Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

School Boards Association looks to new ideas for 2020 legislative platform

Testing, teacher pay and pre-k appear on the preliminary list of the group’s priorities.
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times The Florida School Boards Association is preparing its legislative platform in advance of the 2020 session. Committee meetings begin in September.
SCOTT KEELER | Times The Florida School Boards Association is preparing its legislative platform in advance of the 2020 session. Committee meetings begin in September.
Published Aug. 19, 2019
Updated Aug. 19, 2019

A year ago, with school safety still high on Florida’s list of concerns, the state’s school boards association focused much of its legislative platform on increasing campus security with armed officers and hardened facilities.

Having gotten much of what it asked for, the association is looking to new ideas for the 2020 session, for which committee meetings begin in September.

Testing and teacher pay could rise to the top of the heap, as the organization whittles down the ideas up for consideration. Florida School Boards Association leaders have sent out a list of 12 possibilities, scaled back from nearly 100 that members from across the state submitted.

One of them ties into legislation filed last year by Democrats Sen. Annette Taddeo and Rep. Cindy Polo. The lawmakers called for allowing students still learning English to be allowed to take state exams in their native language.

The bill didn’t go anywhere in 2019, and the Department of Education has repeatedly refused to acquiesce on the concept for its federal accountability plan, despite guidance to make “every effort” to accommodate the speakers of the most-spoken other languages.

The FSBA is poised to ask for the change, along with a reduction in the number of state-required tests. It could go even further by calling for the elimination of the requirement that state end-of-course exams count as 30 percent of a student’s course grade. As the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported this weekend, that mandate has led to some confusion and debate over what it means, and how it is applied across the state.

The group also has its eyes on improving teacher pay, something Gov. Ron DeSantis has said must be addressed. On its list is a push for a 3 percent increase in the base student allocation, which districts can spend without any added requirements, with a focus on putting more money into recruiting and retaining teachers.

In that same vein, the FSBA includes on its short list a recommendation for loan-forgiveness programs, streamlined certification requirements and related moves aimed at making it easier for schools to find and keep high quality teachers.

On another subject, the school boards group includes a plank related to improving the funding, teacher qualifications, curriculum and assessment for prekindergarten — another subject the governor recently has addressed as critical.

Generally, the FSBA issues a priority list with only five or six priorities. So some on the preliminary document are likely to be cut.

The group’s legislative steering committee meets in mid September to vote on its platform.


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. Custodian James Berrien, (center) and Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins are pictured at Cypress Creek Elementary for the opening of a time capsule buried in 1991 when Eakins was a 4th-grade teacher. It was the first year that Berrien, present at the burial of the capsule, worked at the school. Febuary 27. Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 in Ruskin.  [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  2. Hillsborough school superintendent Jeff Eakins holds a time capsule at Cypress Creek Elementary Thursday in Ruskin. Eakins, who retires soon, was a fourth-grade teacher at the school when the capsule was buried in 1991. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  3. Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, has pushed for changes to Florida's restraint and seclusion laws for nearly a decade.  (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) [Associated Press (2016)]
  4. Health officials recommend washing hands frequently and sanitizing toys, clothes and other items as often as possible to avoid the spread of viruses.
  5. An artist's rendering shows one view of Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg after a $28 million renovation. Work is expected to start in February 2021. The Pinellas County School Board approved a contract with Rowe Architects Inc. to work on the project. [Pinellas County Schools]
  6. Graduates enjoy fireworks at Bright House Field.
  7. A bill to merge Florida Polytechnic into the University of Florida keeps advancing, even as most lawmakers say they don't approve.  [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2018]
  8. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D- Orlando  [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  9. More than 100 people turned out Jan. 15, 2019, to give the Pasco County School Board their thoughts on the district's policy and procedures for transgender student rights. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
  10. Hudson High student Kaitlyn Helzer introduces herself to a curious corn snake during the Nature Coast Envirothon, held Feb. 19 at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Sumter County. Students from Pasco, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus counties tested their knowledge on aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife while vying for a spot at state competition. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
  11. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020. [JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ  |  Times]
  12. Teacher Dequita Parker guides youngsters to lunch from the playground Sept. 20 at the PromiseLand Early Childhood Education Center in Tampa.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement