Issues of Interest

STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM The State University System’s board of governors recently revised how they will distribute performance funding. Performance funding is disbursed based on a series of metrics including graduation rates, excellence and improvement. The Board’s budget and finance committee voted to change the scale to 100 points, instead of 50 points.  Last year, $200 million was allocated to performance funding, with the University of Florida receiving the most.

GAPS IN TEST SCORES The Department of Education is recommending a change in how to set passing scores for the new Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). As a result of the change, more Florida students would pass the FSA than earn a proficient score on national standardized tests. Florida school superintendents cautioned the DOE against comparing the FSA to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as the test evaluates different standards. The Board of Education will vote on whether or not to  lower the passing scores in January.

SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY Florida’s school superintendents continue to debate the DOE over school grades. They argue the state needs two sets of test scores to determine if a student’s performance has improved. Since the new assessment was rolled out this year with multiple complications, they say there is not enough information to determine gains.

JOINT LEGISLATIVE AUDITING COMMITTEE Leon County School District, Putnam County and the City of Palatka are all under scrutiny from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for infractions which led the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee conducting financial audits of these public entities. The JLAC is a panel made up of House and Senate members. Leon County Superintendent Jackie Pons is being investigated for employing a “no-bid policy” for construction projects spanning years. Putnam County and Palatka may also face an FBI investigation for misuse of public funds, including the purchase of vehicles by the Sheriff’s Office and no-bid contracts.

HEALTHCARE COMMISSION Governor Scott’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding has been meeting since May to study and investigate the role of taxpayer funding for hospitals, insurers and healthcare providers. The Commission intends to send the legislative leadership a letter with proposed recommendations for potential 2016 legislation. One issue under consideration is criminal prosecution of hospitals who charge patients beyond the allowable amount for healthcare.

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