More sweeping changes are headed toward Florida’s public schools, including the use of sales-tax credits to help students attend private schools.
Lawmakers continued negotiations Wednesday on a new $87 billion-plus state budget, after reaching agreement on several major issues, including a funding plan for public schools.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said the Senate has agreed with the House on how to use local property taxes to help fund the 67 school districts. The House had objected to using an increase in the local taxes, known as the “required local effort,” that came as a result of higher property values.
Florida lawmakers will use the last three weeks of the 2018 session to decide the fate of a number of major education bills that address everything from school bullying to teachers to university tuition.
Shortly before a mass shooting at a Broward County high school, a Senate committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that could dedicate more funding to Florida schools for mental health services.
The House and Senate on Wednesday advanced separate versions of an $87 billion-plus state budget, with the two chambers taking different courses on health-care spending and a plan to link education policy to the budget process.
After initial debate on the bills, the Senate is poised to pass its $87.3 billion bill (SB 2500) on Thursday, and the House is expected to pass its $87.2 billion spending plan (HB 5001). After the floor votes, the chambers will be able to begin negotiating the 2018-2019 budget, facing a March 9 end-of-session deadline.
After considering more than 100 proposals in committees, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission is ready to move into its next phase, starting with a public hearing Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale.
In a replay of last year, the House on Wednesday attached a major education policy bill to the state budget, spurring a debate on controversial issues such as a voucher-like program for students who are bullied and an effort to weaken teachers’ unions.
A proposal that would narrow the right to privacy in the state Constitution was approved Thursday by a panel of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission.
Florida House leaders unveiled a proposed higher-education budget Tuesday that includes cuts designed to spur state universities and colleges to spend some of their reserve funds.
The Constitution Revision Commission is considering a measure that could settle future disputes over the appointment of Florida Supreme Court justices, but the proposal will do nothing to resolve a constitutional crisis looming early next year.
At question is whether Gov. Rick Scott or his successor, the winner of the 2018 governor’s race, will pick the replacements for three justices --- Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince --- whose terms end as Scott’s tenure comes to a close in early January 2019.