Invest in High Quality Instruction
Many of the reforms adopted over the past seventeen years rely on a strong supply of high-quality professional educators being available to meet the needs of students and communities. We are now facing a huge teacher shortage. Enacting performance pay, using strong evaluation systems, retraining or removing poor performing teachers, and supporting a strong school accountability system will all fall flat if we do not have a pipeline of high-quality personnel to serve our students.
- Provide resources for recruiting, retaining and training the highest quality educators.
- Enhance flexibility in teacher certification.
- Support a community project in Lee County to model recruitment and training strategies that will supply the needed educators.
Protect Public Assets/Provide Needed Student Stations
Transferring one-half mill from district capital outlay to the state FEFP helped the Legislature bridge its funding shortfall during the crisis budgets caused by the real estate value collapse. Since that time, more than a half mill of property taxes used for operations has been retired for tax relief while the funding transferred from the capital budget to temporarily to shore up operations was NOT restored to the capital budget.
- Restore the 2.0 mill cap for capital outlay purposes.
- Enhance PECO revenue sources to restore the PECO program as the primary state support for public school capital outlay needs.
Respect Local Constitutional Authority of School Boards
Article IX, Section 4 (b), Florida Constitution: “The school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district . . .”
- Provide for local school boards to make the final decision to grant or reject a charter school application, regulate a charter school that is having problems meeting local expectations, share or not share capital outlay funding, and the ability to terminate a charter.
- Repeal the recent mandate for school districts to pay higher education tuition for dual enrollment students.
- Remove the restriction for districts from demanding printed copies for the evaluation of instructional materials.
- Reject any new unfunded mandates.
Support Fair Competition
- Re-establish charter school administrative fees designed to fully cover the costs for all mandated district services to the charter schools and provide adequate funding for school boards to provide their required oversight to “operate, control and supervise” as established by the Florida Constitution.
- Provide regulatory equity between charter schools and traditional public schools by expanding flexibility for public schools, and maintain class size reduction penalties for all public schools of choice on the same formula.
Restore Smart Accountability
- Review state assessment requirements with an eye toward reducing the total instructional time lost both by students being assessed and those who are displaced because of test scheduling requirements.
- Allow paper and pencil exams to be offered if selected by local districts to reduce overall testing time, improve test scheduling or provide better measurements of actual learning for certain grades, schools or students.