I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, March 11, 2016

HB 7029 Passes, With Many Great Education-Related Amendments Added

At the last day of the session it happened.  HB 7029, a massive bill that swallowed up many others in the waning days of the session passed both houses.  Next up, the Governor's desk for his signature.  Upon passage of this bill, The Florida Coalition of School Board Members President, Erika Donalds,  School Board Member from Collier County, issued the following statement:

Florida Coalition of School Board Members Statement on Education Bill HB 7029 & Amendments
The Florida Coalition of School Board Members is pleased to see initiatives from several of the bills we supported this session now added to HB 7029 passed through the Senate and House, including:
·         Universal Public Choice/Open Enrollment: Parents should have the right to select the educational environment that works best for their students and their family. We applaud the legislature’s continuous efforts to eliminate “zip code” from the criteria under which a student is determined to receive the best education possible.
·         School Choice: As strong supporters of parental choice and charter schools, we welcome greater accountability in the way our public charter schools are approved and operate. These measures will result in higher quality charter options for Florida’s families.
·         Enforcement of state mandated construction spending cap: The state’s per-student construction spending cap helps local school board members to ensure that district administrators do not, as they have in the past, overspend on building costs. This will allow for more efficient use of capital dollars for the maximum benefit to Florida’s students.
·         Local Control: FCSBM strongly supports the ability of individual School Board Members to choose which, if any, membership association to which they will belong. That this somehow “directs money to the Coalition” is wrong-headed. It provides the opportunity to choose. Many members will opt to keep their resources within the district, at work in the classroom. There are several school board associations in the State of Florida to which this bill applies. This does not steer funding to any one of them in particular. It does, however, break up the monopoly held by one group by challenging the assumption that they are automatically entitled to almost $2,000,000 in annual funding by Florida’s taxpayers. Competition is good - it results in higher quality services at a lower cost.

We are proud to see this very good education policy found in HB 7029 and to have championed nearly all of the items contained therein. When passed, it will move Florida in the direction of being a national leader in education by enhancing parental choice, school accountability, and local control through our duly elected School Board Members. 

No comments: