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.


Diana L. Greene, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

2019-2020 Slate of Officers

DCC PTA is proud to announce the slate of officers nominated for next year’s executive board:

President: Theresa Rogers

1st VP Programs: Cathy Guiler

2nd VP Local Units: Santhea Hicks-Brown

3rd VP Leadership: Kay Hawkins

Recording Secretary: Jimminda Thompson

Corresponding Secretary: Priscilla Maass

Treasurer: Graham Guiler

2018-2019 Florida Reflections winners from Duval

Congratulations to the following 18 Duval County students who won a Reflections award at the State level for their artwork!  Award of Excellence winners will continue on to the national competition.

Visual Arts
Savannah H. Alimicani Merit
Ever M-F GRASP Academy Excellence
Rex F. Pine Forest Merit
Ashley N. Stanton College Prep Merit
Micole A. Sandalwood High School Merit
Dance Choreography
Reece W. Douglas Anderson SOTA Excellence
Amanda T. Douglas Anderson SOTA Merit
Film Production
Elizabeth A. Douglas Anderson SOTA Merit
Ethan E. Douglas Anderson SOTA Merit
Leila Jane D. Julia Landon Middle Merit
Gabrielle K. Sandalwood High School Merit
Payton T. Paon SAS Merit
Music Composition
Macy C. Douglas Anderson SOTA Merit
Elijah R. New Berlin Merit
Joe A. GRASP Academy Merit
Dorothy K. James Weldon Johnson Middle Merit
Michaela H. Douglas Anderson SOTA Merit

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



February 1, 2019

Contact Information:

Linda Kearschner, President

FAX 407-240-9577

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
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.

DCCPTA Reflections Winners


Congratulations to all of the schools and students that participated in this year’s Reflections program, “Heroes Around Me”!

Here is the list of winners at the County level.

Duval County Winners 2018-2019

For each grade division, three entries were given the Award of Excellence; these entries have been forwarded to the State Reflections program for judging at the state level. We will keep you apprised if any entries advance to National PTA for judging in the late Spring.

DCCPTA High School Scholarship Application

The Duval County Council of PTAs is pleased to offer six (6) $500 scholarships to students graduating from Duval County schools in 2019.  This is a one-time (non-renewable) award of $500.

There are several changes to the application.  This year there are four scholarship categories:  University & Fine Arts, Community College, Vocational-Technical and Adversity/Opportunity, each with specific GPA requirements.  The Adversity/Opportunity scholarship is for a student who has an extenuating hardship situation that they are working to overcome.  Additionally, these scholarships are available to students who are attending out of state schools, an option that was not available last year.

The scholarships are available to Duval County high school students who are members of their PTA/PTSAs or the Sunshine State PTA.  Student’s full-time enrollment for 2019-2020 must be at an accredited postsecondary institution.  See https://ope.ed.gov/accreditation for the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.  Applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2019. The deadline has been extended to April 15, 2019!

We look forward to reviewing the applications.  For more information, contact Scholarship@dccpta.org.

2019-DCCPTA-scholarship-application  (.PDF)

2019-DCCPTA-scholarship-application (.DOC)

Florida PTA also offers multiple scholarships of $2000.  For more information on how to apply for a Florida PTA scholarship visit  FloridaPTA

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


  • 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


  • 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: