Sunday, October 21, 2018

Florida school board term limit backers jump start campaign for Amendment 8

The November general election might seem distant to many Floridians, who still await a list of candidates for many of the August primaries.

But the bottom of the ballot will be filled with more than a dozen amendments that will compete for attention with more high-profile races including U.S. senator and the state's governor. Attaining the 60 percent threshold to win approval could be an uphill climb.

That's why backers of Amendment 8 are kicking off their formal effort to promote the three-pronged education proposal now.

Constitution Revision commissioner Erika Donalds, the Collier County School Board member who sponsored the measure, announced Monday the creation of the political committee 8 is Great. She's joined by Indian River County School Board chairman Shawn Frost and Duval County School Board member Scott Shine in the effort.

All three have announced they will not seek reelection this fall. They each have been vocal conservative voices for education initiatives as participants in the Florida Coalition of School Board Members, a group that sprouted in opposition to the larger Florida School Boards Association's lawsuit challenging state tax credit scholarships.

"Amendment 8 is Great for Florida's future, and we are committed to communicating that message to all Floridians," Donalds said in a released statement. "As school board members, we are convinced that fresh ideas and diverse opportunities for innovation are essential to creating a system of public education that works for every student. When it comes to the policy necessary to deliver that change, Amendment 8 is Great!"

Amendment 8 includes three concepts — term limits for school board members, required civics literacy instruction in public schools, and authority for the Legislature to create new forms of public schools not responsive to school boards.

The bundling of the ideas, which critics have argued do not connect except for touching on education broadly, has drawn heavy censure from several groups.

Related: Three education ideas in one proposed Florida constitutional amendment earns negative reviews 

Donalds has consistently taken the lead in boosting the concepts individually and as a single amendment. She advocated for them at the Constitution Revision Commission sessions, corralling support, and also publicly through speeches and op-ed pieces in state media.

She said she's now working to build a grassroots coalition to back the proposal, calling it necessary to ensure the state can continue to respond to student needs with new education models.

Related: Florida education proposal tagged as Amendment 8 (sound familiar?) 

Comments
ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Oct. 14, 2018

ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Oct. 14, 2018

Frustrated with a string of legislative losses, the Florida Education Association — the state’s largest teacher union — selected new leadership for the coming three years. New president Fed Ingram promised to “start winning ag...
Published: 10/20/18
Student who mangled fingers with school table saw sues Pinellas School Board

Student who mangled fingers with school table saw sues Pinellas School Board

A Northeast High School student who mangled his fingers using a table saw in class in 2016 is suing the Pinellas County School Board for negligence, asking for at least $15,000 in damages.According to a lawsuit filed Oct. 12, Brandon Jacob ...
Published: 10/19/18
State to designate Florida ‘Schools of Excellence’ for flexibility on some rules

State to designate Florida ‘Schools of Excellence’ for flexibility on some rules

Eighty-eight Florida schools will join 630 others in gaining relief from some state education laws as "Schools of Excellence."The recognition, developed by lawmakers in 2017 as part of HB 7069, grants principals greater autonomy in daily operations, ...
Published: 10/19/18
Florida education news: Campus climate, contract talks, student discipline and more

Florida education news: Campus climate, contract talks, student discipline and more

CLIMATE SURVEY: Large majorities of Pinellas County teachers say they feel valued and safe at their schools. District officials plan to break down these and other survey results by school, and use the information to make any needed improvements....
Published: 10/19/18
New survey shows most school staff in Pinellas feel valued, safe

New survey shows most school staff in Pinellas feel valued, safe

Pinellas County schools recently wrapped up a new type of survey which asked school-level staff to evaluate aspects about their workplace.The results show about 70 percent of the 3,952 respondents agree that they feel valued by the adm...
Published: 10/18/18
Pasco school employees ask for 4.5 percent raises plus a bonus

Pasco school employees ask for 4.5 percent raises plus a bonus

Contending the school district has more money available than it has discussed, the United School Employees of Pasco requested 4.5 percent raises plus a nonrecurring bonus for all its support personnel during negotiations Wednesday.A similar requ...
Published: 10/18/18
Gradebook podcast: Are 11th and 12th grades a waste of time? A discussion on dual enrollment and early college

Gradebook podcast: Are 11th and 12th grades a waste of time? A discussion on dual enrollment and early college

As a Florida state lawmaker, John Legg often spoke about how the final two years of high school were becoming less important to students who had already passed many of their graduation requirements and could benefit from better preparation for colleg...
Published: 10/18/18
Florida education news: Teacher pay, school threats, special education and more

Florida education news: Teacher pay, school threats, special education and more

TEACHER PAY: Pasco County's school employees union prepares to make a salary request that exceeds what district officials have said is available. The sides have delayed negotiations two months while awaiting updated financial information. •...
Published: 10/18/18
Pasco school district gets strong credit ratings for upcoming issue

Pasco school district gets strong credit ratings for upcoming issue

In advance of selling $67.5 million in certificates of participation, the Pasco County school district sent several high level officials to New York to pitch for a good credit rating.The effort paid off, chief finance officer Olga Swinson told t...
Published: 10/17/18
Pasco County school employee contract talks turn to salaries

Pasco County school employee contract talks turn to salaries

After a two month break while awaiting updated financial data, negotiators for Pasco County school employees and the district administration return to bargaining this week, with plans to start talking pay.The United School Employees of Pasco intends ...
Published: 10/17/18