Weatherford: consider a hiatus on school grading system (02/03/14)
Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, suggested on Jan. 31, 2014, that the Legislature should consider a one-year delay on the school grading system, reports The Tampa Bay Times.
School districts in the state have been asking for a pause as the state implements new standards and tests, transitioning away from the FCAT.
His statements come just days after Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg, R-Lutz, said that a delay is “one the table.”
Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, appears to oppose the idea, saying, “I don't think we need a one-year hiatus. I think we ought to have honest grades. And I don't see why we can't have them on an ongoing basis.”
His sentiment echoes that of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, who told the Board of Education in January 2014, “… that suspending school grading is the right thing to do for students.”
House K-12 Subcommittee Chairwoman Janet Adkins proposed deleting Common Core from Florida Statutes so all the state's education standards will be under one name. File photo by John Iarussi.
House K-12 Subcommittee Chairwoman Janet Adkins proposed deleting Common Core from Florida Statutes so all the state's education standards will be under one name. File photo by John Iarussi.
It’s not as Orwellian as making a person’s existence disappear from the public record but Winston Smith would recognize the maneuver.
A Florida House committee on Wednesday will discuss a proposed committee bill that expunges the words “Common Core” from state law. The K-12 Subcommittee is working on a bill, basically a housekeeping measure, repealing terminated programs and clarifying graduation requirements. It would delete 36 references to the Common Core State Standards in sections 1000.21 to 1008.22 of the Florida Statutes governing public education.
The proposal replaces Common Core with "Next Generation Sunshine State Standards." The measure also removes references to Common Core in the definition of the Next Generation standards. Florida adopted Common Core academic standards in 2010 and was to implement them this fall.
“Name changes and cosmetic changes to standards will not pull Florida out of Common Core,” said Karen Effrem, of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition. “We’re still going to be in the Common Core system.”
The FSCCC is among a handful of groups opposed to Common Core. Their efforts led Gov. Rick Scott to order the Department of Education to hold public hearings on academic standards last fall, to end Florida’s leading role in developing a test measuring student’s performance to the new standards, and for Education Commissioner Pam Stewart to propose 98 changes to the Common Core.
“It is completely appropriate for us to call our standards the Florida Standards,” Stewart told the Florida Board of Education this past week when it met in Miami. The commissioner also recommended relabeling the standards. The board is scheduled to vote Feb. 18 on her proposal.
Common Core is a set of mathematics and language arts benchmarks agreed upon by 45 states and the District of Columbia. The idea is to ensure that a second grader in Florida has the same set of skills and knowledge as a second grader in Wisconsin.
In the face of a grass-roots uprising against a perceived federal takeover of local schools, state officials have insisted that Florida’s new academic benchmarks will be will be homegrown.
“These are Florida standards,” both Scott and Stewart have said in public remarks about what the Board of Education will consider during its next meeting, in Orlando.
House K-12 Subcommittee Chairwoman Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, proposed deleting Common Core from Florida Statutes because the state also has standards for other subjects in addition to math and language arts.
“We will refer to all our standards under one name,” Adkins reportedly told The Washington Post. “We don’t need to have a different name for a subset for our standards.”
“That is so weak. It’s just an excuse to change the subject and to deceive people to think Florida is being independent and it is not,” Effrem said. “They’re just trying to change the name to remove the political toxicity associated with Common Core.”
The House’s K-12 Subcommittee meets 1 p.m. Wednesday in room 313 of the House Office Building in Tallahassee.
Gaetz exploring pension reform (01/29/14)
On Jan. 29, 2014, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said he will try again to change the state employee retirement system from a defined benefit plan to a 401k-style defined contribution plan, The Florida Current reports.
Weatherford pushed the changes last year, and the House passed a pension reform bill that ultimately fell flat in the Senate. Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said a compromise exempting law enforcement and other first responders from the change could get his support.
“We’re considering carve-outs for the risk category, as the Speaker said, for first responders. We think that the Legislature -- not just this Legislature but for years and years -- we’ve drawn a distinction between those who are first responders and the way that we deal with many of their benefits and those who aren’t first responders but who are still valued employees,” Gaetz told reporters during The Associated Press legislative planning session at the Capitol
January 9, 2014
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart went before the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday and explained her plan for implementing new academic standards, selecting a new standardized tests, and reformulating the evaluation process for teachers and schools.
“We have a lot of issues that we will be tackling (in committee),” Chairman John Legg, R-Lutz, said when introducing Stewart for what he called a state of education address. “This is going to be hard work, very, very, hard work moving forward but it is work that I think is worthwhile.”
Stewart inherited a dysfunctional accountability system when she was appointed commissioner in September. She spent the fall talking with parents, educators and politicians after the implementation of Common Core State Standards was slowed by a groundswell of grass-roots opposition, the integrity of school grades was questioned by members of the State Board of Education and no one seemed able to explain how teacher performance was evaluated.
Stewart said to expect about 40 changes to the Common Core recommended by the public and officials when new standards are implemented for the 2014-2015 school year. The State Board of Education will review public comments during a Jan. 21 meeting. The public can make additional comments on the revised standards through Feb. 18 when the Board will consider rules for the new academic benchmarks.
The standards are the starting point for Florida’s school accountability regimen. They determine the composition of the assessment process that measures student’s learning gains and affect the evaluation of schools and teachers.
Stewart told the committee she expects to pick a new assessment in March. Five companies answered an invitation to negotiate a contract to provide the assessment that will be used next spring. Committee members expressed doubt about the timeline being met, fearing a bid challenge could delay the implementation.
“Where’s the point of no return?” said Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee. “At what point do we say, ‘Whoa -- we have to punt.'?”
“I don’t think we can punt,” Stewart said. “If I were to guess I would say we have to have it (the assessment) in place by June.”
A consortium of states that Florida once belonged to formed the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career to develop a test for the Core. Florida pulled out of the group amidst concerns about the cost, time and technological infrastructure to administer the PARRC.
It remains unclear whether PARRC is, in the words of Montford, “in the wings” if any of the respondents to the invitation to negotiate fail to make the grade.
“You have probably stepped into the arena where I cannot respond,” Stewart said.
PARRC had provided what Senate President Don Gaetz called a “nonresponse response” to the ITN.
“I want to make sure PARCC is gone,” said Gaetz, who attended the committee meeting. “The proposal that was in front of the state of Florida a year ago was a proposal, I thought and Speaker Weatherford thought, had some serious flaws.”
When it was suggested that PARCC could be resurrected through legal maneuvering, Gaetz underscored his opposition.
“I am one of 40 senators and my vote if necessary on the floor would be for Florida not to participate in PARRC,” Gaetz said.
Stewart told the committee the five ITN bids to provide an assessment will be evaluated at a meeting Friday and that she intends to select a winning bid in March.
Stewart also outlined an attempt to rework the formula used to award school grades. She said the focus will be on student achievement, learning gains and graduation rates. She said it will avoid overcomplicating the process with bonus factors, additional weighting and automatic adjustments that have been adopted during the past 15 years.
Carole L. Duncanson
CLD & Associates LLC
225 S. Adams Street Suite 250
Tallahassee, FL 32301
On behalf of the Broward Principals' & Assistants' Association Board of Directors I am please to announce that all Principals and Assistant Principals will receive in accordance with the 2013 Legislature and Governor's bill $2500.00 in an annual raise. After deducting the cost of taxes and fringe benefits, administrators will receive on average of $1956.00 The dollars will be allocated as follows:
All principals and Assistant Principals will move up one step on the adopted salary schedule . Those at the top of the schedule will receive the equivalent of the step in a lump sum payment.
Then the salary schedule will be increased by approximately $892.00 on each level step yielding an average actual re-occurring increase of $1956.00 per person. This is exactly what the teachers settled for this year and represents the amount of dollars allocated by the legislature .
The School Board must still approve these raises and are expected to do so in January. You can expect to receive a retro check to July 1 along with your increase in late January or early February.
We are please to have been able to work through these raises with the District staff and Superintendent and are very grateful to the School Board for recognizing the hard work each and everyone of you does each and every day!!
Have a happy holidays and please call if you have any questions.
Policy Note: K-12 Education Budget
Gov. Rick Scott lists two priorities for the 2013 legislative session and one is a $2,500 raise for public schoolteachers. Scott consistently credits public schools for his success in life. Scott recommends a per-student funding increase for K-12 of 6.45 percent to an average of $6,800. He included $1 billion in early learning funds, $100 million for digital learning initiatives, $74.9 million for school safety programs, and more money for teachers to purchase classroom supplies. Lawmakers are willing to spend more on education but their questions are how much and where. Scott's idea of an across-the-board pay raise for teachers initially was not well received by a Legislature committed to performance-based funding and merit increases, but their budgets show give on that issue. House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, support digital learning initiatives.
Lawmakers boosted education spending by about $1.5 billion, and per-pupil funding is nearing the high-water mark reached before the Great Recession. "The biggest winners in the 2013 budget are teachers and students," said Speaker Will Weatherford when the 2013 Legislative session adjourned. "We have prioritized funding for education and increased funding to give Florida's teachers a raise."
Florida will spend $20.3 billion on public education in the fiscal year beginning July 1. The spending package includes $480 million for teacher raises, $241 million increase in the base budget for the state university system, and $91 million for charter school construction projects.
"The short answer is we have more money," said Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami aand House Education Committee chair, when asked about the new spending in next year's budget.
A major innovation in the K-12 program passed by lawmakers creates two new diploma paths: one for students planning to attend college and one for students who will earn industry certification along with a high school diploma.
"This bill (SB 1076) recognizes that the economy of Florida has changed," said Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity. "It prepares them in technology, for the workforce and prepares them to be successful."
Charter school advocates failed in attempts to secure recurring funding in the budget and to gain access to unused space in public school building. However, charter schools will see $91 million for maintenance and construction of facilities.
And the Legislature will allow Florida students to enroll in virtual schools in other countries. Lawmakers passed a virtual learning bill to permit out-of-state companies to recruit Florida students. The sponsor, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said when "outstanding" is available then "average" is over. "That's what this bill is about: giving our students outstanding," said Brandes. "Not from just within Florida but from the around the world; letting the outstanding from around the world come to the state of Florida and letting our students and teachers decide what is best for them."
Policy Note: Teacher Pay Raise
Starting in January as he released his 2013-2014 budget, Gov. Rick Scott became an advocate for Florida's teachers. Saying that they "have done a great job" in raising student achievement, he recommended across-the-board raises of $2,500 for all full-time educators next fiscal year.
Although the governor said he still supported the concept of merit pay -- embodied in a law he signed in 2011 that was challenged in court by teacher unions -- he declared that every teacher in the state deserved an immediate raise. Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, said Scott's goal was a step in the right direction but pointed out that teach pay in Florida is about $10,000 below the national average.
Although Scott advocated a no-strings raise, Republican legislators reacted by saying they wanted salary increases tied to performance.
Gov. Rick Scott recommended a $2,500 across-the-board pay raise for teachers but lawmakers were reluctant to go along with his plan. They did include $480 million to boost the salaries of instructional personnel. They noted that the first bill Scott signed as governor was a merit-based pay plan for teachers and they insisted that any pay hike for teachers be tied to student performance. However, it then became apparent how difficult it is for Tallahassee to mandate a merit pay plan to 67 separate local school districts. In the end, they decided the money can be distributed as raises once the district develops an evaluation system that contains a merit component tied to student achievement. Highly effective teachers can earn a $3,500 increase and effective teachers will be eligible for a $2,500 raise. The merit system will be developed and implemented by each local district.
Policy Note: Parent Empowerment Act
The idea driving parent empowerment legislation is that parents know what's best for their children and will make the effort to do what is in the best interest of their children. The trigger movement originated in California in 2010 and seven states have passed laws giving parents a say in how to fix a failing public school. Opponents say triggers are a back-door way to hand public schools over to private educational companies, and that the process is open to manipulation by for-profit companies, which will lead to corporate control of public schools. Backers say a parent trigger encourages parents to get involved in their children’s education.
A trigger bill failed in the 2012 session when a handful of Republicans voted with Senate Democrats to kill it. For this year's session, proponents thought that with the new makeup of the Senate they had the votes to pass the bill.
The Parent Empowerment Act was a priority of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, a think tank set up by former Gov. Jeb Bush. It would let parents organize around a petition drive to propose a turnaround option for a failing public school. Options would include dismissing the faculty and allowing private management companies run a charter school in the public school facility.
“What we have here is an invasion by corporate America; it really is,” said Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, during floor debate. “If it is the parent empowerment act then why is the PTA lobbying so heavily against this bill? And raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a failing school with active parents. I haven’t seen it, sorry.”
Parent teachers associations, school superintendents and the Florida Education Association spoke against the bill at every committee stop.
“Second time is just as sweet as the first time,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, moments after six Republican senators joined a bloc of Democrats to defeat the bill. “Hopefully, this is a clue to Jeb Bush’s foundation that this is a bad idea and it is time for us to move off these diversionary tactics and do what is right for Florida schools.”
The Foundation for Florida’s Future issued a news release stating, “In the end, politics won out over parents.”
April 30: The measure promoted by school-choice supporters failed on a 20-20 voter after an hour-long debate. Six Republicans bucked leadership and crossed the aisle to join 14 Democrats in defeating the measure. Opponents argued the bill was a Trojan horse to hand public school buildings over to private companies.
“What we have here is an invasion by corporate America; it really is. I mean I’m a Republican here to give you the business point of view,” said Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, who in debate reviewed 15 years of education reforms passed by the Legislature, including this session, and said plenty of choices exist in the public school system.
“If it is the Parent Empowerment Act then why is the PTA lobbying so heavily against this bill? And raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a failing school with active parents. I haven’t seen it, sorry. So who benefits, I don’t know. Why are we doing this, I don’t know,” Detert said.
April 23, 2013: The “parent trigger” bill cleared its final committee stop Tuesday and now heads to the Senate floor. Opponents speaking at the final public hearing for SB 862 outnumbered supporters by a 3-to-1 margin, but members of the Senate Appropriations Committee sent it to the floor on a 12-6 vote.
“School board members don’t like it. Teachers don’t like it. And parents don’t like it,” said Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa. “It appears that most people don’t like it except for a majority of senators.”
Senate sponsor, Sen. Kellie Stargel, has expressed a desire to rework the Simmons amendment giving final say to the local school board, a provision not in the House bill. But Sens. Jack Latvala and Andy Gardiner advised her to reconsider that decision.
“I’m going to vote with you today,” said Latvala, R-Clearwater. “At such time that comes out of the bill I might not be voting with you anymore.”
Opponents to the stipulation argued that the local school board is responsible for the school failing in the first place.
April 12, 2013: The Senate Education Committee Thursday amended SB 862 to give the local school board final say on which turnaround option to implement. The amendment sponsored by Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, reads that if the school improves by at least one letter grade then the turnaround option selected by the local school board shall be final and conclusive. The measure now, for the most part, lines up with the proposal approved April 4 by the House. Its next committee stop is the Senate Appropriations Committee, which next meets April 18.
April 4, 2014: The “parent trigger” bill passed the House on a 68-51 vote. Opponents had waged a passionate fight against the measure for weeks. They depicted HB 867 as a wolf in sheep’s clothing in that under the guise of parent empowerment it would lead to for-profit companies taking over public schools. Supporters dismissed those fears and said the purpose was to engage parents in developing a plan to turn around a failing school and chided opponents as, in the words of Rep. Trujillo, "waging a war on capitalism." The Senate companion, SB 862, is waiting to be heard in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
April 2, 2013: The House gave second-reading approval to HB 867, a companion to Stargel's Senate bill, setting it for final debate and House floor vote on April 4, which will undoubtedly send it to the Senate -- probably in a straight party-line vote.
April 1, 2013: Sen. Kelli Stargel's SB 862, the Parent Empowerment Act also known as the "parent trigger" bill, was passed by the Senate Education Committee on Monday by a 6-3 vote. It has stops in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Appropriations still to go. Its eventual approval is expected. HB 867 is on the Special Order Calendar for a vote by the full House on April 2.
March 26, 2013: The two sides are still far apart on this issue. The Foundation for Florida’s Future called its briefing Tuesday on the trigger bill “Debunking Parent Empowerment Myths.” Patricia Levesque spent 40 minutes saying that the bill simply formalizes a legal process for parent involvement in failing schools. A representative of Parent Revolution, a California-based group that led the effort to pass the first trigger law, said opponents fear of a conspiracy to privatize schools was unfounded. Afterward, standing on the sidewalk outside of the Florida Press Center where the briefing was held, Jeff Wright, policy advocate for the Florida Education Association, fired off a three-minute impassioned discourse debunking what he called “half-truths” in the presentation.
March 22, 2013: HB 867, sponsored by Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, passed out of the House Education Committee on a 10-7 party line vote. It would allow parents to petition to have a turnaround option of their choice implemented. If the district rejects the parents’ option then the decision rests with the state Board of Education. The proposal now goes to the House floor. The Senate bill, SB 862 by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, has yet to be heard in committee.
Policy Note: Career and Professional Education Act
“Lashing education to the realities of the economy,” is a major theme for both Gov. Rick Scott and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. The Career and Professional Education Act of 2013, SB 1076, builds upon a 2007 initiative that created career academies in each school district where students earned industry certification while working on a high school diploma. The proposal -- with roots dating to when Gaetz was the Okaloosa County school district superintendent -- would give high school freshmen five options toward earning a diploma, provides an industry certification option to middle school and college students, and provides performance-based funding for universities. “It’s almost a dream come true,” said Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, a former high school principal and school superintendent. “We’re going to make history,” said Gaetz when he discussed the proposal with business leaders in February.
Gov. Rick Scott signed the Career and Professional Education Act into law on April 22. It creates two new diploma designations, one for students planning to enter college and another for students wanting to earn an industry certification along with a high school diploma. Supporters addressed concerns that the proposal would weaken standards by assuring critics that the curriculum for both diplomas would be "rigorous."
"This is one diploma, just one diploma. Everyone has the same diploma,” said Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, who sponsored the legislation. “However, if those students want to excel and go one beyond, at any time in their education career, ... they can take more rigorous courses and get a designation on top of their already existing diploma.”
Although the bill does not contain an appropriation, it shifts around education money, increasing the cap for industry certification programs from $15 million to $60 million. It also authorizes up to $15 million in performance-based funding for adult education programs and the college system, and ties an unspecified amount of performance-based funding for universities awarding degrees in fields specified by the Board of Governors.
April 22, 2013: Gov. Rick Scott signed the Career and Professional Education Act (SB 1076) into law.
Policy Note: Virtual Education
Legislators are looking to expand options for K-12 students by allowing individuals and organizations who provide online courses to apply for state-level approval and receive state education funding. Virtual education providers would not be required to be based in the state or be staffed by Florida residents. There is also pending legislation that would require online course providers to make their classes accessible by students with disabilities.
House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, support efforts to expand virtual education opportunities. “We can’t build enough classrooms; we can’t build enough football stadiums; we don’t have the resources to build out that sort of infrastructure,” Weatherford said. “But technology allows us to produce those types of degrees in a format in a way we never thought was possible.”
Virtual education has its ties to the HB 867 "parent trigger" bill, as well. In that bill, school districts would have to notify parents of other education options, among them an option for virtual education, if their child is assigned to a teach who had received an unsatisfactory evaluation. While some applaud the idea, there has been backlash against the bills not requiring virtual education providers to have a proven track record.
Florida students will be able to sign up for more online classes. CS/HB 7029 opens the pool of online classes to those offered by out-of-state digital learning companies. Supporters sold the proposal on accountability provisions included by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg.
The bill specifies the level of service the online education company provide to parents and students, requires the Department of Education to develop an online catalog of digital courses available, and mandates Florida Virtual School to report about digital operators in and outside of the state.
“I would say if you don’t pass this type of legislation you are allowing the Wild, Wild West of virtual education to keep on going,” said Sen. John Legg, during debate on the proposal.
“He’s (Brandes) allowing and creating a framework from which you can evaluate and put standards in for the future of virtual education.”
Brandes said he wants officials to be “flexible” in opening up more online education options. His intent is to offer the widest choice possible: Students could sign up for a course offered by Oberlin College in Oxford, Ohio or a seminar given by an obscure philosopher living in the Yukon Territory
The measure passed the House on a 90 -25 vote and the Senate 27 -12.
Policy Note: Charter Schools
One in 17 Florida students attended a charter school last year, a number that has increased almost six-fold in a decade. The state authorized the first charter school in 1996, and now there are more than of them in the state operated by private nonprofit companies with enrollment of 154,000 students. Charter schools control their own finances, and supporters of traditional public schools see them as a financial drain on public education. Supporters say that by providing competition for traditional schools they stimulate innovations that improve public education.
SB 862, The Parent Empowerment Act by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, and HB 867 would let parents of students in low-performing schools call for a private-management company to take over. A similar parent trigger bill died last year in the Senate on a 20-20 vote. Proponents think that with the new makeup of the Senate they have the votes this year to pass the bill. As of March 15 both bills were sitting in their respective Appropriations Committee. HB 867 passed out of the Choice and Innovation Committee on a 8-5 vote. No vote has yet been taken on SB 862.
SB 744 by Sens. David Simmons, R-Maitland, and Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, would require an applicant wanting to establish a charter school to submit information on annual employee compensation and to demonstrate financial capability to open, operate and maintain a high-quality charter school. There is no House companion bill. SB 744 was workshopped during the March 18 meeting of the Senate Education Committee, where it remains.
SB 780 and HB 373, regulate contracts charter schools can sign and compensation for employees, and provides for closing a charter school under certain circumstances. SB 780 was workshop at the March 18 Senate Education Committee, where it remains. HB 373 has been stuck in the House Choice and Innovation Subcommittee since the end of January.
CIS 1, out of the House Choice and Innovation Subcommittee, would require school districts to let charter schools use any building that is below 50 percent capacity. CIS 1, as HB 7009, passed out of the Appropriations Committee on a 8-5 party line vote on March 14. There are two related bills in the Senate, SB 1282 is scheduled for three committee stops and SB 1396 has two committee stops. Neither bill has been scheduled for a hearing as of March 15.
Although a proposal to enable parents to turn a failing public school into a charter died once again on a tie vote, charter schools did score victories in this session of the Legislature. Charter schools will benefit from the increase in per-pupil spending, teacher pay raises and $91 million in PECO funds.
Charters will be held to stricter contract standards. They won’t be able to spend more than $10,000 if the contract with the school district is not renewed or the state closes the school. Schools won’t be allowed to enter into a vendor contract longer than the one the school has with the district. And members of the school’s Board of Directors and relatives won’t be allowed to do business with the school.
April 4, 2013: The House approved HB 7009 on an 87-29 vote after Rep. George Moraitis, R-Fort Lauderdale, amended the bill to remove the provision directing traditional public schools to give charter schools access to unused building space. Moraitis said he offered the amendment to get new accountability measures in place. The proposal lifts an enrollment cap for high-performing charter schools. The measure prohibits a charter school whose contract expires from spending more than $10,000 without permission from the sponsor, requires an independent audit within 30 days of non-renewal of contract or closure, forbids schools from entering into contracts longer than the school’s charter with the school district, and prohibits employees of the school or management company and their spouses from serving on the charter school governing board.
BPAA worked diligently to protect your interests in Tallahassee during the Legislative Session which just wrapped up this past week. There were a number of bills which would have impacted DROP, the Florida Retirement System, which we actively worked to defeat. We have a full time lobbyist working during the Session to watch every bill which could impact you in any way and there were quite a few to follow this year.
The Governor came out early and indicated that he wanted $2500 for teachers. BPAA was able to have raises for Principals and Assistant Principals included in the legislation. The new law requires that the raises be tied to Student Achievement and teachers and administrators must have at least an effective evaluation. Initially, it appeared that the raises would not be held until the end of next year, however, we pushed for change and the legislature agreed to allow the districts to have the discretion to decide when to provide the salary bonuses.
Changes to the retirement system will not occur this year even though the Speaker had made changes a top priority. The Parent Trigger bill did pass, but last minute revisions gave the School Districts the ability to send their own plan for turn around of low performing schools up to DOE which must be considered before any parent plan can be implemented. The Florida Association of School Administrators has a lengthy list of the bills relating to education on their web site if your are interested in reviewing the bills from this session. www.fasa.net.
PAY FOR PERFORMANCE
Broward, along with many other School Districts around the State accepted Race to the Top Federal dollars and as such are required to submit the DOE and US DOE prior to July 1 of 2013 a plan to implement pay for performance for both teachers and school based administrators for 2014-2015. Employee Relations has contracted with a Consultant to create this new methodology of paying teachers, principals and assistant principals. BPAA has been closely monitoring this new policy as it is emerging from the District. Our top priority is to ensure that no principal or assistant principal loses any pay, and that what ever system the District adopts is fair, and is not arbitrary nor subjective. Broward has no choice but to comply with federal law and adopt pay for performance, but they have quite a bit of discretion in terms of how they design this plan. Some things are prohibited however under the law such as maintaining any system of seniority or steps which are based upon years of achievement. The plan must be tied to student achievement data and it must include a base salary with incentive pay. Employee relations is taking input right now from principals during level meetings and more will be coming forward so it is imperative that you have input into this critical new process for pay. BPAA will be working to ensure that the system is fair, logical and based upon predicable outcomes and data.
The Superintendents Insurance Committee will be working over the summer to review RFP responses on a new medical insurance contract for all employees. The District moved this past year to a self-insured platform which makes the considerations for insurance much more complicated and the risk is now squarely with the district. The committee will be deciding if a new carrier will be providing access to networks, doctors, hospitals etc. BPAA's top priority is to ensure that there is no interruption in service levels and that there is as much stability as possible in terms of networks so that your doctors can continue to provide you with medical care. Stay tuned for more information as the RFP process is rolled out this summer.
BPAA has been very successful in working out an agreement to pay incentives to principals or assistant principals who run after care programs, whether they are private provider operated, or school district operated programs. Details of the incentive program will be brought before the school board next month and are expected to be implemented in the coming school year, providing the School Board approves the program.oing an outstanding job,” Scott said after signing an education bill (SB 1076) at the Capitol. “The right thing to do is reward our teachers with this pay raise.”
BPAA has been extremely active and involved in resolving the issues relating to some new criteria which was unexpectedly used to rank principals in the District resulting in a number of principals being told that they can apply for other schools and if they are not selected for a school for the upcoming school year, then they can accept a position as an assistant principal. BPAA is on record as informing the Superintendent and District staff that this new criteria and methodology is patently unfair and arbitrary and capricious. The process created for principal interviews is also new and represents a departure for the ways in which employees have been treated in this district in the past. We continue to pursue a just and equitable resolution of this matter with the administration. Grievances have been filed on behalf of the effected employees who opted to pursue their rights to object to this process. The resolution of this matter has taken quite a long time and we are pushing for a complete resolve prior to summer break.
Just a reminder to be sure to use any vacation days over the 60 day statutory limit. If you have more than 60 days, you should use the extra days or you will lose them after July 1 each year.
BPAA has a retirement specialist on board, Mr. Pete Tingom who is available to BPAA members who have retirement questions or need some input on the very complicated and cumbersome process involved in retiring and exiting the system or retiring and entering DROP.