Florida lawmakers debate how university performance funding is awarded
Florida is taking another look at performance standards for state universities, after supporters of some schools, including Florida A&M University, say they are being shortchanged in a system that denies extra funding to the “bottom three” universities. “All 12 of our state universities deserve an opportunity to flourish, to provide the quality of life experience," says Rep. Ramon Alexander (D-Tallahassee). "There’s no one-size-fits-all approach in regards to providing high-quality education within the state university system.” Right now, the Senate budget proposes an additional $100 million for the university performance fund, while the House proposes to keep it at the current $245 million level. Full story from WFSU is here. Read more at the Palm Beach Post and the Daily Commercial.
Lawmakers each year earmark millions of dollars specifically for school safety and security. These Safe School dollars are used on school resource officers, after-school programs and more. For seven consecutive years, 67 school districts have shared a $64.4 million pot. [Source: TCPalm]
In the 2015-2016 academic year, 28 percent of Florida university students earning undergraduate degrees also accumulated “excess” credit hours and paid financial penalties. Rep. Amber Mariano, a Hudson Republican who was elected to the House while she was still a student at the University of Central Florida, has been trying to soften that financial penalty since her election in 2016. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
FBI Director Christopher Wray told Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday that the agency shares his concerns with Confucius Institutes at American schools, including five in Florida. Rubio recently wrote a letter to five schools in Florida to warn about the Chinese-government run institutes. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
The Florida Prepaid College Board is offering an incentive to state employees, encouraging them to lock in affordable prices for Florida Prepaid College Plans before Open Enrollment ends Feb. 28. State employees who sign up for a plan using a unique promo code will get a 50 percent discount on their application fee, a $25 savings, plus a gift from Florida Prepaid. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]
› Parents could get more voice in school textbook selection [Tampa Bay Times]
Florida lawmakers pushed ahead this week with another bill aimed at giving parents and residents more say over textbooks and other instructional materials used in the public schools.
› Displaced Puerto Rican students adjust to mainland schools [Education Week]
The flow of students from Puerto Rico has slowed in recent weeks, but mainland schools continue to take in new evacuees five months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
› Medical marijuana is legal. But how should schools handle it? [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Pot use has long been banned on school campuses, but Florida voters legalized it for medical purposes in 2016. The state Legislature last year required schools to come up with a policy on dealing with it.
› House bill could threaten Florida teachers' unions [WJHG]
An education bill could threaten teachers' unions in the state of Florida. Alexis Underwood, President of the Association of Bay County Educators, addressed her concerns of House Bill 7055 during Tuesday afternoon's Bay District School Board meeting.