Tallahassee, FL – 03/19/18 – On March 16, 2018, less than a week after receiving a budget from legislators, Governor Scott signed the state budget that includes increased funding for education, funding for school safety initiatives and mental health services, and an historic capital outlay allocation for Florida charter schools. Eligible public charter schools will share $145 million in capital outlay. This increase is due to language in HB 7055 that frees school districts from having to share local property taxes (as outlined in Hb7069 passed in 2017) used for construction and maintenance with the charter schools.
Click here to see the final budget.
“I’d like to thank Ralph Arza, our Director of Governmental Affairs, and our advocacy team for their accomplishments this session,” said Lynn Norman-Teck, FCSA’s Executive Director. “They worked closely with lawmakers to ensure that charter schools were included in the budget and key education legislation. We also want to thank the many charter school leaders and parents who contacted their legislators on behalf of charter schools throughout the state.”
Here is a list of bills that will impact public charter schools in Florida:
- DOE will implement a grant program will provide awards to schools to fund in whole or in part the fixed capital outlay costs associated with strengthening physical integrity of schools.
- Creates the mental health assistance allocation to provide supplemental funding to assist school districts and charter schools in establishing or expanding comprehensive mental health programs and to connect students and families with appropriate services. Funding for this was including in the FEFP.
- Creates the Florida Sheriff’s Marshal Program within the DOE as a voluntary program to assist school districts and public schools in enhancing the safety and security of students, faculty, staff, and visitors to Florida’s public schools and campuses.
- A one-time stipend of $500 will be paid to participating school marshals.
- Charter schools are eligible for a proportionate share of district funding (grant) for this program upon the submission and approval of a plan that includes specified elements.
- Charter schools must develop plans, be approved by their boards, and then provided to sponsors (districts) so that they may submit all plans to the DOE.
- Creates the Office of Safe Schools – The state education agency’s primary coordinating division assigned to promote and support safe-learning environments by addressing issues of student safety and academic success at the state, district, and school levels.
- (page 27 of summary) For the 2017-18 fiscal year, $64,456,019 is appropriated for Safe Schools activities with each school district receiving a guaranteed minimum of $62,660
HB7055 – Student-centered bill that impacts families throughout Florida.
SB1940 – creates public records and public meeting exemptions for certain information related to school safety. The bill makes exempt from disclosure any information held by a law enforcement agency, school district, or charter school which would identify whether a particular individual has been appointed as a safe-school officer.