- The premise of this bill sounds great, but implementation could have unintended consequences. Because of the narrow definition of classroom spending in the bill, this places severe limits on local school boards to use the FEFP for vital services outside of the classroom provided by non-classroom instructional personnel such as media specialists, school counselors and other mental health professionals and education staff professionals.
- We believe in local control. While the students in Florida’s sixty-seven counties have the same needs, the best way to achieve those needs might vary by county. Setting an arbitrary baseline for “classroom spending” denies local school districts the flexibility they need to serve students well.
- As with most new education regulations discussed in the Legislature, this bill has no mention of charter schools or voucher. If legislators truly believed in the importance of the 80% classroom spending rule, they would apply it to all schools receiving public funds.
SB 360, filed by Manny Diaz, would restrict local control on education spending decisions and mandate that “80 percent of funds received from the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP)” be used for “classroom spending purposes.”
Currently there is no companion bill in the House.
We oppose this bill.