10 Reasons Why it is the Right Plan for Duval County
YOUR CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES
District 1: Joyce Morgan
Phone: (904) 255-5201
District 2: Al Ferraro
Phone: (904) 255-5202
District 3: Aaron L. Bowman
Phone: (904) 255-5203
District 4: Scott Wilson
Phone: (904) 255-5204
District 5: LeAnn Cumber
Phone: (904) 255-5205
District 6: Michael Boylan
Phone: (904) 255-5206
District 7: Reggie Gaffney
Phone: (904) 255-5207
District 8: Ju’Coby Pittman
Phone: (904) 255-5208
District 9: Garrett L. Dennis
Phone: (904) 255-5209
District 10: Brenda Priestly-Jackson
Phone: (904) 255-5211
District 12: Randy White
Phone: (904) 255-5212
District 13: Rory Diamond
Phone: (904) 255-5213
District 14: Randy DeFoor
Phone: (904) 255-5214
At-Large 1: Terrance Freeman
Phone: (904) 255-5215
At-Large 2: Ron Salem
Phone: (904) 255-5216
At-Large 3: Tommy Hazouri
Phone: (904) 255-5217
At-Large 4: Matt Carlucci
Phone: (904) 255-5218
At-Large 5: Samuel Newby
Phone: (904) 255-5219
A message from FLORIDA PTA
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.
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:
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
Did you miss our Lunch & Learn about Raising Your Kid in the Digital World?
The Monique Burr Foundation gave us so much information! Read through the attachment below to see some of the startling statistics and problems facing our young “digital natives.”
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.
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.
The Duval County Council of PTAs is pleased to offer six (6) $500 scholarships to students graduating from Duval County schools in 2020. This is a one-time (non-renewable) award of $500.
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 2020-2021 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, 2020.
We look forward to reviewing the applications. For more information, contact Scholarship@dccpta.org.
Florida PTA also offers multiple scholarships of $2000. For more information on how to apply for a Florida PTA scholarship visit FloridaPTA
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.
Bills to watch:
SB7030 – School Safety and Security aims to arm teachers – opposed by FL PTA
Health & Safety