Legislative Priorities

School District of Lee County 2023 Legislative Priorities

first pictures of students with a microscope, second picture is students around a bin outside, third picture is students in a lunchroom

Career and Technical Education Program Expansion

Request a specific appropriation project for $1,244,000 to expand Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Cape Coral Technical College (CCTC) for a master campus architectural design and engineering plans and costs associated with pre-construction to add two buildings to the existing campus property. Programs planned for the expanded campus include: Automotive Service Technology, Marine Service Technologies, HVAC-R, Welding Technology, and other construction-related and building trades programs.

Outcome: $1,244,000 Funded.

Workforce Development Capitalization Incentive Grant

Request funding through a Workforce Development Capitalization Incentive Grant to be used for instructional equipment, laboratory equipment, supplies, other furniture, and fixtures and equipment-related expenses associated with new technical college workforce development programs.

Outcome: $635 million made available to support workforce education programs statewide so Florida students are prepared to fill high-demand and high-wage jobs. This includes $20 million, an increase of $5 million, to develop the Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Program for the Governor’s Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program to establish or expand pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs for high school and college students.

Per Pupil Funding

Support the increase of per student funding by at least 5%, from $8,540 in FY23 to $8,967 in FY24, to further ensure that our students are provided the educational programs and services required to improve student achievement, to increase experienced teachers’ salaries, and to enhance cybersecurity threat mitigation services, including Security Education, Training, and Awareness (SETA) programs.

Outcome: The Framework for Freedom Budget raises per student funding by $405 to a record per student investment of $8,648 in the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP)

Safe Schools’ Allocation

Support an increase in the Safe Schools Allocation in the FEFP to ensure funds are available for student safety initiatives.

Outcome: The Framework for Freedom Budget increases the Safe Schools allocation by $40 million to a total of $250 million.

Safety and Security Technology

Request a specific appropriation project for $2,500,000 for safety and security technology to be installed in schools for the purpose of maintaining safe and secure learning environments for students and staff.

Outcome: $2,500,000 funded.

Expansion of After School Activities

Request a specific appropriation project for $250,000 to provide expanded after school activities to ensure students are provided with a safe and secure after school environment.

Outcome: $250,000 funded.

Superintendent Flexibility and Teacher Retention

Amend Florida Statutes 1012.56 to provide Superintendents with statutory flexibility to determine whether a classroom teacher may be retained for an extended period of time if the teacher has not yet passed the General Knowledge Exam within a 5% passage rate window.

Outcome: HB 1537 extends temporary teaching certificates from 3 years to 5 years. The bill expands eligibility for temporary certification candidates who are currently enrolled in state-approved teacher preparation programs. HB 1035 creates a new teacher apprenticeship program to create an alternative pathway to teacher certification.

Social Workers and the Florida Teacher Certification Exam

Amend Section 1012.55(b), Florida Statutes, to exclude School Social Workers from the instructional staff that must take and pass the Professional Education Exam - Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE), a Professional Examination for Teachers, to maintain employment in a K-12 public school.

Retired Teachers Return to Classrooms

Amend Section 121.091(9)(c), Florida Statutes to permit retired classroom teachers to return to the classroom after two months rather than the current requirement of one year.

Increase Cost Per Student Station

Increase the cost per student station by an additional 5%, as the current annual increase provided in Florida Statute will not keep pace with market increases in overall construction costs of up to 30% over the past year. Additionally, monitor the market for quarterly adjustments to the statutory costs per student station.

Outcome: HB 1 provides flexibility for school districts by exempting from the required cost per student station any construction started prior to July 1, 2026.

Pre-kindergarten Classrooms in FISH Calculation

Include all Pre-Kindergarten classes and programs in the Department of Education’s (DOE) Florida Inventory of School Houses (FISH) calculations to ensure that all students receiving instruction in Florida School Districts are accurately counted by and receive adequate funding from the DOE.

Outcome: Funded $1.6 billion in funding for early childhood education, including more than $427 million for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK).

Post-Hurricane Ian Recovery Legislative Request 1

Request for a special allocation to provide state funding in replacement of up to 100% of loss of property tax funding due to hurricane impacts.

Outcome: $17,550,392 Funded.

Post-Hurricane Ian Recovery Legislative Request 2

Request a special allocation to provide funding to mitigate the issuance and interest costs associated with a line of credit made necessary because of the potential delay in the receipt of property tax revenues due to the impact of the hurricane.

Post-Hurricane Ian Recovery Legislative Request 3

Request a special allocation to provide funding for the District’s documented losses related to Hurricane Ian, which are currently estimated at $273 million.

Outcome: Our District, along with other entities, will have access to a pot of money ($350,000,000) in Tallahassee to address our operational losses.

Post-Hurricane Ian Recovery Legislative Request 4

Request to increase the total project cost threshold of construction projects that require professional services on a Continuing Contract, from a limit of $4,000,000 to a limit of $15,000,000, for Hurricane Ian related recovery projects.

For additional information, please contact:

Angel M. Gomez
Chief Communications and Governmental Relations Officer
The School District of Lee County
Cell: 239-412-3965

Dr. Kim McDougal, Lobbyist
Gray Robinson, P.A.
Office: 850-566-8114

Debbie Jordan
Board Member, District 4
School Board Legislative Liaison
District Cell: 239.888.2174
Office: 239.337.8303