Saturday, December 19, 2015

LATs Legislative Action Team - Weekly Legislative Update

12/20/15



FEDERAL NEWS

USDOE will be holding public testimony for ESSA in DC and in LA.  If you live close sign up to testify!   http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-takes-first-steps-transition-new-law

 DC - A hearing on Jan. 11, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Barnard Auditorium, Washington, DC. To present comments during the meeting, RSVP to ESSA.publichearing@ed.gov no later than 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 4, 2016.
LA - A hearing on Jan. 19, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, at UCLA, Carnesale Commons, 251 Charles E. Young Drive West, Palisades Room, Los Angeles, CA. To present comments during the meeting, RSVP to ESSA.publichearing@ed.gov no later than 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 12, 2016.


The annual $250 educator tax deduction is now permanent, will be adjusted for inflation, and can be used for professional development as well as instructional materials and classroom supplies.  The same bill renewed the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program, which helps finance school renovations and repairs—recognition that too many of today’s students are housed in yesterday’s buildings with out-of-date technology and often unsafe, crumbling infrastructures.

 Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 or omnibus, passed by Congress this week, increases funding for key programs serving students and families most in need by nearly $2 billion ($500 million for Title I, $415 million for IDEA, $570 million for Head Start, $326 million for Child Care and Development Block Grants, and more). In addition, the bill restores funding for preschool development grants and Title II teacher quality grants used to provide professional development and reduce class sizes. The new Pell grant maximum is $5,915 (an increase of $140).
And, in a huge victory for educators, the bill also delays for two years (until 2020) the Affordable Care Act’s 40 percent tax on the cost of employer-sponsored healthcare coverage above certain amounts—generally, $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families.  http://www.nea.org/home/61524.htm








STATE NEWS

New Jersey

Debates occurring surround universal Pre-K. One Senator - Senator Theresa Ruiz, is promoting the use of social impact bonds to finance this initiative. 



NJ Communities United, along with our friends at the Alliance for Newark Public Schools, made a special delivery to Senator Teresa Ruiz today. It was the "2015 Grinch of the Year Award" along with a stocking full of coal for failing to introduce the charter moratorium bill and protect Newark's public schools. Senator Ruiz has been a very bad girl





Pension funding may be up for a ballot vote




Florida

Governor budgets in charters school construction funding



SB1002 Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 2-1)
Status: Introduced on December 2 2015 - 25% progression
Action: 2015-12-17 - Referred to Education Pre-K - 12; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations

Pending: Senate Education Pre-K - 12 Committee
Text: Latest bill text (Introduced) [HTML]

Summary
Requiring each district school board to provide students in certain grades with a specified amount of consecutive minutes of free-play recess per day, etc.


SB 976 pre filed : Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)
Status: Introduced on December 1 2015 - 25% progression
Action: 2015-12-11 - Referred to Education Pre-K - 12; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Rules

Pending: Senate Education Pre-K - 12 Committee
Text: Latest bill text (Introduced) [HTML]

Summary
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to require the State Board of Education to direct the Department of Education to establish a statewide system for the approval of charter schools within the state, etc.


Florida Senate - 2016 SJR 976
By Senator Stargel

15-00873-16 2016976__
1 Senate Joint Resolution
2 A joint resolution proposing the creation of a new
3 section in Article IX of the State Constitution to
4 require the State Board of Education to direct the
5 Department of Education to establish a statewide
6 system for the approval of charter schools within the
7 state.
8
9 Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
10
11 That the following creation of a new section in Article IX
12 of the State Constitution is agreed to and shall be submitted to
13 the electors of this state for approval or rejection at the next
14 general election or at an earlier special election specifically
15 authorized by law for that purpose:
16 ARTICLE IX
17 EDUCATION
18 Charter schools.—The state board of education shall direct
19 the Department of Education to establish a statewide system for
20 the approval of charter schools within the state as provided by
21 law.
22 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be
23 placed on the ballot:
24 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
25 ARTICLE IX
26 CHARTER SCHOOLS.—Proposing an amendment to the State
27 Constitution to require the State Board of Education to direct
28 the Department of Education to establish a statewide system for
29 the approval of charter schools within the state.


Fresen has quite a lot a little baggage worth unpacking. You see, he’s not just a powerful lawmaker. Fresen’s also a former lobbyist for Academica, a for-profit company that operates more than 100 charter schools, mostly in Florida. And he’s also a consultant for Civica, an architectural firm that builds charter schools for Academica. Oh yeah, and Fresen’s brother-in-law just so happens to be Academica’s chief executive officer.”    https://florida-strong.org/for-profit-fresen/


New York





Massachusetts


The Massachusetts Attorney General William Galvin has certified the 2016 Ballot Initiative 15-12 Ending the Common Core Education Standards. 76,000 signatures were certified to support the ballot question.   http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2015-petitions/15-12-summary.pdf




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