our schools.

The quality of school facilities matters. Here’s why:

  • They provide light, acoustics, and air quality that directly impact learning.
  • They offer inviting spaces that emanate a sense of warmth and community that enhances student self-belief and desire to be in school.
  • They provide technology that optimizes instruction and prepares students for today’s workplace.
  • They communicate to children that their community values education.
  • They are built to maximize student security and safety in today’s unpredictable world.

Duval County public school buildings need substantial improvement. Next Tuesday, May 7, I am recommending that our School Board pass a resolution to ask Duval voters for a voluntary, half-penny sales tax with all of those resources going toward projects to vastly improve school buildings over the next 15 years.

If successful, we will become much more efficient with tax dollars and make neighborhoods more desirable for current and future residents. Property values will be positively impacted, and future employers will see Duval as a community willing to serve the needs of all of its children.

Prior to the vote scheduled for November, we will have completed the long-term facilities master plan, and voters will know how the dollars will be used. Accountability is built-in. If the resolution passes, a community oversight committee will be empaneled to ensure the funding is used appropriately.

Too many of Duval’s public school buildings were built for a different era. They are old, inefficient, deteriorating and inappropriate for today’s rigorous standards and expectations for student achievement. We need to move forward with urgency for our students and for our community.

Duval County Public Schools’ new history begins on May 7. Our students deserve this, and our community deserves this. I look forward to the coming months as we begin to write new chapters of success for public education in Duval County.

Sincerely,

Diana L. Greene, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Florida PTA’s Position on Gov. DeSantis & Common Core

 

BLUE LOGO-SMALL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 1, 2019

Contact Information:

Linda Kearschner, President
president@floridapta.org

407-855-7604
FAX 407-240-9577
www.floridapta.org

Florida PTA is committed to ensuring all children receive a high quality education aligned to benchmarked standards, providing clear expectations of the skills students need for success in college and/or career.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), adopted by Florida in 2010, was a joint effort led by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers from 48 states to develop a common core of K-12 standards in English language arts and Mathematics. The goal of this initiative was to create internationally-benchmarked standards that ensure all students are held to consistent expectations that prepare them for college and career, regardless of where they lived. The standards were informed by the best state standards at that time, feedback from teachers, content experts, the business community, higher education, parents and the public.
In 2014, Florida updated the standards to include calculus and cursive writing as well as making other changes, and re-named them the Florida Standards. With each change to the standards comes a need to re-write and re-purchase assessments which are used to ensure students’ mastery of skills. The need for assessments for certain subject areas and at different grade levels are written in statute, which can be changed by the legislature.
Whichever standards Florida uses, the goal should be the same: to ensure that every child graduates high school ready for college or career. Academic standards set a goal for what a child should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level, but higher standards cannot stand alone. Quality implementation of new standards will require aligning new curriculum and assessments, providing professional development for teachers, providing sufficient resources and support for students, ongoing communication with parents and balanced and comprehensive accountability systems.
We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, Commissioner Corcoran, and other stakeholders to ensure parents and educators are given an active role in the process of developing new standards that are fully vetted to support student achievement.
For more information on college and career ready standards, please visit National PTA’s College and Career Readiness resources found here: https://www.pta.org/home/family-resources/college-and-career-readiness
Linda Kearschner
President
Florida PTA
Florida PTA comprises hundreds of thousands of families, students, teachers, administrators and business and community leaders devoted to improving the lives of children/youth in our state. PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy association in the state of Florida, as well as the nation. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children. More information is available by contacting Florida PTA (407/855-7604 or executive.director@floridapta.org).
 
For more information visit our website www.floridapta.org and/or our Facebook page for programs available in your community.
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2019 Florida Legislative Session

Florida’s legislative session begins on March 5, 2019.  Your voice is your most powerful tool!  PTA encourages you to call or write your elected officials and let them know how you feel about legislation and policies that impact your child’s education.

Sign up for Florida PTA’s Take Action Network to learn more about legislative issues affecting families, schools, and communities and to stay informed on the latest updates from Tallahassee.

Duval County Public Schools Legislative Platform for 2019

Florida PTA’s Legislative Priorities for 2019

Bills to watch:

SB7030 – School Safety and Security aims to arm teachers – opposed by FL PTA

SB190 – Proposes to extend Bright Future Scholarships to Private School Students

 

School Safety

  • School Safety and Security – SB 7030
    • PCB by Education
    • Requires sheriffs to offer Guardian Program
    • Makes Commissioner of Ed oversee implementation of MSD Public Safety Act
  • Panic Alarms in public schools – SB 174
    • Creates panic alarms in every public elementary, middle, high school
    • No House companion yet
  • Possession of a Firearm on School Campus – HB 6005 Byrd
    • Allows possession of a firearm on school campus including parking lot
    • No Senate companion yet
  • Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons & Firearms – HB 6007 Sabatini
    • Removes provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying on to college/university campus
  • Safety of Religious Institutions – HB 403 Grall
    • Authorizes religious institutions to allow concealed weapons or firearms on property even with a school

Guns

  • Assault Weapons and Large-Capacity Magazines – HB 455 C. Smith
    • Creates ban on military style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines
    • SB 466 Farmer
  • Pub. Rec./Personal Identifying Information of Assault Weapon or Large-Capacity Magazine Possession Certificate-holder – HB 553 C. Smith
    • Makes it illegal to transfer or sell military style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines
    • SB 500 Stewart
  • Transfer of Firearms – HB 135 Good
    • Requires transfers of firearms when neither party is licensed dealer to be conducted through licensed dealer & requires processing by licensed dealer
  • Regulation of Concealed Weapons Licenses – SB 108 Book
    • Moves concealed weapons licenses from Dept. of Agriculture to FDLE
  • Firearms – SB 595 Albritton
    • Allows for concealed carry licensees to carry on religious properties including those with schools on their campus

Education

  • Apprenticeship Programs – HB 367 Donalds
    • Similar to the bill filed last year by Ascencio
    • Increases CTE opportunities including Apprenticeship Grant programs
    • SB 522 Diaz
  • Study of Bible and Religion – HB 195 Daniels
    • Requires schools districts to offer as an elective
    • Course would include religion, Hebrew Scriptures, & Bible
    • No Senate companion yet

Health & Safety

  • Use of Wireless Communications Devices while Driving – HB 107 Toledo/Slosbeg
    • Creates hands-free driving
    • Devices can’t be in hand for any reason
    • SB 76 Simpson (incoming President)
  • Prohibited Discrimination – HB 485 Webb
    • Makes illegal discrimination based on gender & sexual orientation
    • Revises Florida’s Civil Rights Act of 1992
    • SB 430 Rouson
  • Childcare Facilities – SB 94 Stewart
    • Requiring vehicles used by childcare facilities used to transport children to be equipped with alarm system to alert driver to inspect vehicle for children prior to exiting the vehicle.
    • HB 69 Antone is identical
  • Sexual Battery Prosecution Time Limitation – SB 130 Stewart
    • Provides exception of general time limitations for prosecution of sexual battery offenses of minors at the time the offense occurred
    • HB 395 Eskamani identical
  • Improper Restraints – HB 179 Byrd
    • Expands list of incidents or injuries that constitute harm to a child to include violations of child restraint and seatbelt requirements
    • Requires central abuse hotline to accept out of state calls
    • SB 128 Bean

Juvenile Justice

  • Youth in Solitary Confinement – SB 110 Thurston
    • Creates Youth in Solitary Confinement Reduction Act
    • Prohibits from subject youth to solitary confinement except under circumstances
    • Requires time in intervals with mental health clinician
    • HB 499 Brown

Find your elected officials

Legislative Update: Action Needed!

At the end of the 2018 Legislative Session, the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program was created with the passage of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. Currently, there is $58 million left in the Guardian Program fund that will go unused if it is not reallocated. Governor Scott has asked each member of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission to shift these unused funds to ensure Florida schools can get the funding they need to protect our kids this year.
The members of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission are scheduled to meet this Friday, September 14, however the shifting of the $58 million is not on the agenda. In fact, legislative leaders are refusing to agenda this item! If the members of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission let these funds go unused, it will have a negative impact to 71 of our 75 school districts. Please click here to see how it will impact your district.
Please call the members of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission TODAY, (see the members below), and tell them you support the Governor’s request to shift the unused Guardian Program funds to our school districts for school safety under the direction of the Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools. Tell them that money will help to ensure that all Florida schools will receive the funding they need to protect our kids this school year.

Members of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission:

Rep. Jose Oliva

Rep. Jason Brodeur

Rep. Janet Cruz

Rep. Manny Diaz Jr.

Rep. Bill Hager

Rep. Clay Ingram

Rep. Jared Moskowitz

Sen. Rob Bradley

Sen. Lizabeth Benaquisto

Sen. Oscar Braynon

Sen. Anitere Flores

Sen. Bill Galvano

Sen. Bobby Powell

Sen. Wilton Simpson

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/oKORpyXt17rx_Az2pndwKA 

Proposed Resolution from the Duval County Council PTA

Proposed Resolution from the Duval County Council PTA

Dear Local Units,

Your DCC PTA Board voted to present local units with the following Resolution On Arming Teachers. We are fulfilling our mission as a child advocacy organization and need your help. Please review the resolution with your general membership and hold a vote. We will then do the same at our April General Meeting (4/24) where you can let your local unit’s voice be heard. If the resolution passes, it will be presented to the DCPS School Board at their May meeting. Please contact us with any questions.

Melissa Daniel, DCC PTA
advocacy@dccpta.org

 

RESOLUTION

Whereas the Student Code of Conduct prohibits weapons on school property and teachers should set the example, and

Whereas teachers are not trained to be law enforcement officers and do not have the time or resources to obtain proper training, and

Whereas it would be extremely difficult for law enforcement officers to determine who was legally armed during a crisis, and

Whereas the responsibility of teachers should be to protect those students in their classrooms, not to get involved in a shooting incident, and

Whereas the Duval County School Board does not favor arming school personnel, and

Whereas the Sheriff of Duval County does not favor arming school personnel, and

Whereas the Mayor of Duval County does not favor arming school personnel, and

Whereas the Governor of Florida does not favor arming school personnel, and

Whereas other security measures such as keeping exterior building doors locked and keeping classroom doors locked while classes are in session should be implemented, and

Whereas teachers carrying guns could be overpowered by a student or a group of students, and the weapons could fall into the wrong hands, be it therefore..

Resolved that the Duval County Council of PTAs supports the employment of armed School Resource Officers (SROs) as the only armed personnel to aid in the safety of our students.

Legislative Alert: February 20th

Legislative Udate:
 
Now that HB7055, commonly known as the “bullying bill,” has passed the House, it has moved to the Senate, where it will be heard in the Education Committee this Tuesday, February 20th at 11:00am. Under a “strike-all” amendment that Senator Hukill filed, the content of the bill has changed to eliminate some House provisions and to reflect Senate positions on a number of issues. Still included in the bill, however, is the Hope Scholarship, which will allow children who have been subjected to a classmate’s verbal or physical abuse to attend a different public or private school at state expense.
The Hope Scholarship has two major flaws. First, it does nothing to address the behavior of offenders, thus leaving them in place to victimize other students. Second, it diverts the tax dollars we pay when we buy a new or used car from the state treasury to private schools, without taking into account the ability of the victim’s parents to finance a private education on their own, the academic performance of the private school, or its policies regarding incidents of physical or verbal abuse.
Florida PTA opposes the expansion of school choice without full accountability, and the diversion of tax dollars away from general revenues, where they can be used to address the needs of all Floridians. At a time when we have been made newly aware of gaps in our ability to protect our students and our schools, and of our obligations towards teachers and other school personnel, three of whom have just laid down their lives, we must insist that our precious dollars be spent where it counts the most.
Please email your legislator today and tell them to provide real, common-sense solutions to the problems of bullying and other abusive behavior. Tell them as well to exercise sound fiscal judgment, and to allocate our tax dollars in support of all of our students, their teachers, and their schools. To do otherwise would mean that the lessons we have learned these past few days have been wasted on us.​
Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/6eLILRl0cP2Y703n9QvfqQ

Legislative Alert Feb 1, 2018

 

Thank you for your continuing interest in Legislative session 2018!

This past week, the House has been pushing through HB 7055, which is a train bill similar to HB 7069. This legislation is steamrolling several bills into one, each of which should be heard on its own merit.

HB 311 and HB 427 are two good pieces of legislation that have yet to be heard in committee. This new legislation, respectively, provides alternative pathways to a standard high school diploma and will eliminate unneeded testing by allowing school districts to set teacher salary schedules removing the merit pay requirement currently in law.

The Florida PTA urges you to call your House Representative and urge them to support or co-sponsor HB 311 and HB 427.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/7KsZuZ2leNASC52v4eM4xg

 

January 30th Lunch & Learn- Human Trafficking

DCCPTA will present a Lunch & Learn on human trafficking following our General Meeting on Tuesday, January 30th at 11:30 a.m. in the Cline Auditorium.  

Human trafficking happens close to home…Florida continues to be 3rd in the nation in calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.  According to a study of U.S. Department of Justice the average age that a trafficked victim is first used for commercial sex is 12-14.  Children are particularly vulnerable to human traffickers.  Please join us to learn more about this important human rights issue.

Please RSVP if you plan on joining us.  Lunch will be provided based on RSVPs.

Please select a valid form

K-12 Education: A Look Ahead to the 2018 Legislative Session 

Education Works Virtual Forum

K-12 Education: A Look Ahead to the 2018 Legislative Session 

Tuesday, December 12th | 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST

Learn about the education priorities of key statewide organizations and policymakers, the budget outlook and the latest education priorities from Tallahassee in this no-cost, one-hour webinar open to those interested in Florida education issues.  

Click HERE to register and receive login information.