CEO Message

It is hard to believe we are halfway through the month of May, and the end of the 2023-2024 school year is upon us. When I was a high school principal and throughout my 10 years as superintendent, the month of May was one of my favorite times of the year because of graduation and all the activities, celebrations and recognitions associated with this pivotal moment in students’ lives.


I have always loved participating in high school graduations. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing the excitement, pride, and joy on the faces of students as well as parents/loved ones, as the students walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. Each student has endured their own challenges and successes. That is certainly something to celebrate!


Likewise, we need to honor and recognize the tremendous sacrifices and hard work of teachers, administrators and staff throughout the school year who have worked extremely hard every day to ensure that students are learning and excelling; school staff that kept schools running; cafeteria workers that kept students fed; school nurses who tended to the sick; bus drivers who transported students to and from school; school safety specialists who ensured the safety of students and school staff; and myriad others who played a daily role in ensuring that public school students had access to a high quality education.


This is therefore a great time of the year to celebrate, and to pause and reflect on the hard work and dedication that have brought our young people to this exciting point in their lives.


Even though I am no longer involved in the day-to-day activities of students, I very much enjoy your district social media posts and other communications that allow me the chance to relive happy memories, and participate vicariously in the monumental occasion of high school graduation.


Thank you for your dedication, service, and commitment to Florida public school students!

Yours in education,


Legislative Update

By Brian Moore, FADSS General Counsel

The Pendulum Shift

Beginning with the debate and passage of HB 1 in 2023, which essentially created universal vouchers for Florida, a separate discussion about deregulating the public schools started in the Florida Senate. HB 1 included a few, small measures designed to lessen some of the regulatory burdens on public schools that do not apply to other taxpayer-funded education options. It also included a directive to the Florida Department of Education to review the entire Education Code and identify laws that could be revised or repealed to reduce further the regulatory burdens on public schools. At the same time, Senate staff also undertook a similar review of the Education Code.

At the start of the 2024 legislative session, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo asked her fellow Senators to be guided by three questions:

  • Do private schools have to comply with this requirement? If not, then what is the rationale for imposing that requirement on public schools? 

  • Will removing or changing this requirement negatively impact student safety or school security? If so, maintain the requirement. 

  • Can the same level of accountability be effectively maintained at the local level? If state oversight is no longer necessary, ensure the same or a greater level of transparency and accountability is required locally. 

Applying those questions to both existing and proposed laws would allow public schools to compete with other school choice options in Florida on a more level playing field.

As a result, the Senate introduced three separate bills to deregulate public schools (SB 7000, SB 7002, and SB 7004), and the House introduced two of its own (HB 7025 and HB 7039). Ultimately, some of the Senate’s proposals failed to reach the finish line during the give and take of session, but both chambers passed SB 7002 and SB 7004. This week, the Governor signed both of them into law as Chapters 24-159 and 24-160, Laws of Florida.

Thus, beginning July 1, 2024, school districts will see some flexibility with meeting notices, emergency shelter staffing, parental notices, financial reporting, and much more. They also will no longer have to submit an annual guidance report, fine arts report, and relocatable classroom report. There are also provisions to make the acquisition of instructional materials and the maintenance and construction of facilities much less burdensome. 

Just as important as the revisions and repeals enacted in SB 7002 and SB 7004, the guiding questions President Passidomo posed at the start of the session carried over to the debate of new legislation that would add regulatory burdens to public schools. Most of the bills that would have imposed new requirements failed to pass, and several of the education bills that did pass contain optional, rather than mandatory, provisions. Accordingly, for the first time in many years, school districts will be able to spend time this summer assessing and revising existing programs to better meet the needs of their students, rather than developing or implementing new mandates before school starts.

Finally, President Passidomo has stated that she envisions this deregulation push to remove unnecessary burdens from public schools to be a multi-year effort. Therefore, it is incumbent on all public school stakeholders to continue to support Florida’s legislative leaders and the Governor in this endeavor so that public schools can compete with the other publicly-funded choice options and better serve Florida’s students in doing so.

Education Update

By Katrina Figgett, FADSS Director of Training

FSBA | FADSS Joint Conference

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay on June 6, for a day of learning, discussion, and collaboration. We will start by hearing from our friends, Senior Chancellor Adam Miller, and Paul Burns, Chancellor of K-12 Education, who are sure to discuss some of the recent and upcoming rules related to this session’s statute changes.

Given the importance of School Safety, we will have presentations and updates from the Florida Association of School Safety Specialist (FS3) Executive Director John Hunkier and Dept. of Juvenile Justice Secretary Eric Hall and Deputy Secretary Adrienne Campbell. We also look forward to hearing about new programming and grant opportunities from the Lastinger Center, and about one of their New Worlds Reading collaborations with UF IFAS that provides a seven-week literacy and nutrition program for students and their families. In addition, Grace Hanna, the Continuity Manager with Within Health will be with us to discuss the prevalence of eating disorders in our secondary students, the effects these have on academic achievement, and treatment and counseling options that are available. 

Last, but certainly not least, we will hear from FADSS General Counsel Brian Moore and have what is certain to be a lively discussion on deregulation and other current issues. 

Safe travels and we look forward to seeing everyone in Tampa! 


Fall 2023 American School District Panel Survey Reports


Over the last few months, the reports from the American School District Panel (ASDP) Fall survey have been released. Every year districts across the U.S. (including in Florida), take part in the ASDP surveys led by the non-profit, non-partisan RAND Corporation. The ASDP gives voice to district leaders and school-based personnel, and the answers provided influence the educational investments of Foundations and are covered in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, The 74, Education Week, and other outlets.


The 3 reports based on the Fall 2023 findings, are now available on the ASDP Publications Page. The first report, Staffing, Budget, Politics, and Academic Recovery in Districts, finds that the teacher turnover rate was on par with the previous year but remained above the rate reported before the pandemic; and although staffing shortages have abated from pandemic highs, teacher shortages remain prevalent for substitutes and special education teachers. The second report, Using Artificial Intelligence Tools in K-12 Classrooms, examines how teachers are using AI tools and the district policies surrounding their use. Some key findings from this report include:


  • Middle and high school teachers, and those who taught English language arts or social studies, were more likely to be AI users.

  • The most common ways that teachers used AI tools were to adapt instructional content to fit the level of their students and to generate materials.

  • By the end of the 2023–2024 school year, 60 percent of districts plan to have trained teachers about AI use. Urban districts were the least likely to deliver such training.


The third report, School Was in Session This Summer, but Less Than Half of Eligible Students Enrolled, explores district programming in Summer 2023, both academic and non-academic offerings. A few of the main findings from this report are:


  • Eighty-one percent of districts offered summer programs in 2023, typically to both elementary and secondary grade levels.

  • Every urban district surveyed indicated offering programming in summer 2023, and these districts typically offered four or more summer programs.

  • Districts' largest summer programs were typically free of charge, ran for four weeks, offered about four hours of academic instruction per day, and hired district teachers for at least some, if not all, of academic instruction.

  • However, districts' largest summer programs typically enrolled less than half of eligible students. This was true regardless of whether programs had eligibility restrictions.


Full e-books are freely downloadable at the links above which contain a wealth of data, the methodologies of the research, as well as references for further reading. Reports related to the survey conducted this Spring (thank you to all our districts that took part) will be available later this year. 

Third Annual Lieutenant Governor’s Space Art Contest

The Third Annual Lieutenant Governor’s Space Art Contest is an education initiative designed to encourage interest in Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). This year’s theme – Suit Up! Florida’s Space Suit of the Future – gives students creative control to engineer the space suit of tomorrow. “I am excited to see the innovative and futuristic designs our young artists will bring to life.” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez.

The contest is open to students in Grades K-5 and the submission deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2024. Contest guidelines and entry form can be found HERE.

Thank you to FADSS

2023 - 2024 Annual Business Partners

Download the FADSS 2023-2024 Annual Business Partner Directory HERE
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