Saturday, September 22, 2018

Florida Board of Education to consider budget request with no change in tax rates

One phrase stands out in the guidelines Florida Board of Education members used in developing their 2019-20 legislative budget request, which comes up for adoption Friday:

"Include no change in 2018-19 millage rates, tuition or fees."

It's an issue that has proven a sticky wicket for lawmakers over the past several years. Some, primarily in the Senate, have pushed to let school districts maintain their local tax rates to take advantage of rising property values. Others, mostly in the House, have insisted that districts drop their rates so the tax revenue property owners pay remains mostly unchanged.

Related coverage: Speaker Richard Corcoran draws bright line on Florida school taxing issue 

Gov. Rick Scott took the Senate's (losing) side last year, and the Board of Education aims to align with the governor's priorities. So it looks to be posturing for another discussion on whether to allow school funding to grow naturally through increasing values.

Such a move could placate many school district leaders who complained loudly last year that the state provided only a tiny bit of additional funding without strings attached — not to mention failing to cover the full costs of required measures relating to security and mental health services.

Related coverage: The Legislature raised funding by 47 cents per student. Here's how Florida schools are coping. 

State Board members discussed such needs at their August budget workshop. They mentioned the need to better pay employees and secure schools, without making Florida become a tax heavy state.

They asked the staff to bring more details so they could consider a spending plan that meets such needs and provides districts flexibility, something they suggested was in too short supply.

The two-page agenda backup material for Thursday did not include many details of the actual legislative budget proposal, which is expected to be provided separately. That didn't concern some observers too much, though, because the state's final education budget rarely resembles the board's first pass.

"The budget process is going to carry the stamp of the leaders," Florida School Boards Association lobbyist Ruth Melton said, and many leaders will be new for the next session. "We have to take this with the recognition it is very likely to change."

Comments
ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Sept. 16, 2018

ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Sept. 16, 2018

Florida’s race for governor is officially on, and the topic of education promises to be a key issue as the candidates seek support. The major party hopefuls focused on their policy priorities over the past week, and they differ is most every wa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Two Pasco County schools see principal shift

Two Pasco County schools see principal shift

Plagued with low staff morale, Pasco Middle School on Friday got a new principal charged with improving the climate of the Dade City campus.Danielle "Dee Dee" Johnson, principal of Wesley Chapel High since early 2017, was appointed to ...
Published: 09/21/18
Time for Florida’s new student scholarships draws near

Time for Florida’s new student scholarships draws near

It's six weeks into the 2018-19 school year, and Florida's two newest scholarship programs to help struggling readers and bullied children are about to become reality.Florida lawmakers established the Reading Scholarship and the "Hope" Scholarsh...
Published: 09/21/18
Florida education news: Football, mental health, accountability and more

Florida education news: Football, mental health, accountability and more

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Republican candidate for Florida governor Ron DeSantis offers more insights on his views about Common Core, testing, charter schools and civics education. He released his position paper on education earlier in the week. Several l...
Published: 09/21/18
Following the money: Referendum and AC materials

Following the money: Referendum and AC materials

We've been collecting documents to supplement our reporting about the upcoming Hillsborough sales tax referendum and thought we would share them here. This post will be updated.First: Facebook Live video of Superintendent Jeff Eakins' first town hall...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/21/18
Mental health provider that evaluated Nikolas Cruz picked to service charter schools

Mental health provider that evaluated Nikolas Cruz picked to service charter schools

Florida's largest charter school membership organization announced Wednesday that it is partnering with Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz's former mental health care provider to render services to schools.Broward County's Henderson Behavioral Heal...
Published: 09/20/18
Delayed Pasco charter school aims for Oct. 1 move to new site

Delayed Pasco charter school aims for Oct. 1 move to new site

Plato Academy Trinity has told parents and students it's targeting Oct. 1 to open its new building on Old County Road 54.It still has several permits to obtain if it wants to meet that latest deadline.The Pasco County charter school, serving about 25...
Published: 09/20/18
Gradebook podcast: DeSantis vs. Gillum and the future of Florida education policy

Gradebook podcast: DeSantis vs. Gillum and the future of Florida education policy

Florida's two major party candidates for governor have released their education platforms, and they couldn't have offered a more distinct choice.With the exception of wanting to expand career and technical education, and to pay teachers better, Repub...
Published: 09/20/18
Florida education news: Teacher pay, Red Tide, campaign contributions and more

Florida education news: Teacher pay, Red Tide, campaign contributions and more

TEACHER PAY: Pasco County teachers and staff continue to press for raises in the district's budget, getting only board promises to keep looking for funding. One School Board member urges his colleagues to make pay a top priority.RED TIDE: T...
Published: 09/20/18
Red Tide forces two Pinellas schools to move recess, physical education inside

Red Tide forces two Pinellas schools to move recess, physical education inside

Recess and physical education classes at two south Pinellas County schools were moved inside this week due to Red Tide, a toxic algae that continues to plague area beaches with throngs of dead fish and an unmistakable foul odor.Pr...
Published: 09/19/18