POLK COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

2020 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

PCPS is guided by the vision that all students will receive the knowledge and skills necessary to be productive citizens and is committed to its mission of delivering a high-quality education to all students. In pursuit of this vision and mission, PCPS has set the following legislative priorities for 2020:

STATE TARGETED PRIORITIES

  • Provide at least a 3% increase to the Base Student Allocation (BSA) and discontinue rolling back the Required Local Effort (RLE).
  • Redirect funding from all bonus programs to salary increases for all staff.
    Ensure the state share of funding for school safety officers exceeds the amount the district must contribute from local funds.
  • Establish and fund a study of the impact of changes to the hazardous walking conditions statute (1006.23) on student safety and district transportation costs.

PCPS TARGETED PRIORITIES

  • Codify and continue funding the Funding Compression Allocation for school districts funded below the statewide per-student average to make it a permanent part of the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) formula.
  • Require FDOE to provide state-calculated VAM-only scores to school districts by July 31 annually.
  • Fully fund the cost for a mental health counselor at each school in the district.

Legislative Resources

What is a Bill?

For an overview of the legislative process, including how a bill becomes a law, we recently visited an American Government class at Mulberry High School. Watch the video below.

BILLS WE'RE TRACKING

The following bills would have significant impacts
on our students, staff, and parents.

Deletes an exemption from specified tuition and fees for students enrolled in approved apprenticeship programs at specified institutions. Temporarily postponed.

Creates the “Florida Internship Tax Credit Program,” providing a credit against the corporate income tax to a taxpayer employing a degree-seeking student intern if certain criteria are met; specifies the amount of the credit; specifies a limit on the credit claimed per taxable year. Passed by a vote of 5 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Finance and Tax. 

Modifies multiple provisions of the Florida Education Code, primarily related to school accountability and statewide, standardized assessments, as follows:

  • Requires school districts to choose either the SAT or ACT for district-wide administration to grade 11 students beginning in the 2020-2021 school year and revises the school grades calculation to incorporate student performance on the SAT or ACT beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.
  • Requires all students, by grade 12, to take a civic literacy assessment beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. The bill requires post-secondary students to demonstrate civic literacy by successfully completing a civic literacy course and achieving a passing score on the civic literacy assessment.
  • Removes the grade 9 English Language Arts (ELA) assessment beginning in 2022-2023.
  • Authorizes the discontinuance of the statewide, standardized Geometry end-of-course assessment.
  • Requires the statewide, standardized math and ELA assessments in grades 3 through 6 to be paper-based.
  • Requires a student’s final report card to be issued no later than one week after the last day of school or one week after the receipt of assessment results.
  • Revises the school turnaround process by requiring implementation of a district-managed turnaround option after the first year a school earns a grade of “D” or “F.” The bill authorizes a school district to request a new turnaround option during the implementation of a turnaround option and authorizes the State Board of Education to revoke a turnaround plan if a school district fails to follow the terms and conditions of its approved plan.
  • Clarifies that a student whose parent is transferred to a military installation within Florida can enroll in another school district through controlled open enrollment.
  • Requires the Florida Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement to provide information on resources and opportunities and identify public and private partnerships to provide college advising services to further increase post-secondary access and success for students.
  • Provides the Department of Education (DOE) the authority to hold patents, copyrights, trademarks, and service marks, and allows the DOE to sell, lease, license, or transfer rights for monetary gain.
  • Authorizes the DOE to establish time frames for advertisement and submission of bids for the 2020 adoption cycle of instructional materials.
  • Excludes from the cost per student station caps any costs associated with a solar energy system located on the property of a school facility.
  • The committee substitute appropriates $8 million in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund to the DOE to implement the SAT or ACT assessment provisions.

Passed by a vote of 5 to 0. Next committee of reference:  Senate Education Appropriations. Not on calendar for next scheduled meeting.

Designates the “Parents’ Bill of Rights”; provides that the state, its political subdivisions, other governmental entities, or other institutions may not infringe on parental rights without demonstrating specified information; provides that a parent of a minor child has specified rights relating to his or her minor child; requires each district school board, in consultation with parents, teachers, and administrators, to develop and adopt a policy to promote parental involvement in the public school system; prohibits certain health care practitioners from taking specified actions without a parent’s written permission.

Passed by a vote of 3 to 2. Next committee: Senate Rules, on agenda for Feb. 26, 2020. House companion in House calendar on second reading.

Revises qualification requirements for health care practitioners engaged by charter and private schools to provide Medicaid school-based services.

Passed by a vote of 5 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Requires each public school to be equipped with a panic alarm system.

Temporarily postponed; on agenda for Feb. 25, 2020. House companion in House Education committee. 

Establishes the Florida Seal of Fine Arts Program to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of skill in fine arts coursework; provides criteria to earn the Seal of Fine Arts; requires the Commissioner of Education and school districts to perform specified duties to administer the program; prohibits a school district or the Department of Education from charging a fee for the seal.

Passed by a vote of 8 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Clarifies that secondary students in secondary home education programs are eligible for dual enrollment programs; prohibits district school boards and Florida College System institutions from denying students who have met eligibility requirements from participating in dual enrollment except under specified circumstances; provides that certain independent colleges and universities are eligible for inclusion in dual enrollment and early admission programs; establishes the Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program. The bill was amended at this hearing to:

  • Specify that only public post-secondary institutions are eligible to be reimbursed through the dual enrollment scholarship.
  • Allow institutions to be reimbursed for dual enrollment related to workforce instruction leading to a career certificate or an applied technology diploma.

Passed by a vote of 8 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Includes the study of a specified policy against anti-Semitism in specified instruction; provides school district, charter school, and Department of Education (DOE) requirements relating to such instruction; authorizes the department to work with certain Holocaust educational organizations for specified purposes relating to the required instruction. The bill was amended at this hearing to:

  • Include the policy against anti-Semitism described in s. 1000.05(7).
  • Require each school district and charter school to annually certify and provide evidence to the DOE, in a manner prescribed by the DOE, that the requirements of instruction on the history of the Holocaust are met.
  • Require the DOE to prepare and offer curricular standards for instruction on the history of the Holocaust.
  • Authorize the DOE to work with state or nationally recognized Holocaust educational organizations, in addition to the Florida Holocaust Museum, to develop:
    • Grade-appropriate curricula
    • Training for instructional personnel
    • Classroom resources for required instruction on the history of the Holocaust

Passed by a vote of 8 to 0. -Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Revises credit requirements to earn a standard high school diploma to include career and technical education rather than practical arts; specifies that eligible courses are identified in the Course Code Directory.

Passed by a vote of 8 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Requires a moment at the beginning of each school day and provides requirements for such moments of silence.

Passed by a vote of 17-0, next stop the House floor. Placed on calendar on seond reading.

Deletes Office of Early Learning; creates Division of Early Learning within the Department of Education (DOE); revises provisions relating to early learning coalitions, voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) and school readiness programs, and DOE responsibilities and duties relating to early learning. A strike-all amendment was adopted at this committee hearing. The strike-all amendment:

  • Replaces the assignment of “A” through “F” grades to VPK providers with the following designations, from highest to lowest performing: “excellent,” “highly proficient,” “proficient,” “emerging proficient,” and “unsatisfactory”; allows the State Board to adopt comparable designation terminology so long as letter grades are not used, and specifies that a provider earning a “proficient” or lower designation is not eligible for a VPK differential payment.
  • Specifies that a Gold Seal program accrediting association must have compliance procedures that include risk-based, on-site auditing protocols, procedures for revoking provider accreditation, and on-site verification at least every five years.
  • Deletes the prohibition on Department of Children and Families adopting licensing standards that exceed current standards and establishes a two-year period, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022, during which any changes to licensing standards must be ratified by the legislature.
  • Matches the minimum program assessment composite score for VPK providers to the minimum School Readiness assessment composite score for contracting purposes.
  • Specifies that a valid educational leadership certificate issued by the DOE satisfies the prekindergarten director credential.
  • Requires an annual customer satisfaction survey be provided to each of an Early Learning Coalition’s (ELC) stakeholders and requires the ELC to implement a one-year corrective action plan if the results are below 60 percent. The DOE may contract with another entity or merge the ELC if the survey results do not reach 60 percent satisfaction or higher once implementing the corrective action plan.
  • Restores the number of ELC members from between 13 and 15 to between 15 and 30; restores authority for the governor to appoint the ELC chair but allows the commissioner to appoint an ELC member as interim chair in the absence of a governor-appointed chair; allows an ELC to request an alternate designee to fill a nonparticipating member’s spot in the same capacity; and allows an ELC to appoint two additional members of the business community.
  • Requires each ELC to annually evaluate the performance of its executive director or chief executive officer and submit the evaluation to the DOE by June 30, annually.
  • Clarifies that ELCs have authority to oversee implementation of VPK and School Readiness programs within their regions.
  • Makes School Readiness and VPK program provider profiles available through the Child Care Resource & Referral agencies and requires the profile to indicate certain information.
  • Specifies that the CSPMP must capture data that may enable the identification of early indicators of dyslexia or other developmental delays.
  • Specifies that intensive reading interventions using the research-based reading allocation be evidence-based.
  • Allocates $677,759 of the appropriation for the VPK program assessment.
  • Provides that the bill takes effect upon becoming a law.

Passed by a vote of 17-0, next stop the House floor. Placed on Special Order calendar for Feb. 26, 2020.

Requires Commissioner of Education to annually provide state VAM results to school districts by July 31.

Passed by a vote of 17-0, next stop the House floor. Placed on calendar on second reading.

Revises provisions relating to Department of Education (DOE) powers and duties, Florida Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement, statewide assessment program, turnaround options and plans, school grading system, and turnaround school supplemental services allocation, and provides appropriation. Three amendments were adopted at this committee hearing. The amendments:

  • Limit turnaround options for a school that earns a grade of “D” or “F” within three years, rather than within four years, after improving to a grade of “C,” beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.
  • Requires a school district’s annually submitted TSSSA plan to include a memorandum of agreement with a charter school or an external operator when a school in its district completes its first year of district-managed turnaround, rather than requiring the TSSSA plan to establish at least one contract with a charter school or an external operator to provide services.
  • Makes the DOE’s authority to establish time frames for advertisement and submission of bids for the 2020 adoption cycle of instructional materials effective upon the bill becoming law.

Passed by a vote of 13-3, next stop the House floor.

Proposes amendments to the state constitution to limit the terms of office for a member of a district school board to two terms prospectively. As a joint resolution, this bill needed a 3-5 vote of the body to pass.

Passed by a vote of 79-39.

Amends s. 1011.80, F.S., to authorize a school district career center to conduct an Associate in Applied Science or an Associate in Science nursing degree program if the career center offering the Associate in Science nursing degree program offers it only to graduates of a licensed practical nursing program offered by the same center.

Passed by a vote of 117-0.

Provides for alternative award of credits and letter grades under certain circumstances; renames Competency-Based Education Pilot Program as Mastery-Based Education Pilot Program; authorizes public school districts to submit applications for program; and revises statewide articulation agreement.

Passed by a vote of 115-2.

Revises provisions related to school capital outlay surtaxes (sharing with charter schools) and corporate income taxes, and provides tax-free holidays.

On Appropriations committee agenda for Feb. 25, 2020.

Revises conditions that counties, municipalities, and special districts must satisfy before enacting an impact fee by ordinance or resolution; provides that impact fee credits are assignable and transferable under certain conditions; requires counties and municipalities to establish impact fee review committees; provides for membership; provides procedures for meetings and establishing quorums; provides committee duties.

Passed State Affairs by a vote of 20-0. Next stop House floor.

Revises calculation of school grades to include certain students who earned a specified score on ASVAB.

Passed by a vote of 18-0. Next stop the House floor.

Requires the Department of Education to maintain a disqualification list of certain individuals; revises provisions relating to employment and termination of certain public school and private school employees; revises duties of DOE, commissioner of education and school districts relating to employee conduct and employment, and termination of certain public school and private school employees.

Passed by a vote of 14-0. Next stop the House floor.

Prohibits costs associated with certain solar energy systems from being included in cost per student station limitations.

Passed by a vote of 15-0. Next stop the House floor. Placed on calendar on second reading.

Authorizes state universities and Florida College System institutions to sponsor charter schools; revises reporting and accountability requirements; provides for funding; authorizes career and professional academies to be offered by charter schools.

Passed by a vote of 16-1. Next stop the House floor.

Includes study of specified policy against anti-Semitism in specified instruction; provides school district, charter school and Department of Education (DOE) requirements relating to such instruction; authorizes DOE to contract with certain Holocaust educational organizations for specified purposes.

Passed by a vote of 16-0. Next stop the House floor.

Prohibits use of seclusion on students; revises provisions relating to use of restraint on certain students; provides Department of Education (DOE), school district, school and personnel requirements; provides for placement of video cameras in specified classrooms; provides requirements for such placement; requires continuing education and in-service training for teaching students with emotional or behavioral disabilities.

Passed by a vote of 16-0. Next stop the House floor. Placed on calendar on second reading.

Revises provisions relating to the Board of Trustees for Florida Virtual School (FLVS), marketing for FLVS, virtual charter schools, and virtual instruction providers; creates executive director office of inspector general for FLVS.

Passed by a vote of 14-0. Next stop the House floor. Placed on calendar on second reading.

Requires the Commissioner of Education to submit to certain entities reports with recommendations relating to implementation of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program; provides requirements for such programs and reports; provides for expiration.

Passed by a vote of 16-0. Next stop the House floor.

Establishes the task force adjunct to the Department of Management Services; specifies the task force’s purpose; provides for the membership of the task force; provides requirements and restrictions for members of the task force; requires the task force to report recommendations to the governor and the legislature by a specified date.

Next committee: Senate Rules. No House companion.

Designates the “Florida Fair Claims Act”; increases the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against the state and its agencies and subdivisions; revises when a state and its agencies and subdivisions may agree to settle a claim or judgment without further action from the legislature; requires that the limitations on tort liability be adjusted every year after a specified date; prohibits an insurance policy from conditioning the payment of benefits on the enactment of claim bills.

Next committee: Senate Appropriations. No House companion bill.

Requires Commissioner of Education to annually provide state VAM results to school districts by July 31.

Has not moved. House companion noted above in House Education committee.

Authorizes a sheriff to contract for services to provide training under the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program; adds penalties for persons who knowingly submit false information to a law enforcement agency; revises the training, consultation, and coordination responsibilities of the Office of Safe Schools; requires the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute to consult with specified state agencies and convene a work group to advise those agencies on the implementation of specified mental health recommendations.

Passed Senate Appropriations by a vote of 21-0. Next stop Senate floor. 

Revises the calculation of school grades to include certain students who completed a specified number of years of coursework as participants in the United States Armed Forces Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and earned a specified score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

Passed Senate Military and Veterans Affairs and Space by a vote of 6 to 0. Placed on Senate Rules committee agenda for Feb. 26, 2020. 

Proposes amendments to the state constitution to limit the terms of office for a member of a district school board.

Passed Senate Education by a vote of 5 to 3. Next stop Senate Rules. House companion passed on floor by 79-39.

Requires students to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to be awarded a standard high school diploma; provides an exception for parents or students over 18 who decline in writing.

Passed by a vote of 8 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Education Appropriations.

Requires school districts to prohibit the use of seclusion on students with disabilities in public schools; prohibits specified restraint techniques; requires a video camera to be placed in specified classrooms upon the request of a parent; requires schools to provide written notice to certain individuals of the placement of a video camera; requires continuing education and in-service training for instructional personnel teaching students with emotional or behavioral disabilities.

Passed by a vote of 8 to 0. Next committee of reference:  Senate Education Appropriations. Placed on agenda for Feb. 25, 2020.

Extends the scheduled expiration of the pilot program; revises an eligibility requirement.

Passed by a vote of 6 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Requires the council to submit, by a specified date, a report with recommendations related to the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, or a similar program, to the governor, the legislature, the Board of Governors, and the State Board of Education; requires the P-TECH program to incorporate secondary and post-secondary education with workforce education and work experience.

Passed by a vote of 6 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Requires the Commissioner of Education to develop minimum criteria for a nonpartisan civic literacy practicum for high school students, beginning with a specified school year; authorizes students to apply the hours they devote to practicum activities to certain community service requirements; requires the State Board of Education to designate certain high schools as Freedom Schools, based on criteria the board establishes relating to students’ civic learning and civic engagement.

Passed by a vote of 6 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Prohibits sponsors from refusing to receive a charter school application submitted during the calendar year; revises how charter schools operated by not-for-profit or municipal entities may use certain unrestricted current and capital assets; specifies how many applications a high-performing charter school may submit in any school district in the state to establish and operate a new charter school; revises the virtual instruction a virtual charter school may provide.

Passed by a vote of 6 to 0. Next committee of reference: Senate Appropriations.

Legislative News

Legislative Update text with teal capitol icon

POLK COUNTY

LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION

FIND YOUR LAWMAKERS

Photograph of Senator Tom Lee

Sen. Tom Lee
District 20
lee.tom@flsenate.gov
Capitol Office
418 Senate Office Building
850-487-5020
District Office
915 Oakfield Dr., Suite D
Brandon, FL 33511
813-653-7061

Photograph of Senator Kelli Stargel

Sen. Kelli Stargel
District 22
stargel.kelli@flsenate.gov
Capitol Office
408 Senate Office Building
850-487-5022
District Office
2033 E. Edgewood Dr., Suite 1
Lakeland, FL 33803
863-668-3028

Photograph of Senator Ben Albritton

Sen. Ben Albritton
District 26
albritton.ben@flsenate.gov
Capitol Office
308 Senate Office Building
850-487-5026
District Office
150 N. Central Ave.
Bartow, FL 33830-4742
863-534-0073

Photograph of Representative Josie Tomkow

Rep. Josie Tomkow
District 39
josie.tomkow@myfloridahouse.gov
Capitol Office
1301 The Capitol
850-717-5039
District Office
315 Pontotoc St.
Auburndale, FL 33823-3444
863-968-5666

Photograph of Representative Colleen Burton

Rep. Colleen Burton
District 40
colleen.burton@myfloridahouse.gov
Capitol Office
214 House Office Building
850-717-5040
District Office
100 S. Kentucky Ave., Suite 260
Lakeland, FL 33801-5093
863-413-2640

Photograph of Representative Sam Killebrew

Rep. Sam Killebrew
District 41
sam.killebrew@myfloridahouse.gov
Capitol Office
308 House Office Building
850-717-5041
District Office
337 Ave. C S.W.
Winter Haven, FL 33880-3262
863-291-5254

Photograph of Representative Melony Bell

Rep. Melony Bell
District 56
melony.bell@myfloridahouse.gov
Capitol Office
1301 The Capitol
850-717-5056
District Office
11 W. Broadway St.
Fort Meade, FL 33841-3303
863-285-1101

Photograph of Representative Mike La Rosa

Rep. Mike La Rosa
District 42
mike.larosa@myfloridahouse.gov
Capitol Office
418 The Capitol
850-717-5042
District Offices
1224 10th St.
St. Cloud, FL 34769-3343
407-891-2555

Suite 5, 244 E. Park Ave.
Lake Wales, FL 33853-3706
863-678-4019