BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board won't finalize its 2019 legislative platform until at least next week, when it's set to go to a final vote. But it still got some action Monday at the Hernando County legislative delegation meeting, where local officials told the county's one state senator and two state representatives what they want help getting next year.
The latest draft of the platform still lists the district's top "priority need" as transportation, including finding a way to bus students who live within 2 miles of their schools. But Superintendent John Stratton lead with the district's one appropriation request: $2.3 million to replace decade-old student computers.
Here's a full list of the district's asks:
- Tech: Though teacher and faculty technology updates have come more recently, Stratton said the district hasn’t updated student computers since 2008. He said the district hopes to “develop a refresh plan for our student computer use every five to seven years,” and the district hopes to get funding to start a plan to replace about half its student technology or enter into a technology leasing program.
- Transportation: The lack of busing for Hernando County students who live near their schools has become a heated topic of late, and debate among officials has had more to do with how to do it than with whether it should be done.
“That comes at a great cost,” Stratton told legislators Monday. “We recognize that.” He asked that the state fund all the district’s transportation of eligible students — it funded 63 percent last year — or remove a penalty, based on an “efficiency formula,” that would hit the district if it started busing students within 2 miles.
- Teacher recruitment: Stratton asked the legislators to fight for the change or removal of two possible barriers for new teachers: exam costs and exams themselves. The district’s asks include reducing certification exam costs as well as letting prospective teachers use an advanced degree or a portfolio, to be judged by a state or district board, to count for the mandatory general knowledge exam.
- Career and technical education: The school district has an eye toward expanding its career and technical programs — a proposed redesign of how schools feed into each other could come with more vocational programs. Sen. Wilton Simpson asked for the district to come back with more specifics on what the legislature could change to help expand such programs.
- Early learning: Without any new request, Stratton asked that the legislators continue to support full funding of pre-Kindergarten education.