Complete review of the 2010 Florida Legislative Session.

nebraskaboomOil and Offshore

Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

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Memorandum


To:

FAME Board of Directors


From:

Bob Cerra, Legislative Lobbyist


Date:

May 13, 2010


Re:

Final 2010 Session Report

____________________________________________________
______________________


The 2010 Legislative Session saw the first growth in general revenue in over three years;
however, the revenue growth was outpaced by expenditure requirements creating a $3 billion
deficit for the 2010
-
2011 fiscal year budget. This

shortfall was bridged primarily through cuts to
services, transfers from trust funds and the Seminole Compact. These decisions allowed for a
budget that
largely

hold
s

public education funding harmless, but saw huge budget cuts to
projects funded through
other areas
of the budget to maintain this level of funding
.

Furthermore, the state faces a budget shortfall of between $5 billion and $6 billion in 2011
-
2012 and early reports after the oil slick tragedy suggest that the 2010
-
2011 budget is at risk of
no
t balancing.


Overview of Public School Funding

The Legislature can rightly boast that they did better for public schools than many could have
expected at the start of session
.
While the Legislature’s

claim of a “hold harmless” for publi
c
schools

is a bit

overstated, districts should be able to build their local budgets
with the only cuts
required being because of funding needed to
:



meet class size reduction costs (cut of 2% to 3% of total budget);



fund increased Florida Retirement System rates (cut of .9%

of total budget); and,



account for a change in how local school property tax collections are counted in the
state funding formula (cut of .5% of total budget).


While the cuts are relatively small, the easy cuts to local budgets have already been made
dur
ing the six unique budget cuts or the events of prorating the FEFP over the previous four
budget cycles.




Library Media Materials

For the first time in years, funding for the library media materials allocation within the
instructional materials allocation
of the FEFP was increased to $
11,957,335
.
While the increase
was only .41%, the previous increase of any kind occurred during the 2001 session when the
item increased from $14 million to $15 million. Limited flexibility
is provided for districts to raid
instructional materials allocations if the district certifies after March 1, 2011 that it has
purchased all of the instructional materials needed to align to the Next Generation Sunshine
State Standards in that fiscal year. FAME is thankful that the
alloc
ation is beginning to rebound
.


SUNLINK

The 2009
-
2010 state budget included language mandating a study of the SUNLINK project and
several other library related databases throughout the university system, community college
system and state library system to determine if any economies of scale or
savings could be
obtained without a major disruption of services. A task force met all last fall and issued a report
in late November that provided four methodologies for moving forward. The Legislature
decided to
ignore the recommendations of its own ta
sk force and instead folded SUNLINK into
the community college library database. Funding for SUNLINK was reduced to a mere $100,000
for 2010
-
2011, which is designed to cover the costs of this transition. Proviso included with this
line item was included
in the budget as follows:


From the funds provided in Specific Appropriation 80 for the Sunlink

Uniform Library, $50,000
each shall be provided to the College Center

for Library Automation (CCLA) and the Department
of Education to

transfer the Sunlink bibl
iographic database in standard library data

format to the
CCLA for inclusion in its online discovery tool product

and made publicly searchable by school
district students, staff and

parents. The department shall also develop an ongoing process to

provide f
or electronic updating of customer data as described in the

"Hosted Service Solution
Agreement SUNLINK/University of Central

Florida" dated November 2, 2009, to the CCLA to
keep the transferred

public school library holdings data current.


In addition, pro
viso included in the funding item for the College Center for Library Automation
(CCLA) requires the following:


From the funds provided in Specific Appropriation 112, the College Center for Library
Automation (CCLA) shall expand its online discovery tool p
roduct to allow a user to search
simultaneously the combined holdings and applicable electronic resources of CCLA and the
Florida Center for Library Automation. In addition, library holdings currently available in
SUNLINK, as well as library holdings avail
able in standard machine readable bibliographic
records of the State Library of Florida and the public libraries, should be included when and
where feasible. The expanded search function shall be implemented by September 1, 2010.


FAME is hopeful that CCLA

will be able to maintain and update the SUNLINK data and preserve
the functionality that SUNLINK had provided for some of the youngest readers and researchers


to obtain materials that they need. Given the state’s budget, it is disappointing but not
shock
ing that this decision was made.


State Public Library Grants / Florida Electronic Library

For the second year in a row, the Legislature considered massive cuts to the state funding for
public library grants. Because the federal government requires
the
ma
intenance of effort in
order to qualify for federal library grants, the flirtation with total elimination of state dollars
also
put programs such as the Florida Electronic Library at risk of elimination. During one of the
final dec
isions of the budget con
ference, the funding was restored for 2010
-
2011. This will also
protect the federal grants for another year, but the message needs to be received by our
members and other supporters of public libraries that certain legislators seem to be continually
targe
ting this area.


Passage and Veto of SB 6


Teacher Quality

While much has been said and written about the heavy handed methods used to pass this bill
and the great courage exhibited by Governor Crist

to veto it, library media specialists should be
extremely pleased with this outcome. Given that end
-
of
-
course exams (EOCs)

do not measure
“learning gains” but onl
y achievement, the whole idea

that comparisons could appropriately be
made of the contributi
ons of different teachers in different schools with different students by
using EOCs that only measured performance and not gains was intentionally flawed. FAME
members who are concerned about the effort to force teacher performance pay based on
unsound m
ethodologies should be very careful to support and elect state legislators and a
Florida Governor who agree with their views on this subject. Supporters of this bill will come
back next year unless future leg
islators know that a true measure

of
educationa
l
gains cannot
be obtained from a single test.


Election Season

The 2010 election season is already guaranteed to be extremely important not only for the
future of Florida but also the direction of our nation. Already, this election promises to see:



votes

on at least 9 different constitutional amendments and possibly 10 if the
Legislature meets in a couple of weeks to consider a permanent ban on offshore drilling
near Florida’s coastline;



one “non
-
binding” referendum urging action by the U.S. Congress rela
ting to a balanced
budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution;



one new U.S. Senator;



an entirely new Florida Cabinet as every member of the current Cabinet (Governor,
Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Agriculture Commissioner) are all either
run
ning for a different office or are termed out;



at least 10 new Florida Senators; and,



at least 32 new Florida House members.




Picking pro
-
public education candidates will be extremely important moving forward. After five
straight years of declining or fla
t public education budgets,
our elected officials need

to do
more than just regulate the public schools into oblivion.



Closing

John Cerra and I are proud of our long term relationship with the Florida Association for Media
in Education (FAME). The past
few years have been difficult
, but we understand the
contributions that school library media specialists make to the overall education of our
children, and we are committed to
FAME’s success
. If you have any questions or concerns
about issues contained in

this report, please contact me at bobcerra@comcast.net.