Eduardo J. Padrón
Office of the President
300 N.E. Second Avenue
Miami, Florida 33132-2297
Message From the President
Monday, May 05, 2008
Budget and Substantive Legislative Report
The 2008 Legislative Session may be recorded as one of the most difficult and challenging sessions of all time. Faced with a $4-billion shortfall in revenues, the Governor and Legislature juggled meeting the needs of Florida with balancing the state budget, while all sectors competed in advocating their priorities. Miami Dade College rallied around its own set of priorities and with the active aid of members of the District Board of Trustees, hundreds of College students, faculty and staff, communicated and advocated for the budget and pilot college inclusion.
While the budget hit is significant, community colleges were the least cut among all education delivery systems. We believe the Governor will also support the increases in tuition necessary to minimize the cuts in the budget. The massive effort to secure MDC inclusion among the pilot state colleges was indeed successful and we will now be pioneers in shaping the transition into a new state college system for the community college system. The adoption of the local option referendum for community colleges by the Taxation & Budget Reform Commission that will now appear on the ballot this November is also an achievement that came at the heels of intense advocacy from business leaders, alumni, and faculty from the College.
Sometimes just as important as passing good public policy is thwarting negative legislation. Here, too, MDC advocated strongly against penalizing students for taking extra courses and the defeat of the “excess credit hour” bills has to be counted as a win for our students. To all who helped in advocacy activities this Session, the College family is grateful and stronger for your efforts. Your extraordinary efforts made the difference in what could have been a disastrous session.
Special appreciation goes to Victoria Hernandez, director of governmental affairs, who did an outstanding job in representing MDC in Tallahassee and to Dr. Jose Vicente for coordinating our legislative efforts among the campuses. To all of you, thank you.
Following is a summary of the major pieces of legislation that have a direct or indirect impact on community colleges. In some cases, more analysis may be forthcoming as the information processed in Tallahassee becomes available. It is also possible that the Governor will veto a bill or a line item from the budget. For questions, you may refer to Victoria Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 7-7563. You may also review actual bills on the Web site: www.myflorida.com.
As noted, Community Colleges were the education sector least cut in the Appropriations bill. Yet significant budget cuts on top of the cuts suffered in 2007-2008 at the College will continue to affect the overall operations.
2008-2009 General Appropriations Act: HB 5001
MDC Operating Funds loss of $7.3M***
MDC Baccalaureate loss of $42,089
Facilities Matching loss of $4,108,454
6% Tuition increase
No SUCCEED grants
No Phil Benjamin matching money
First Generation Match (all colleges)- $2,000,000
Remediation Partnership grants for community colleges and K-12 - $700,000
***In addition to about $9M cut during the current year.
Capital Outlay Projects Funded:
Classrooms/Labs/Child Dev. – Wolfson $13,050,000
General renovations/remodel – Collegewide $12,475,180
New space Classrooms/Labs – West $4,500,000
Remodel Classrooms/Support addition – Wolfson $3,800,000
Remodel Buildings 1,2,3,5,7&13 – North $3,231,505
Governance/State College System: SB1716back to top
A historic evolutionary change for the Florida Community College System will take effect as this bill is implemented. While the primary mission of community colleges will remain intact, the opportunity to offer greater access to students will necessitate changes in governance, funding, and most importantly, academic degree programs. 2008-2009 will be a transitional year with newly created “pilot” state colleges and a Task Force reviewing and recommending the changes that will be required for a full transition. Miami Dade College strongly advocated to be recognized as a pilot college and thanks to many, it was accomplished. The bill:
- Drops “Community” from names of DBCC, Broward CC, IRCC, PCC, and Santa Fe CC.
- Allows other community colleges to change their names if approved to offer baccalaureate degrees, or if otherwise approved by State Board of Education pursuant to agreement.
- Colleges must maintain primary mission to respond to community needs; maintain the open door policy; provide outreach to underserved populations; provide remedial education; comply with statewide articulation agreement of the 2+2 with four-year institutions.
- Re-states that the colleges will be governed by local boards of trustees.
- Creates Florida College System comprised of two and four-year public post-secondary institutions offering undergraduate degrees. Prohibits members of system from calling themselves universities or offering graduate degrees.
- Creates a 12-member Florida College System Task Force consisting of the Commissioner and 11 other members to be appointed by the Commissioner. Membership to include the Commissioner as Chair and seven community college presidents, one state university president, one president of a FRAG-eligible institution, one president of an institution licensed by the Commission on Independent Education, and one member at-large.
- Defines the duties of the Task Force, including recommending a process for transition to state colleges as well as an approval process and funding model for baccalaureate degrees.
- Requires the Task Force to make recommendations to the Governor, State Board of Education, Senate President and House Speaker by March 2, 2009.
- Any recommendations must be approved by 3/4 of the membership of the Task Force.
- Task Force to sunset on June 30, 2010.
- Creates Florida State College Pilot Project: Chipola, Edison, Daytona Beach, Miami-Dade, Polk, St. Pete, Santa Fe, Indian River and Okaloosa-Walton.
- Requires same conditions listed above regarding mission, open door policy for associate degree programs, outreach, and remedial education.
- Restricts admission to upper-division program to students with an associate degree or who have passed the CLAST exam.
- Mandates CLAST exam testing for students entering the baccalaureate programs if they received an exemption as part of a longitudinal study.
- Charges Pilot College with same duties as the Task Force, except a 2/3 vote is required for recommendations, and the report is due January 1, 2009.
Distance Learning Fee: HB7105back to top
What originally began as a proposal to standardize a distance-learning fee ended in a bill that reflects a more comprehensive approach to expand access. The deliberation that will ensue through the work of the Task Force in the coming year will hopefully yield an improved statewide system of distance learning. The bill:
- Creates a nine-member Florida Distance Learning Task Force comprised of four university representatives, four representatives of community colleges, and the director of the Florida Distance Learning Consortium.
- Defines the duties of the Task Force.
- Establishes Florida Higher Education Distance Learning Catalog.
- Provides that community colleges cannot charge lab fees for distance-learning courses.
- Adds Distance Learning cost-recovery user fee authority only for courses in the Distance Learning Catalog.
- Requires prominent display of Distance Learning Catalog link on institution’s Web site.
- Requires annual report on the total amount of revenues generated by the distance-learning course user fee and the expenditures from the fees.
Techonology Fee: SB1774 (Appropriations Conforming Bill)back to top
- Technology Fee: Replaces current law authorizing a $1.80 technology fee inside the student tuition cap with language authorizing a technology fee of up to five percent outside the tuition cap. This is for college credit courses only and would not be paid for by Bright Futures. Revenues must be expended to enhance instructional technology resources for students and faculty, but the requirement that revenues be expended according to a technology plan is deleted. Effective July 1, 2009.
- PSAV Workforce Fees: Establishes a standard out-of-state fee per contact hour at three times the standard tuition per contact hour for workforce. Provides for a range of plus-five-percent and minus-five-percent from the standard fee for tuition and the out-of-state fee. Establishes an automatic increase of tuition based on inflation if tuition is not established in the General Appropriation Act.
- Student Activity Fees: Provides that “no community college shall be required to lower any activity and service fee approved by the Board of Trustees in effect prior to 10/26/07.”
- Financial Aid Fees: Allows a community college to collect up to an additional two percent of a financial aid fee if the total amount generated by the fee is less than $500,000 (current is $250,000). Allows up to 25 percent or $600,000 (current is $300,000) of financial-aid fee to be used to assist students who demonstrate: academic merit, participate in athletics, public service, cultural arts, and other extracurricular programs, as determined by the institution; or who are identified as members of a targeted gender or ethnic minority population.
Dual Enrollment: HB5083back to top
Dual enrollment had become a priority issue for community colleges prior to the Session. Working closely with legislators, we believed we would finally gain ground on a number of related issues. In what was ultimately passed, the leveling of the weight for all accelerated programs, such AP and IB, is probably the most significant. The bill:
- Deletes provision stating post-secondary credit shall be reported by school districts as 75 membership hours for purposes of FTE calculations.
- Adds provision that “instructional time for dual enrollment may vary from 900 hours; however, the school district may only report the student for a maximum of 1.0 FTE student membership. Dual enrollment FTE shall be calculated in an amount equal to the hours of instruction that would be necessary to earn the FTE student membership for an equivalent course if it were taught in school districts.”
- This means the bill authorizes a school district to report 900 hours of instructional time (one full-time student) for a dual enrollment student who is enrolled in 30 credit hours (15 credit hours per semester) in a post-secondary institution.
- Industry Certification, AP, IB and AICE – Funding Calculations
- Reduces FTE value from 0.24 to 0.16 for International Baccalaureate, Advanced International Certificates, and Advanced Placement who receive a score of three or higher on the College Board Advanced placement exam.
- Stipulated that the additional value of 0.3 FTE calculated for each student who completes an industry certified career and professional academy must achieve “the highest level of industry certification and a high school diploma.” It also clarifies that no more than 0.3 additional FTE can be earned per student.
The College had earlier reviewed some of the provisions in this bill and had expressed some concerns. The final bill is as follows:
- Requires high schools to evaluate college readiness before grade 12 for all students who express an interest in post-secondary education and score at level two or three on the reading portion of FCAT, or at levels two, three and four of the match portion of FCAT.
- Requires Department of Education (DOE) to develop the assessment instruments to perform the required evaluations.
- Students who demonstrate college readiness by achieving the minimum test scores as determined by DOE and who enroll in a community college within two years of having achieved those scores shall not be required to enroll in remediation courses as a condition of acceptance into any community college.
- Requires high schools to advise students of any deficiencies and to provide needed remedial education prior to graduation. Needed remedial education is to be provided in collaboration with local community colleges. The Florida Virtual School may be used to deliver remediation.
- Requires high school transcripts to include dual-enrollment grades as assigned by post-secondary institution.
Despite the efforts early on to avoid any legislation mandating a one-size-fits-all approach to textbook cost containment, this bill passed with overwhelming support in the Legislature. It is feared that there will be unintentional consequences causing some very bureaucratic policies that will affect each college and university’s internal policies and procedures from selection of textbook practices to operating bookstores. The provision on posting on the College’s Web site can include a link to our bookstore’s site, according to discussions with sponsor, Rep. Flores. The bill:
- Prohibits college or university employees from receiving anything of value in exchange for requiring a student to purchase a specific textbook. Provides exceptions that permit an employee to receive: sample copies, instructor copies, and instructional materials; royalties for books that include the instructor’s own work; honoraria; compensation for activities such as reviewing and preparing supporting material; and, training in the use of course materials and learning technologies.
- Requires posting of required books at least 30 days before the first day of class. Posting must include ISBN, title, authors, publishers, edition number, copyright date, published date. The State Board of Education shall adopt policies for limited exceptions for classes added after the notification deadline.
- Requires the State Board of Education and Board of Governors to adopt policies, procedures and guidelines to help minimize the cost of textbooks, to include:
The intent to use all items ordered, particularly each individual item sold as part of a bundled package, as confirmed by the course instructor before adoption is finalized.
- Adoptions to be made with sufficient lead time to bookstores, so as to confirm availability of the requested materials, and where possible, ensure maximum availability of used books.
- Before a textbook is adopted, a course instructor or the academic department offering the course must determine the extent to which a new edition differs significantly and substantively from earlier versions and the value of changing to a new edition.
Establishment of policies shall address the availability of required textbooks to students otherwise unable to afford the cost.
Children's Zones/Magic City: HB3back to top
This bill is a major victory for the advocates of the creation of children’s zones, including the College. It involves the direct participation of MDC's executive director of the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center on the governing body of the Magic City Children’s Zone, located in Liberty City. The bill:
- Provides a nominating process for areas within communities to be designated as children’s zones.
- Provides for a planning team, a strategic community plan, and focus areas to be included in the plan.
- Provides for a not-for-profit corporation to implement and govern a designated children’s zone.
- Creates a 10-year pilot project: the Magic City Children’s Zone in Liberty City, Miami, Fla.
- Provides for a board of directors, specifies membership, including MDC's executive director of the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center, and provides for an initial appropriation for a three-year implementation plan.
This was one of the pieces of legislation sought by all community colleges.
- Authorizes community college boards of trustees to enter into short-term financing contracts for goods, materials, and services for a term of not more than five years.
- Payments on such contracts must be subject to an annual appropriation by the board of trustees.
- Community college boards may pledge CIP fee revenues and parking fee revenues as a dedicated revenue source to the repayment of debt with an overall term of not more than seven years and revenue bonds with a term not exceeding 20 years. The revenue bonds must be issued by the Division of Bond Finance.
- The Division of Bond Finance may pledge fees collected by one or more community colleges to secure such bonds.
- Prohibits the use of tuition, financial aid fees, the Community College Program Fund, or any other operating revenues of a community college to secure revenue bonds.
- Requires community college boards of trustees to authorize all debt incurred by a direct support organization, but permits the boards to delegate to the direct support organization authority to approve short-term loans and lease purchase agreements with a term of five years or less.
“Green” Energy Conservation/Construction Standards: HB7135back to top
A major comprehensive piece of legislation that still needs to be analyzed because of its impact on all facility construction in the state. Many amendments were adopted and many more withdrawn the last few days of Session. More information will be forthcoming.
A provision in this remediation related bill provides that:
- Apprenticeship students are exempt from the requirement of taking the TABE test.
- Permits the construction for up to 100 beds for full-time students on a community college campus that meets certain requirements. This is expressly designed as an exception to an existing planning process in Monroe County and is intended to be used for Florida Keys Community College.
Alternative High School Credit/Ready to Work/Workplace Skills: SB1906back to top
This bill traveled back and forth between the Senate and House with many amendments. There still may be some minor corrections that will be forthcoming. Although primarily a K-12 bill, it does contain Ready to Work and Gold Seal provisions that should be examined.
- Authorizes a pilot project beginning in the 2008-2009 school year to provide opportunities for high school students enrolled in career academies to simultaneously earn alternative credit in Algebra, Geometry and Biology. The pilot project may be offered in up to three school districts selected by the Commissioner of Education from applications submitted by interested districts. Requires the Department of Education to report to the Legislature and Governor by January 1, 2010, on the number of students receiving alternative credit under the pilot and to provide legislative recommendations for expanding the use of alternative credit statewide.
- Creates a voluntary Student Preparedness Pilot Program (pilot program) to be piloted by school districts beginning with the 2008-2009 school year, and continuing through the 2014-2015 school year. The Department of Education is required to develop an application process and the State Board of Education is required to select the pilot program districts, one of which must be the Duval County School District. In participating pilot program districts, students who attain the age of 16 years, but have not reached the age of 18 years and who choose to exercise their option to not regularly attend school, are subject to the pilot program’s attendance and completion requirements.
- Such students must choose to:
(1) Continue towards and earn a high school diploma;
(2) Pursue and earn a high school equivalency diploma and earn a bronze-level or higher Florida Ready to Work Credential (credential);
(3) Participate in a career or job training program and earn an industry certification or skill licensure; or
(4) Participate in the Ready to Work Certification Program and earn a credential.
The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) must conduct an annual study on the impact of the pilot program on dropout and graduation rates, on the employability of students, and on juvenile crime and make the results available January 1, 2012.
- Requires students entering the ninth grade in the 2008-2009 school year to earn a Florida Ready to Work Credential as a requirement for graduation, if the student selects the traditional 24-credit graduation option and chooses a career or technical major area of interest.
- Adds a new student eligibility requirement to the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (Gold Seal) award. Beginning in the 2008-2009 school year, a student must earn a gold-level Florida Ready to Work Credential for receipt of a Gold Seal award. Provides for bronze-, silver-, and gold-levels of the credential and establishes the minimum score needed to attain each credential level. To achieve a gold-level credential, a student must score a minimum of five or above on the Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information assessments or assessments of comparable rigor.
Education Reform/State Standards &
Tests/Remediation/College and Career Prep/Workplace Skills: SB1908back to top
This top educational reform bill for K-12 should be reviewed carefully for the changes made that will affect the College. The dual-enrollment, remediation, and apprenticeship provisions have been noted above. Other major sections of the bill are:
- State Standards: Provides for Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.
- FCAT and School Grades: Redesigns FCAT and deemphasizes FCAT as the sole determinant of school grades by providing for comprehensive and end-of-course assessments.
- Personal Education Plans: Requires annual review of high school student electronic personal education plans.
- Standard High School Diplomas: Requires each standard high school diploma to include, as applicable, a designation of the student’s major area of interest, accelerated college credit courses, career education certification, and Ready to Work Credential.
- Ready to Work Credential: Creates the Ready to Work Credential.
- Florida Teachers Lead Program: Significant rewording of the Florida Teachers Lead Program providing funding to teachers for the purchase of classroom materials and supplies.
Pharmacy Technicians: SB1360back to top
All throughout the Session, the Senate never heard the bill. Yet it moved in the House and when it passed and was sent to the Senate, it was passed. The bill:
- Requires Pharmacy Technicians to be registered.
- Board of Pharmacy must register pharmacy technician applicants who have earned a high school diploma or GED, are at least 18 years of age, have remitted a registration fee, have completed an application form, have remitted a nonrefundable application fee, and otherwise meet registration requirements.
- Effective January 1, 2011, an applicant to become a registered pharmacy technician must also have completed an approved pharmacy technician training program.
- Specifies that a registered pharmacy technician registered before January 1, 2011, who has worked as a pharmacy technician for a minimum of 1,500 hours under a licensed pharmacist’s supervision or who has received certification as a pharmacy technician from an approved program, is exempt from the requirement to complete an initial training program for purposes of registration.
- Pharmacy technician students obtaining practical training and persons licensed as pharmacy interns are exempted from the registration requirements.
- Specifies registration renewal requirements for pharmacy technicians.
- Provides grounds for discipline against an applicant for registration as a pharmacy technician or a registered pharmacy technician.
- A person whose license to practice pharmacy has been suspended, denied, or restricted, is prohibited from registering as a pharmacy technician.
- Effective January 1, 2010, it will be unlawful for a person who is not registered as a pharmacy technician, or who is not otherwise exempt, to perform the functions of a registered pharmacy technician or hold herself or himself out as a pharmacy technician.
Community colleges and state universities may not ban establishment, maintenance or operation of a unit of ROTC.
Community colleges and universities shall grant recruiters of Armed Forces and Homeland Security same access to students/facilities/grounds as other employers.
To the extent required in 10 U.S.C. s. 983 (b)(2), community colleges and universities shall grant recruiters access to student information including name, address, telephone, date/place of birth, levels of education, major, degrees received and institutions in which enrolled.
Emergency Dispatchers: SB1694back to top
- Defines 911 emergency dispatcher.
- Person wanting to be certified as 911 emergency dispatcher applies to the Department of Health (DOH).
- DOH establishes by rule educational and training criteria, to include:
(1) Completion of program not less than 208 hours, equivalent to DOE course
(2) Two years of full-time employment as dispatcher since 2002.
- Certificate must be renewed after two years.
- Initial certification allowed for those with five years of supervised full-time employment as 911 dispatcher since 2002.
Although MDC does not offer this program, the M-DCPS does, and many community colleges do. It was vetoed last year by the Governor, but there are indications that he will not veto it this year. The bill:
- Grandfathers all current cosmetologists and holders of specialty registrations for manicure, pedicure and facial specialists.
- Retains current Cosmetologist license, including hair stylist services, hair removal services, manicure and pedicure services for natural nails, and basic skin services for facials. Requires specialized training for those seeking to perform expanded skin treatment and artificial nail services. Increases education hours from 1,200 to 1,500. Creates Hair Stylist license. Decreases education requirement from 1,200 to1,000 hours. Allows hair removal.
- Creates nail technician license (change from registration), requiring a state exam. Increases education hours from 240 to 350.
- Creates Esthetician license (change from registration), requiring passage of a state exam. Increases educational requirement from 260 to 600 hours. Provides in-depth training in skin care.
- Improves health and safety by strengthening disinfection requirements and informing clients they cannot receive services if they have a contagious condition.
BILLS THAT DID NOT PASS
Excess Hours: SB320 and HB745back to top
- Two very different provisions on excess credit hours were adopted and added to a university differential tuition bill during the Session. With strong advocacy work to remove the excess-credit-hours language, we succeeded in having it removed from the bills.
Governance - Constitutional Amendment: SJR2308back to top
- A deep rift between the House and Senate leadership over the importance of this bill caused it to fail. Members of the Board of Governors argued persuasively to House members not to consider it. This constitutional amendment proposal would have overhauled the structure and organization of Florida’s educational system and would have been placed on the ballot for voter approval in November.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): SB286back to top
- This bill had been the subject of much controversy. In 2007, a similar bill was vetoed by Governor Crist, primarily because of the concerns regarding the lowering of requirements for teachers of ESOL. Although SB286 included compromise language worked out by the sponsors and members of the Miami-Dade delegation who had previously voiced the concerns, it failed to be voted out by the Senate in the last days of Session. A Task Force may still be created by DOE voluntarily.
Financial Aid for International Students: HB475back to top
- This bill – filed repeatedly year after year – would have prohibited a state university or community college from using state funds appropriated directly or indirectly to the institution, and tuition and fee revenues generated by Florida residents, to provide financial assistance to any student holding an F-1 or M-1 visa.