Title I Mythbusting of outdated talking points

See here for a review of Title I language in 7069 as a PDF

School Board Members and Superintendents have taken to the media calling for Governor Scott to Veto HB7069 or SB2500 which contains most of the budget including FEFP.

Many of the talking points being used are for previous versions of bills or are skewed in such a way as to seemingly intentionally mislead the public. 

 

We are proposing K-12 education funding of $24,068,230,660This amount is the highest in state history.  We maintain the spending levels of the FEFP—an obscure formula for most Floridians—but we do more than fund the formula.  FEFP is often described as an “average” per student funding.  In reality, the formula includes categorical components and various exceptions that create vast disparities in the amount of money actually spent on each child.  “Increases” in FEFP do not always result in increased services to children since the formula covers overhead and operational expenses.   Our goal in the House is to provide steady operational funding through the FEFP while using the $640 million increase in K-12 spending to produce the greatest impact on the lives of our children.

Bills heard containing language:

 

MYTH of “Starvation spending budget”:Some districts have referred to the budget (in SB2500 and portions in HB7069) proposed as a ‘starvation’ budget in a Miami Herald article and some school board members, such as Shirley Brown of Sarasota in her error filled op-ed have intentionally misled the public with statements such as “decrease of $27.07 per-student base funding” . She has been on the school board long enough that she *should* understand that a reduction in one portion of the FEFP isn’t a reduction in net student funding. The FACT is that funding is at a record high with a per student increase of $24 average. This is can be read as either a poor understanding of the FEFP, or cherry picking of facts and stacking the deck by omitting the full truth.

 

Truth: (Politifact verified) See article here:

Even WITHOUT the additional $419million in funding in 7069, it is a record level of per student funding.

“Even if Scott doesn’t sign HB 7069, which targets very specific programs, the main state-local funding source alone is still at the highest total it’s ever been.” -politifact

 

 

Myth 2: 7069 reduces local control and overall funding of Title I:

Truth: A recent analysis determined that very little impact will be seen on districts because School Board Members seem to be quoting outdated talking points for SB1362 heard on May 1, 2017 when the language in HB7069 removed the troublesome language.

Link to analysis of Title I implementation possible impacts and options.

 

MYTH 3: Sharing Charter Capital Outlay funds will “decimate” public schools:

 

Truth: In most districts the increase in property values will more than offset. Example, because FCSBM lobbied successfully for the House version which first paid back existing debt service the fiscal impact of sharing was only $1.1mil (vs $1.6 projected) AND property values have risen such that this year will result in a $1.4mil tax increase if the board levies (as it has every year) the maximum 1.5 mills. Not only will the increase in property values cover the cost of sharing local tax dollars with local public school students, but it will STILL generate $300,000 in additional revenues for district managed schools without compromising the district bond rating.

Other things to remember: Public charter schools are part of a cost avoidance strategy and as long as the costs are associated with the student, the system is self balancing. Revenues are tied to costs, which are more efficiently expended in many cases in public charters.

 

Rewarding Teachers and Principals

Academic research supports the finding that great teachers are the key to giving a child a world-class education.   Florida needs to recruit and retain the highest quality teachers.  This bill revises and expands the Best and Brightest Program in order to provide annual bonuses to qualified teachers in each of the next three years.  Best and Brightest teachers receive $6,000, Best and Brightest Title I principals receive $5,000 and other eligible principals receive $4,000. For the next 3 years, all highly effective teachers will receive $1,200 per year and all effective teachers will receive up to $800 per year. 

 

Bills heard containing language: Original 7069 (Rep M. Diaz) 1552 (Sen Simmons)

 

 

The bill removes the caps on teacher bonuses based on student passage of AP, IB, AICE, and industry certification exams and revises eligibility requirements for the Minority Teacher Education Scholars Program. The bill also reforms the teacher evaluation process by making use of the student learning growth formula (VAM) optional, while still providing school districts and administrators with objective data on teacher performance.

Bills heard containing language:

 

 

Schools of Hope and Wraparound Services

Too many children in Florida languish in chronically underperforming schools.  The bill revises the distribution of Title I funds and provides approximately $140 million to support turn-around efforts in areas of high poverty. First, up to 25 failing public schools may receive up to $2,000 per student for whole school transformation, such as wraparound services. In addition, the Schools of Hope Program incentivizes hope operators who have a track record of academic improvement to operate in Florida.

Bills heard containing language:

 

Schools of Excellence

The bill gives administrative flexibility to public schools with proven track records of academic success.

Bills heard containing language: 1331 (Rep. Grall)  1598

 

Parental Choice

The bill supports choice by allowing high-performing charter schools to replicate in low performing areas.  The bill also expands eligibility for the Gardiner Scholarship Program and provides $30 million in funding for the currently enrolled and for students on the waitlist. It also expands access to virtual education for students throughout the state, and establishes the Committee on Early Childhood Development.

Bills heard containing language:

 

 

Assessments

The bill brings common sense back to our statewide testing structureThe bill eliminates the Algebra 2 end-of-course exam, requires paper-based assessments for grades 3-6, moves the majority of statewide assessments to the last 4 weeks of a district’s school year, and provides parents and teachers with timely and useful assessment results to inform instruction. The bill also requires an independent study of ACT/SAT as a replacement for grade 10 ELA assessment and Algebra I EOC assessment.

Bills heard containing language:

 

 

Civics

The bill responds to the need for more civics education and establishes civic literacy requirements. The bill also requires the Just Read, Florida! Office to develop sequenced, content-rich curriculum programming, instructional practices, and other resources to help elementary schools increase student core knowledge and literacy skills.

Bills heard containing language:

 

 

Recess

The bill requires traditional public schools to provide 20 minutes of consecutive free play recess per day for students in kindergarten through grade 5.

Bills heard containing language:

 

 

Reading

The bill implements intervention and support strategies for students identified with a substantial reading deficiency, and also directs the Lastinger Center to identify strategies to improve phonemic awareness for early readers.

 Bills heard containing language:

 

SUMMARY:

We believe the comprehensive package of reforms and new initiatives included in HB 7069 will create the opportunity for transformational change in Florida’s educational system.  

 

Charter Capital Outlay Sharing of Ad Valorem Dollars

This creates equity in funding of all public school students by using local property tax revenues to fund local public school students without regard to the type of institution they attend. Calculation is total amount of ad vel revs generated by (up to) 1.5 mills capital funding minus district debt service annual payment of debt service ( frozen to that held on March 1, 2017) divided by number of students then back out any state funds (PECO) going to charter school then distribute on per student basis. Does not involve sharing of other sources of capital revenue such as impact fees, voter approved sales tax / millage.

 

Ending of “tenure light” automatic contract extension

 

Some school districts have entered into contracts with their teachers’ unions that stipulate automatic contract renewal for teachers rated at least “highly effective” and/or “effective”. This bill clarifies that to be forbidden in the legislation outlawing tenure. 

Title One Directed to Classrooms

 This seems like Title I portability where the “money follows the student” but MANY districts are VERY upset with this provision, presumably because it removes district level planning of resources, but it is difficult to imagine a situation where a principal would create a plan with which the district had concerns. Some said that the issue was that the threshold for applying to Title I schools would be lowered below the district level because the state level would be 75%. This section places limitations on the use of funds.