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By Florence Brainerd, FRA Legislative Advocate
March, 2001

The 2001 Legislative Session began with the Governor Bush's State of the State address to legislators. Sixty-four of 160 legislators are entering their first regular session.   Gone are the days when education was a headliner made by our state leaders.   In his address, Governor Jeb Bush asked for resources to modernize our voting systems.  He touched on education, improvements to long-term care, tax cuts, and civil service restructuring.  There are few specifics in the areas of election reform and funding for education and health care.

The Governor and DOE have presented  fairly decent education budgets.  However, the Senate and House have sliced through many programs provided in the past, and those proposed by the Governor and Commissioner of Education.  Listed is a comparison of several budget items.
        ITEM             GOV         DOE         SENATE    HOUSE
    Supplemental Acad. Instr.         $671.164M    $686.235M     $676.928M      $677.222M     Instructional Materials           212.880M       217.892M      196.308M         213.539M
Teacher Lead Program             15.238M         15.269M         15.044M           15.386M
    Teacher Training                 36M            37,374M          36M                   36M
    Teacher Recruitment/Retention         50M              60M                       60M    
    Reading Initiatives             11M             7.420M        
                 DOE     Reading intervention strategies (70K)
         DOE    Family Lit & Reading Exec Center (850K)
                           DOE     Improvement of grades 4-12 reading (6.5M)
Note: Last year Florida received $26M federal reading grant to be expended in 2001 & 2002 budgets.

Over thirty education bills have been filed and many have been heard in committees.   However, only a few are of interest to FRA and its adopted issues. 
Senate Bill 520 Reading - Senator Miller filed this one last year.  It provides intent to set aside time each day in each K-4 classroom for reading instruction and development, with DOE providing technical support.  It passed both Senate and House Education Committees.
SB 646 and HB 429 Classroom Size -  Insures that by 2010, 16 students max per class in grades preK-3 will be allowed; and, in grades 4-8, 20 students max per class allowed; and grades 9-12, 25 students max per classroom. 

At this time there is no major legislation in motion that can affect FRA to any great extent.  The greatest concern is how much the House and Senate plan to cut education programs.  FRA needs to remain vigilant and keep in touch with state legislators (e-mail is good) and let them know funding for reading initiatives and programs should be included and secured in the 2001-2002 budget.

The ESC met in Tallahassee March 21-23, at the Turlington Ed. Building.  Items on the agenda included:
Education Priorities for 2001 Legislature
Development of Subject Area Tests for Teacher Certification
Florida Alternative Certification Program
Update on the Florida Excellent Teaching Program
    Supply & Demand of Teachers

March 13, 2001 and April 24, 2001 - Tallaassee Capitol, 9:00 A.M.


Evelyn Lynn, Chair - Ormond Beach,  lynn.evelyn@leg.state.fl.us; (850)488-9873
Dwight Stansel, Vice Chair - Live Oak, stansel.dwight@leg.state.fl.us; (850)488-9835
JD Alexander - Winter Haven, alexander.jd@leg.state.fl.us; (850)488-9465
Ralph Arza - Hialeah, arza.ralph@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-1683
Dennis Baxley - Ocala, baxley.dennis@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-0335
Susan Bucher - West Palm Beach, bucher.susan@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-0175
Nancy Detert - Venice, detert.nancy@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-1171
Mark Flanagan - Bradenton, flanagan.mark@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-4086
Stan Jordan - Jacksonville, jordan.stan@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-4388
Charlie Justice - St. Petersburg, justice.charlie@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-9337
Perry McGriff - Gainesville, mcgriff.perry@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-0887
David Mealor - Lake Mary, mealor.david@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-5843
Jerry Melvin - Fort Walton, melvin.jerry@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-1170
Joe Pickens - Palatka, pickens.joe@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-0665
Curtis Richardson - Tallahassee, richardson.curtis@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-1798
Chris Smith - Fort Lauderdale, smigh.chris@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)488-1084



Don Sullivan, Chair - 408 Senate Office Bldg., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100;   sullivan.don.web@leg.state.fl.us;  (850)487-5065; (h) St. Petersburg , 22nd District  (727)893-9657

Buddy Dyer - 202 SOB (dito);  dyer.buddy.web@leg.state.fl.us; 
    (850)487-5190;  (h) Orlando,  14th District   (407)245-0882

Rudy Garcia - 212 SOB (dito);  garcia.rudy.web@leg.state.fl.us;
    (850)487-5106;  (h) Hialeah, 39th District

Betty Holzendorf  - 410 SOB (dito);  fax (904)359-6880;
    (850)487-5024;  (h) Jacksonville, 2nd District

Jack Latvala - 412 SOB (dito); latvala.jack.web@leg.state.fl.us;
    (850)487-5062;  (h) Palm Harbor, 19th District

Les Miller - 218 SOB (dito); miller.lesley.web@leg.state.fl.us;
    (850)487-5059;  (h) Tampa, 21st District

Daniel Webster - 316 SOB (dito); fax (407)297-2064;
    (850)487-5047;  (h) Winter Garden, 12th District