The Charlotte County Public School Board will present key issues to local lawmakers during the legislative delegation meeting today.

The delegation for Charlotte County is: Sen. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota), Sen. Ben Albritton (R-Wauchula), and Rep. Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte).

“Compared to prior years, we’re limiting what we’re taking to the legislature,” said School Board chairman Bob Segur, adding he hopes this will make the district more likely to get what it wants.

Here are the issues the district is presenting to the Legislature for 2019:

Funding for secure and safe schools:

After Parkland, the school district wants to focus on dealing with issues before they become something major. The district refers to this as “soft safety.” The district believes the key is flexibility with its spending, while still maintaining the requirements of at least one armed officer in each school. Last year, the district was given a set budget to use for school resource officers and a set budget for the guardian program. The designation of how they used these dollars left the school resource officer underfunded and the guardian program over-funded. The district wants to combine those two budgets, thus allowing greater spending flexibility.

Re-employment of certain personnel:

After district employees retire, the current law states that if they are re-employed in the district within 12 months, they will receive a Florida Retirement System pension penalty. The district wants to change this, so employees will be allowed to re-enter the district after one month.

Enhancing workforce programs:

The district is among those in Florida asking lawmakers to restore Workforce Education Funding to 2007 levels. According to the Florida Department of Education, funding for workforce programs since that year has fallen from $411 million to $278 million. Charlotte’s request includes $1.75 million in matching funds for an Airframe Power Plant Mechanic program to support the growing aviation industry in Florida. Segur said there is “substantial employment opportunity for young people that can get certified [in aviation].” He said the board is “anxious to do as much as we can with career training.”

The Charlotte County legislative delegation meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday at Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association, 2001 Shreve St.

Other groups and government representatives will be there to present their issues to the Legislature.

The meeting will have a Q&A format, in which the representative will have a few minutes each to answer any questions the Legislature may have about the issues presented.


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