03-27-2018 Board Workshop Legislative & Local Revenue Options

The School Board of Brevard County, Florida met for a board workshop on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at the Educational Services Facility, 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida. Notice of the meeting was advertised in the Eagle newspaper on Thursday, March 15, 2018. The affidavit of publication with a copy of the ad attached is filed in the Affidavit File in the Board Office.

Opening Exercises
1. Call to Order

Minutes: Chairman John Craig called the workshop to order at: 2:03 p.m.

Roll Call
2. Roll Call

Minutes: Members Present: Misty Belford, John Craig, Tina Descovich, Matt Susin and Andy Ziegler

Pledge of Allegiance
3. Pledge of Allegiance

Minutes: Chairman Craig led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Order of Business
4. Legislative Wins/Losses and Financial Impact - Matt Reed
Attachment: Legislative update - March 2018.pdf
Attachment: 03-27-2018 Conference to 3rd Calc.pdf
Attachment: 03-27-2018 FY 2018-19 Budget.pdf

Pennie Zuercher, chief financial officer, began with a legislative update on financials. For the second year in a row, Brevard is below the state average.  She noted there are some new categoricals as well as changes to existing ones. One of the changed ones is for Safe Schools.  Of those dollars received in increase, $2,353,776 must be used to hire school resource officers. The funding compression allocation is new this year and a one time distribution to districts that received below the state average in 2017-18. The mental health allocation of $1,700,769 is a new categorical with a mandate to be spent on mental health assistance for students.  The dollars must go for new items. Ms. Zuercher will be working with Dr. Thedy to determine how to utilize these funds. Ms. Belford clarified that the same is true for SRO allocations; the dollars must be utilized on new SROs. The mental health allocation is specific in that it must be shared with charter schools as well as is reoccurring. There was some discussion on the timeframe that SROs needed to be in place.

Ms. Zuercher moved on to the calculation of new and lapse recurring funding. She stressed that what is important  is our "mandated usage."  These are items that are required by statute or by commitments the board has made. There were some questions about what causes us to be below state average. Ms. Zuercher explained it is a combination of several factors.

Matt Reed, assistant superintendent of Government and Community Relations provided information to Board members. He explained that a 1.5 million dollars appropriation had been passed for an advanced manufacturing and welding training center. Sponsors of the bill were Representative Tom Goodson and Senator Dorothy Hukill.  The bill is backed by Brevard employers.

The $8.1 million shortfall for transportation was not successful. However, Representative Randy Fine is requesting that a state OPPAGA study be done in an effort to consider a statewide funding formula.

Fortunately, they stopped busing expansion which would have carried the potential cost of $3.5 million in annual operating expense and $15 million capital for buses. Mr. Reed feels this will be an issue again next year.

The BPS student-government request for mental health appropriations passed and was supported by Senator Passidomo.  

Regarding maintaining the required local effort property-tax rate; there was a rolled back RLE, with revenue from growth. The  BPS student government request for mental health appropriation was passed.

Mr. Reed pointed out a tool in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public-Safety Act is the "risk protection order."

He pointed out the aspects of HB 7055.


5. Legislative Focus Next Session - Matt Reed


The next step in the legislative arena is to develop the 2019 priorities. 

There was some discussion about exploring the possibility of a full time government liaison. While the initial idea is good and will be beneficial in the long run, the board must be cognizant of cost both in personnel and travel. At the same time, the more we invest in our relationships with our legislators, the more fruitful the return on investment can be.

Some conversation took place regarding restructuring best and brightest and ways we pay teachers and flexibility in performance pay. Dr. Blackburn added he wanted discussion about how the state treats retired teachers which may give the district more opportunity for substitutes as well as full time teachers. It was requested to expand that conversation beyond teachers.

Dr. Blackburn suggested that in order to fast track conversations,  Mr. Reed should schedule one on ones with Board members and compile what is really important in or order to to get our position stated. He commented this should happen as soon as possible.

Ms. Belford made a request to perhaps reach out to our state attorney or local law enforcement to find out what legislation is needed to make law enforcement more capable of addressing security issues. She believes there is a gap and we need conversation to address those gaps.

6. Local Revenue Options - Pennie Zuercher


Ms. Zuercher provided the options available to the District by way of a voter referendum.

1. District School Millage

  • Four Years - can be used for operating only
  • Two Years - can be used for either operating or capital

2. Sales Tax Options

  • Shared with cities and counties - can be for capital only - half cent or full penny
  • Sales Surtax -one half cent for capital outlay

3. General Obligation Bond

  • Requesting a set amount with an ad valorem millage that pays back the amount of that bond over time up to 30 years
  • Can be used for capital projects only

Ms. Zuercher moved into explanation of what we are allowed to do with the monies. There was brief discussion of surrounding counties that had a levied millage increase for operating. The district can receive up to 10 mils.

Discussion ensued on the best way to utilize this information and the next steps needed. The district  has to reduce costs and  increase revenue to meet demands. Mr. Craig asked board members to think about what they had heard and send individual thoughts to Dr. Blackburn so that he could summarize.


Closing Remarks
7. Adjournment

Minutes: Chairman Craig adjourned the workshop at 3:28 p.m.