Legislative Network Services
- Bob Cerra, Cerra Consulting Group
Watch this space for updates throughout the year!
November 9, 2023
2024 Legislative Initiatives posted.
May 11, 2023
This document will be updated every day. It is a one stop shop for the final enrolled language (as the bill will go to the Governor) the final bill analysis and the current executive actions.
May 2, 2023
Just 30 minutes ago, the Legislature published the Conference Report for the General Appropriations Act. I am forwarding this to you for your analysis. I am also working on my own analysis to share later. The FEFP runs were not published, yet, but I expect them to be released soon. Also, the conference reports to the two main conforming bills (retirement and Florida Education Finance Program Statute) will be released no later than Thursday morning. As soon as those are out, I will forward them to you as well.
April 24, 2023
- House FEFP now breaks Safe Schools and the Student Mental Health Allocations back out as specific allocations
- House still rolls Sparsity and most other allocations into the base
- Proposes accepting the House’s position on Sparsity and most allocations being rolled into the base
- Maintains Student Mental Health and Safe Schools as specific allocations
- Accepts House proposal on Comparative Wage Adjustment
With this transmittal, I am providing the first House Education Budget Conference Offer Spreadsheet, which was just made public in the last hour. At 1:45 p.m. today, the our subcommittee held its first public meeting on negotiating the budget. High level bullets to each are above.
March 24, 2023
House FEFP (myfloridahouse.gov)
House GAA (lobbytools.com)
House Implementing Bill (lobbytools.com)
House Education Conforming Bill – New FEFP Statute (lobbytools.com)
The House has released their detailed FEFP and the General Appropriations Bill. The quick analysis is that every NEFEC district would receive more money from the House’s budget than the Senate except for Hamilton ($30K difference for them with Senate better); however, for most, the House’s distribution is only shored up because of a massive “discretionary” amount that the House put into a revised SAI. The formula for SAI was deleted in HB 5101, which leaves future funding amounts per district at the discretion of the Legislature. The net of the permanent formula changes (compressed DCD which helps virtually all of our members, eliminated Sparsity which hurts most of our members, eliminated district startup amounts in each allocation which hurts all of our members, and elimination of the Compressions/Hold Harmless column which helped a few of our members) is negative for most NEFEC districts with the exception of the three winners discussed during our Thursday board meeting.
Having different House and Senate positions is normal for this time of Session. If you want to discuss the specifics of how the House and Senate positions interact for your district, please call my cell phone at any time except between noon and 2 p.m. today.
March 23, 2023
Linked above are three brand-new documents published by the Senate including their GAA, a summary of their GAA and a more detailed FEFP than the one I sent on Tuesday.
March 22, 2023
Detail for the FEFP is rumored that it will be published on Friday, but the summary runs are attached. When the detail is published, I will get them to you immediately.
When I compare our member districts to the statewide average increase per student in actual dollars, only two exceed the statewide average (Flagler and Columbia). When I make the comparison to the average for the percentage increase per student for our members, those above/below the average remain the same.
There is a fairly hefty increase in per UFTE funding (5.57% on average). This budget does include a reserve outside of the FEFP to assist in avoiding the possibility of having a proration of the FEFP because of too many vouchers being selected in the actual year. This was one of the hoped for policies that I reported about during our recent NEFEC board meeting.
This is just the first step in the House’s budget process. There is still much work to be done. There are certainly elements that are not the best for small and rural districts in general from the House’s proposal in total. I will be working to see how our districts did in the Senate versus the House and to outline which positions in each are better for our members. If certain elements from the House’s proposal were adopted (like compressing the bottom of DCD district up to a minimum of 1.0) while others like eliminating Sparsity were rejected, there are many opportunities to still succeed in these negotiations. Further, the House does have more total funding in the FEFP, which might give some of our districts more money to work with than the Senate even with the changes in distribution.
Every member should feel free to call me on my cell phone to discuss how the various proposals impact them. I am also willing to assist with discussion their planned messaging to their districts to make sure that they are grounded in 100% fact and take into account the nuances of what Legislative Leadership and staff are telling the members.
March 21, 2023
The quick analysis of the Senate plan is that it increases funding per UFTE by 4.75% with most of that increase being in the BSA. Allocations are maintained in this plan. FTEs associated with vouchers were removed from each district’s base from the 3rd calc and the projections for next year. Those FTEs were placed in their “own line.” This will help our CFOs to better track (and the legislature to better track) what they anticipate the various districts will really receive.
Yesterday in the late afternoon, the House released language for their PCB to totally rewrite the FEFP statute. It would eliminate most allocations. It would compress the DCD so that no district is below 1.0, but those above 1.0 would retain this factor. Most of our members will lose from this with the list correlating to the list I presented last week, but the actual impact per FTE will be different because I assumed no DCD and no allocations. The House has a as yet undefined allocation that is expected/understood to be a pot of money to “hold harmless” for a few years the districts that “lose” under this proposal. Numbers will be added to the idea tomorrow when the House Chair releases her proposal for the budget.
I will continue to refine and add detail to the analysis. I believe that the majority of our members would strongly support the Senate’s overall approach, but we will continue to also work with the House to mitigate any negative impacts to our members as we move forward.
No one should panic as this is the first step in the public budget negotiation and not the end. But, the House’s proposal is seriously offered on their part, which means we must also take it seriously with our planning moving forward.
March 11, 2022
PreK-12 Related Education Bills from the 2022 Legislative Session
General Substantive Bills from the 2022 Session
March 8, 2022
An offer was exchanged this afternoon between the House and Senate budget chairs. It is enclosed in the document above. The FEFP statewide run shows on page 7 of the document. Here are some highlights of the offer at the statewide level:
- The BSA is increased by $214.49 or 4.9% which typically is the best measure of the available flexible funding for school district budgets;
- FRS increases will eat up some of that increase;
- In addition to that funding, $250 million in an increase was provided for the teacher allocation ($800 million in total funding) with half of the increase going to the bottom of the scale until the $47,500 is reached and the other half going to everyone else;
- Digital Classrooms was eliminated;
- Compression and Hold Harmless was increased by $20.2 million but the distribution is different than last year;
- Mental Health Allocation increased by $20 million;
- Safe Schools increased by $30 million;
- Student Transportation increased by $56.4 million;
- Total Potential increased by $1.42 billion or 6.19%;
- Total funding per UFTE on average increased by $384.55 or 4.96%;
- The language requiring a $15 minimum wage to be accomplished by October 1 has disappeared from proviso, but the Chairs indicated that this issue is not fully resolved; and,
- The $200 million in the penalty for districts that didn’t follow the Governor’s mandate to allow students into schools without masks was moved from being inside the FEFP to being a bonus funded outside the FEFP. That funding will go into a reserve that districts will have to apply to the DOE to receive based upon their level of prior compliance. The funding seems to have to go into additional bonuses for staff (non-recurring). (see issue #172 on page 20 in the final column to see the language they are proposing)
Our districts will all share in the $200 million. Our districts all lost $100,000 each from the Digital Classrooms change. Compression remains in the budget for the fourth year in a row, but with the policy changing each year, it will still take a while to normalize this issue into the formula.
This offer is expected to basically be the PreK-12 budget, but there could be additional projects in the “sprinkle” list that could still appear tonight.
December 9, 2021
Posted: 2022 Legislative Initiatives
October 14, 2021
Dear NEFEC Superintendents and Finance Officers,
Today, Amy Baker will make a presentation to the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee on the current status of Florida’s financial outlook. The bottom line is that the state has significant reserves available for 2022-2023 fiscal year but that most of those reserves (about 70%) reflect non-recurring federal funds that can be spent in 2022-2023 or 2023-2024 in general and will then go away in all likelihood. They want to be careful in how they eventually budget those funds to avoid creating recurring expectations for future years when that funding doesn’t exist. Still, the state is in a strong financial situation and the overall economy in Florida seems to be recovering nicely. There are always risks of catastrophic hurricanes. There is currently a meaningful risk of COVID becoming a crisis again should a new strain “breakthrough” our existing vaccines, as well. I am sure that the Legislative Leadership will do what they can to tamp down expectations and/or to reduce revenues through tax breaks where they can (much of the new federal funding specifies that it cannot be used to finance tax breaks in other areas), but overall, the state is on solid footing so long as it is careful in how it spends the non-recurring funding, the state avoids a catastrophic hit from a hurricane and/or the virus (or a new virus) doesn’t decimate the economy, again.
If any superintendent or finance officer wants to review the specifics of the presentation, please just call my cell phone or email your questions to me. Dr. Baker’s presentation can be viewed at 11 a.m. today at this link (click the link, then click “live streams,” then click Senate Appropriations): https://thefloridachannel.org/.
September 23, 2021
The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee had a meeting today. The Chair was driving a narrative that districts don’t need their ARP funding yet because they haven’t even spent much of their CARES Act or ESSER II funding to date. Page 31 and 33 out of 35 in the linked document make that argument that districts still have hundreds of millions from the first two rounds of federal relief that have been unspent, so providing access to round 3 (ARP) is premature. There was also a suggestion that districts don’t need the funding for assisting students who were “missing” from last year (over $100 million allocated in the current GAA from ESSER II) as evidenced by only two districts asking for just a few thousand dollars total at this point for that requirement. There are, of course, answers to this narrative, but I wanted you to be aware that the Chair is concerned that we aren’t spending the federal funding fast enough. Some of our districts do show up well under this analysis. For the others, there are many very reasonable explanations for why we are where we are and still need for them to move forward with ARP as quickly as is reasonable/possible.
September 22, 2021
Important info from the previous (2021) session:
- PreK-12 Public Education Bills – Enrolled Versions
- HB 3 – Home Book Delivery for Students
- HB 5 – Civic Education Curriculum
- SB 52 – Postsecondary Education
- HB 131 – Educator Conduct
- SB 146 – Civic Literacy Education
- HB 149 – Students with Disabilities
- HB 157 – First Aid Training in Public Schools
- HB 173 – IEP Requirements for Students with Disabilities
- HB 241 – Parents Bill of Rights
- HB 311 – Public Records / Assessment Instruments for Schools
- HB 337 – Impact Fees
- SB 366 – Educational Opportunities Leading to Employment
- HB 419 – Early Learning
- HB 429 – Purple Star Campuses
- HB 519 – Required Health Education Instruction
- HB 529 - Moments of Silence in Public Schools
- HB 545 - Reproductive Health Education
- SB 590 – School Safety
- HB 723 – Juvenile Justice Education Programs
- HB 827 – School District Funding
- SB 1028 – Education
- SB 1108 – Education
- HB 1159 – Education
- SB 2500 – Appropriations
- SB 2502 – Implementing Bill to the General Appropriations Act
- HB 5101 – Education Funding
- HB 7011 – Student Literacy
- SB 7018 – FRS Rates Bill
- HB 7033 – Task Force on the Achievement Gap for Boys
- HB 7045 – School Choice
- Final Budget GAA Conference Report
- Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) Final Calculation
About / Contact
NEFEC Legislative Network Services is a cooperative legislative and educational program whereby the 15 member districts of the Consortium are able to influence the legislative process more effectively than on an individual district basis. Through this program the Consortium serves as a liaison with the State Department of Education, the districts, and the Florida Legislature.
- Forming linkages with state and local agencies, entities, and organizations which impact education related policies, programs and practices in Florida
- Attending and monitoring all meetings of the State Board of Education, Cabinet, Legislature, and various commissions concerned with education
- Keeping member districts informed on actions taken by these entities
- Coordinating the development of the Consortium's annual legislative program/priorities
- Providing quick response to legislators on questions/concerns about proposed legislation and any other relative educational issue
- Providing assistance in interpreting new or amended legislation
Please contact us here:
Cerra Consulting Group, Inc.
bobcerra at comcast dot net
Cerra Consulting Group, Inc.
cerraj at comcast dot net
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