Florida School Boards Association lobbying priorities

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The Florida School Boards Association is a government sector lobbying association. The following is a list of the organization's lobbying priorities.[1]

School funding

The organization wants state education appropriations to fully fund enrollment and inflation costs. It wants the restoration of funding for cuts made during the 2007-2008 fiscal year and to prevent future cuts.[1]

The group believes school districts should not be impacted by the effects of property tax initiatives.[1]

The Base Student Allocation must be increased to provide for enrollment, price level inflation, adequate and competitive increases to employee salaries.[1]

The Legislature must oppose any efforts to cap, reduce, eliminate, or direct the distribution of school impact fees. In addition, recent changes regarding the composition and legal counsel for Value Adjustment Boards should be repealed.[1]

Mills

The FSBA wants to restore the full optional district 2 mill capital outlay levy and to remove all restrictions on the use of this local revenue by districts which use the funds to pay property and casualty insurance costs.[1]

It also believes statutes relating to District Millage Elections should be modified to allow school districts to renew a voted ad valorem tax millage for operations for a period of 10 years.

Unfunded mandates

The FSBA supports a constitutional amendment that denounces unfunded mandates:[1]
“The state shall not mandate

or assign any new, expanded or modified programs or responsibilities to any political subdivision in such a way as to necessitate additional local expenditures by the political subdivision unless such programs or responsibilities are fully funded by the state or unless such programs or responsibilities are approved for funding by a

vote of the local legislative body of the political subdivision”.

Class size

The association wants class size requirements and sanctions for noncompliance to be suspended. It also supports a financial impact study for the costs of class size implementation to date to be presented to the Legislature by the beginning of the 2010 Legislative Session.[1]

School calendar

The organization wants the legislature to provide school districts with maximum flexibility in designing the school calendar, including flexibility to set the school start date and to determine the number of school days per week and per year.

Workforce education programs

The state must implement an adequate statewide funding system for workforce education programs, including the restoration of cost factors for career education for students in grades 6-8.[1]

The state should require a study to determine the additional costs of providing "state of the art" education in high school career academies.[1]

Transportation

This association endorses full funding from the state for transportation to and from schools.[1]

According to the FSBA, the definition of hazardous walking conditions should be updated so that middle and high schools receive the same funding for safe-crossing as elementary school students.[1]

Emergency facilities

Adequate funding must be provided for replacement and repairs due to storm damage, and for operational costs associated with the operation of emergency shelters before, during, and after storms.[1]

No Child Left Behind

The federal and state level should improve alignment of the federal No Child Left Behind Act with Florida’s A+ Accountability system so they are consistent and improve the No Child Left Behind Act as proposed by NSBA.[1]

In determining school grades, scores of students new to the district should be excluded until both performance scores and learning gain scores are available for these students.[1] Revisions to the high school grade formula should be delayed until the 2010-2011 school year.[1]

The statewide administration of the FCAT must be scheduled as late as possible in the school year. Test scores, content, and scoring methodology should be annually reviewed by an independent review team. Publishers must be required to share FCAT test item banks when requested by districts.[1]

Education programs

Enhancements to the Voluntary Prekindergarten Program are needed to meet the recommendations of the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Education Advisory Council. Sufficient funding must be provided to ensure that all eligible students are able to participate.[1]

The group wants an increase federal funding for education programs like Title I and federally-mandated programs like IDEA.[1]

Supports funding for “Green School” projects.[1]

Expand and improve early education by creating a new federal grant program to develop, expand and sustain voluntary, universal preschool programs.[1]

Protect and strengthen the E-rate Program by opposing any attempts to undermine or de-fund it.

School choice

Charter schools

The group believes all statutory provisions relating to the Florida Schools of Excellence Commission must be repealed. The result of an appeal of a charter school application to the State Board of Education must not be binding on the school district. In addition, all charter school contracts must include provisions requiring the reversion of the facility to the school district and/or the recapture of any state or local investment in the facility.

Vouchers

The FSBA is "steadfast in opposition" to voucher programs and believes the provisions enacting voucher programs should be repealed, phasing out the programs.

Personnel

Each school district must have the control and flexible use of adequate funds for locally bargained competitive salaries, professional development, and programs to support personnel.

A new, dedicated funding source must be identified to provide a full-time nurse in every public school.

The federal government should help by assisting schools and districts in the recruitment, support and retention of quality teachers through incentives, NCLB reauthorization, and Higher Education reauthorization.

Teacher recognition

Full funding must be restored for application assistance and for appropriate bonuses for teachers who obtain National Board Certification. Additionally, full supplements must be restored for teachers whose students successfully complete algebra before high school and for students who successfully complete AP, IB, and other similar advanced programs.

Training

The Legislature should support state funding for the training of school board members in legal mandates, best practices, open government, and other areas of expertise.

Local control

The Legislature must not encroach on the authority of elected school boards to “supervise, operate and control” public schools.

School districts must also have flexibility in implementing zero tolerance policies and age appropriate remedies for violations.

Other issues

Stop any efforts to prevent school districts from claiming reimbursement for administrative and transportation expenses in connection with services they provide to Medicaid-eligible children with disabilities.

Support locally-developed strategies to improve student nutrition without expanding federal mandates or regulations that dictate nutrition standards to local school districts.

See also

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 2009 Legislative Priorities (dead link)