News from Tallahassee - Week of February 2, 2015

News from Tallahassee – Week of February 2, 2015:
BUDGET PRESENTATIONS, TESTING, AND DISTRICT/CHARTER COLLABORATIONS

FLORIDA – February 6, 2015 – The FCPCS Advocacy Team continues to monitor committee meetings and track bill filings in preparation for the beginning of the Florida Legislative session on March 1st. Last week in Tallahassee, Governor Scott announced his 2015/16 Budget. The Governor’s staff presented the details of his budget request to various committees of the Senate and House this week. While the funding increases the governor has requested for K-12 schools and various education initiatives is very encouraging, it is the Florida Legislature, not the governor, who will make the final funding decisions for the State of Florida. The actual amount of funding for K-12 public schools and education projects will not be known until the Legislature ends in May 2015.

In testing news, Senator John Legg (R-Lutz), the chairman of Senate Education Pre- K-12 Committee, filed a bill on February 2nd that aims to reduce the time students spend taking assessment tests. The bill, SB 616, has several key elements, including limiting the number of hours any student can take state and district mandated testing to 5 percent of the total hours he or she is in school, or 45 hours maximum, would allow districts that have demonstrated problems with the administration and implementation of the 2015 FSA exams to seek permission to use the results for diagnostic purposes only.

The Florida Department of Education chose three school districts – Broward, Duval, and Miami-Dade Counties – to receive grants intended to entice more national charter school networks to bring their successful programs to struggling urban areas. According to an article in RedefinED, “A spokeswoman for the state education department said it has so far committed about $665,000 in grant funding to each district — a three-way split of $2 million in Race to the Top funding, which is expected to start flowing to districts once their final plans are approved.” FCPCS supports district / charter school collaborations – especially projects that are aimed at helping our state’s most underserved communities.

Continue to check back with FCPCS for weekly updates from the 2015 Legislative session.

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