Legislative Priorities 2021-22
For stakeholders interested in supporting Lake County Schools' Legislative Priorities by contacting state legislators, here are some helpful tips for Effective Communication with Your Representative.
Lake County Schools urges the Florida Legislature to:
I. Provide Sufficient and Sustainable Funds to Meet the Educational Needs of Lake County School Students
- Provide adequate Base Student Allocation (BSA) funding for districts to account for:
- Minimum wage increasing to $10 an hour in 2021 and by $1 an hour per year through 2026 as required under the 2020 Amendment to the Florida Constitution.
- Increased contributions to the Florida Retirement System (FRS) and offsetting other underfunded categoricals.
- Allow full and unrestricted access to all federal funds appropriated by Congress for school districts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Invest in teachers by continuing to fund the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation (TSIA) so school districts can maintain salary increases.
- Invest in teachers by providing additional TSIA funding to districts that are below $47.500 so school districts can meet the beginning teacher salary target established by the State, while providing additional funding to address the impact of salary compression on school districts and veteran teachers.
- Increase the total funds compression to bring Lake County up to 100 percent of the statewide average based on the current year student funding and make the appropriation a permanent part of the FEFP.
- Lake County Schools urges the Florida Legislature to use state assessment solely for the purpose of monitoring student progress across the varied learning platforms and not use the data for teacher evaluations, student promotion and graduation decision, nor for the purpose of grading schools and districts of the 2020-21 school year. Students' academic struggles, in the midst of a pandemic, should not be used punitively. Instead, we should use the data to determine how best to help our students during this unprecedented, difficult time.
II. Increase Efforts to Recruit and Retain Certified Teachers and Recognize Implications of Statewide Teacher Shortages
- The shortage of certified teachers has a ripple effect throughout school districts, including:
- Loss of funding for students who have a non-certified, long-term substitute as the teacher of record.
- Negative impact on student performance.
- Address burdensome certification requirements to lighten the load on new teachers while they are learning to teach by extending the 3-year temporary certificate to a 5-year temporary.
- Remove the requirement for teachers certified in Elementary Education to earn their reading endorsement in order to provide Tier 3 interventions.
- Provide incentives or training development funds for career changers new to teaching, particularly those who are content experts from other professions and current paraprofessionals.
- Invest in teachers by continuing to fund the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation (TSIA) while also addressing the impact of salary compression on school districts and veteran teachers.
III. Support Opportunities to Prepare Students for High Wage and High Demand Jobs
- HB 1507, passed in the 2021 Legislative Session, shifts "Industry Certifications" to "Credentials of Value" and established a statewide committee to define the new term. However, the committee lacks a K-12 (Secondary) representative, which should be added to ensure the sustainability of the current and future workforce education programs in our middle and high schools.
- Support an education appropriation in the amount of $300,000 to support and expand the District's aviation programs to include:
- Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations/Drone Program -- East Ridge High School
- Aerospace Technologies I and Intro to Aviation Course and Private Pilot Ground School Course and dual enrollment program with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University -- Eustis High School
- Aerospace Technologies I and Intro to Aviation Course -- Lake Minneola High School
- Private Pilot Ground School (non-dual enrollment) and FLDOE "Private Pilot Ground School" -- Leesburg High School
- Private Pilot Ground School Course, FLDOE "Private Pilot Ground School" certificate and dual-enrollment program with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University -- South Lake High School