2015 Legislative Roundup
– Impacts statutory accountability provisions related to the state’s public school student assessment program, the educator performance evaluation system, and the statewide public school accountability system. The bill maintains the statutorily provided 2014-2015 school year transition to the Florida Standards Assessments, including the suspension of negative consequences associated with school grades and school improvement ratings. Specifically, the bill makes adjustments to student assessment, performance evaluation requirements and school accountability.
– Education Accountability: Revises provisions relating to uniform opening date of public schools, high-performing school districts, student & parent rights, student remediation, scholar designation for standard high school diploma, statewide standardized assessment program, administration & proctoring of assessments, student progression, student evaluation for college readiness, Florida School Recognition Program, research-based reading instruction allocation, salary schedules, evaluation procedures & criteria, teacher certification, & professional development.– Education Accountability; Providing that the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics online assessments may not be fully implemented until certain technology infrastructure, connectivity, and capacity have been tested, verified, and certified as ready; specifying that, for the purpose of the student assessment program, state and local student assessment programs must use the minimum amount of testing necessary; providing that the PSAT, SAT, and ACT are tests that may be accepted in lieu of a common placement test to assess student college readiness; revising the personnel evaluation procedures and criteria, including student learning assessments, etc.– Opening and Closing of Public Schools by Senator Montford; Revising a requirement for the uniform opening date of public schools to allow an opening date of up to 21 days before Labor Day; providing that academically high-performing school districts must comply with provisions relating to the uniform opening date of public schools, etc.– Maximum Class Size by Senator Garcia; Requiring the calculation of a school district’s class size categorical allocation reduction at the school average when maximum class size requirements are not met; revising the calculation, etc.– School Bus Stop Safety by Senator Simmons; Citing this act as the "Gabby's Law for School Bus Stop Safety"; revising penalties for failure to stop a vehicle upon approaching a school bus that displays a stop signal; providing for criminal penalties under certain circumstances; amending provisions relating to application of specified provisions, disposition of penalty amounts received, and trauma payments, etc.– Background Screening by Rep. Sprowls; Revises requirement relating to background screening of instructional personnel in virtual instruction programs; provides additional offenses that determine ineligibility for educator certification or employment; revises requirements for submission, retention, search, and reporting of fingerprints of educational personnel and contractual personnel; provides for FDLE participation in national retained print arrest notification program.- Students with Disabilities: This bill makes changes to the new Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts that was enacted last year. The program sets up reimbursement accounts for parents of students with certain disabilities. $18 million was set aside last year and the program will expand in this year’s budget.
KTS3– School Administration by K-12 ; Updates and streamlines provisions relating to compulsory attendance and enforcement for both public and private schools; revises requirements related to early warning systems (EWS) for middle schools; revises incident and bullying reporting requirements; provides for professional development on suicide prevention; promotes transparency and strengthens ethical requirements for local school officials; etc.
KTS2– Standard Student Attire by K-12; Creates the “Students Attired for Education (SAFE) Act” and enumerates the benefits of a standard student attire policy; encourages district school boards to enact a policy requiring standard student attire in at least kindergarten through eighth grade; provides immunity from civil liability based upon adoption of such a policy; provides additional funds to school boards that enact a standard student attire policy. [NOTE: The bill allocates a total of $10,000 to provide up to $10 per student in K-8 in qualifying districts.]