Florida Coalition of School Board Members gains stronger foothold
The Florida Coalition of School Board Members -- a group that broke away from the more established Florida School Boards Association over philosophical issues less than two years ago -- is continuing to secure its place at the table of Florida education decision-makers.
For the first time in its short history, the organization will appear before the State Board of Education to discuss policy issues right alongside the FSBA, state superintendents association and the college presidents association.
In its scheduled presentation during Wednesday's board workshop, the coalition is expected to discuss such ideas as allowing schools to return to paper-pencil testing, and expanding school choice options to include transportation.
School choice issues were the impetus for the coalition's creation. Members of several school boards across Florida took issue with the FSBA's participation in a lawsuit challenging Florida's tax credit scholarship program, and sought to promote a different, more conservative approach. So they stepped away.
Lawmakers gave the coalition some added swing in their 2016 session, passing a bill that allowed school board members to decide what organization they wanted to spend their state-funded training money on. The coalition remains relatively small in comparison to the FSBA.
It remains to be seen how much clout it will amass as its voice gains more listeners.
"This is the workshop where the DOE will present their proposed legislative budget and issues to the State Board of Education, so we are certainly hoping to have an influence before those priorities are finalized," coalition president Erika Donalds of Collier County said.
The board workshop begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday.