Join the Jacksonville Public Education Fund at a public forum on December 4 to discuss improvements to public education. Parents/caregivers and middle/high school students will have a great opportunity to give their ideas about how we can improve public education.
HOUSE BILL 7069: WHAT’S IN IT, WHAT IT MEANS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION, WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
The Duval County Public School Board has voted to join a proposed lawsuit that will challenge the constitutionality of a controversial education law the Florida Legislature passed this spring. Are you wondering what all of the fuss is about?
Florida PTA has provided a concise and informative summary of HB 7069, outlining the damaging aspects of this law to the public education system and where the State Legislature is mandating that your Duval County tax revenue be spent. We urge all Duval residents to take the time to familiarize themselves with this issue and contact your lawmakers to let you opinion be heard.
Trump Administration Proposes $9.2 Billion Cut to Public Education.
As the largest child advocacy association in the state, the Florida PTA’s mission has always been to serve and support EVERY child. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that the Florida PTA must oppose conforming bill 7069.
TAKE ACTION ALERT: Recess Bill SB78/HB67
The Senate recess bill SB78 passed unanimously on the Senate floor on April 4th and has been sent over to the House in messages. Please urge your Representative to contact Speaker Richard Corcoran TODAY and ask that he pull SB78 out of messages and send it to the House floor with no changes or amendments.
SB78 offers 20 minutes of daily unstructured play for K-5 elementary students. Unlike the House version HB67, the Senate bill calls for true recess separate from PE and includes all elementary students not just k-3 students.
Click the link below to log in and send your message:
The following is an email response from Superintendent Nikolai Vitti referring to the DCCPTA Board Meeting held 4/6/17.
Dr. Vitti’s comments.
I understand that you had several questions at your board meeting this morning and I wanted to provide you with the information requested. As you know, the legislative information is time-sensitive, as some of these bills move through the process rather quickly. Thank you for your continued advocacy.
- Capital Outlay Funding (HB5103 and SB376) – OPPOSE
o Below is the slide requested at the meeting that explains the manner in which the funding can be allocated. Right now one of the bills requires local governments to keep the funding at 1.5 mills
- School Improvement (HB5105) – OPPOSE
o For all schools on their first D or F: 1 planning year, and if a school is lower than a C the following year, 3 options
- Closure and transfer students to another school in the district
- Close and reopen as a charter
- Close and reopen under a management company
o Very little opportunity for community input regarding options
o Allocates $200 Million for Charter “Schools of Hope”
The Powerpoint presentation from the board meeting is attached, that includes additional information.
- Education (SB926) – SUPPORT
o Reduces testing by allowing districts to substitute nationally recognized exams such as AP, IB, AICE, and Industry Certification exams in lieu of FSAs and state end of course exams
o Requires the DOE to have a paper/pencil alternative for all state assessments
Please feel free to call Dr. Kriznar at 390-2115 if you have additional questions regarding legislation.
I also understand that you asked where Detroit was in the superintendent search process. As you may already know, I was selected as a finalist for the position, and last week I traveled to Detroit for my interview. As a follow up, their board search team visited Jacksonville last week to visit schools and speak with community and district stakeholders regarding my leadership. Next week they will be traveling to visit the district of the other finalist. Their board has not provided a definitive date for the final selection at this time, but I would anticipate that a decision would be made this month.
Regardless of the outcome, there is still much work to be done here. We are in the process of preparing a draft budget and have started the closing of school timeline. I remain committed to the work in this district, and I am keeping my leadership team focused on support for our students and our schools. I have worked hard over the past years to put in place a strong leadership team and I have every confidence in their ability to implement the systems already in place to move the district forward.
Once again, thank you for your support and commitment to public education. If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to forward them.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
April 10, 2017
Posted April 4, 2017 | 08:40 pm | Updated 09:45 pm | By Denise Smith Amos
Duval schools might have to close and give away three middle schools to a charter school operator next school year if a bill moving fast in Florida’s House gets approved, district leaders said Tuesday during a School Board meeting. The district also could lose tens of millions more dollars each year to charter schools if other proposed changes are approved that would change the way capital dollars are awarded. Capital outlay dollars, which are raised locally and from the state, pay for school buildings, facility improvements and equipment. The result, if these bills succeed, could be massive transfers of tax payer dollars and tax-funded assets, such as school buildings, to charter school operators, district leaders said. And if those charter schools close, taxpayers won’t recoup most of those assets, said board member Becki Couch.
Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate like private schools, independent of elected School Boards. In Florida, many state legislators have received large political campaign donations from charter school operators. Charter school proponents in the Legislature have said they are trying to expand school choices for students in persistently under-performing schools.House Bill 5101 would force all Florida districts to close public schools that are graded D or F in consecutive years and turn those schools over to charter school operators. There are 115 D and F schools in Florida this year, said board Chairwoman Paula Wright. In Duval County, Ribault Middle School, Matthew Gilbert Middle and Northwestern Middle are in danger, she said. Ribault Middle has a D, the same as last year; Gilbert has a D, up from F last year; and Northwest Middle has a D, up from F. Those schools serve about 1,600 students.If those schools don’t earn a C or better this school year, Duval could be forced to close them and allow a charter school to take over, if the bill succeeds, said Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. Under Florida law now, only a school board can open or close a district school. The law change would give such decisions to charter operators and the state, he said.Also, the bill would significantly reduce how much time a district has to turn around a school. Now districts have several years, but the change would give them one or two.District leaders urged the board meeting audience to contact their state representatives this week. “We still have time to pull together as a community so we make certain they understand that this is not what we want,” Wright said. “If they’re going to use our tax dollars, we should have a say-so.” Oak Hill Elementary and Hyde Grove Elementary are also being monitored, Vitti said, because they have already been restructured by the district this school year, Vitti said. Oak Hill now specializes in autism and Hyde Grove specializes in preschool through second grades.
The bill is designed to attract charter operators to Florida by allowing them to create “schools of hope” within those schools, which will mostly be in low-income neighborhoods. Vitti said the bill used to call them “schools of success” but legislators changed that because “success” would be difficult name to live up to.Under the bill, if a charter school takes over a low-scoring public school, they won’t have to provide transportation and their teachers won’t have the same requirements for certification as regular public school teachers do, Couch said. Vitti added that so far, charter schools have not as a whole performed better than district schools in low-income areas.If a School of Hope fails to get a C or better over five years, the bill would require that charter school to close and the control over the school building would go to the state — not back the district, Vitti said.There is no a matching bill in the Florida Senate. State Sen. Aaron Bean, a Republican representing Nassau and part of Duval County, did propose one but later withdrew it.But some observers have said it would be possible to quickly pass a Senate version by including it in an omnibus education bill, sometimes called a “legislative train,” with little or no debate.Denise Smith Amos: (904) 359-4083
Article provided by Karen Nuland, President-Duval County Council of PTAs
Here is the latest from National PTA that they want you to take action on.