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BPS responds to Gov. Scott’s school-security plan


VIERA, Florida - Brevard Public Schools applauded Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to listen to students and educators in forming his plan to keep campuses safe.

“Our schools are still vulnerable,” Superintendent Desmond Blackburn said. “The governor’s proposals are serious ones that match what our students and staff say they need to be safe. We would embrace the challenge of making his ideas work.”

On the Space Coast and during visits with lawmakers, BPS students have called for professional mental-health services on campus, training on how to survive active shooters, more security ‘hardening’ of school buildings, and measures to keep guns away from mentally unstable people. All of those measures appear in the $500 million plan Scott proposed Friday in response to the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at a Broward County high school that killed 17.

BPS already has taken significant steps to improve the security of its students and employees:

  • Hiring the Brevard Sheriff’s Office to manage school security.  Deputies respond instantly – and frequently -- to any reported threat to school safety, including threats made in social media. They also assist principals with “lockdown” drills.
  • Providing armed police resource officers to all high schools and middle schools across the Space Coast under contracts with cities and the sheriff. Several cities including Titusville, Rockledge and Satellite Beach assign police officers to elementary schools.
  • Accelerating the installation of high-quality security fencing, remote-controlled entrance locks and video cameras at all schools with a goal of completion by April 2018.
  • Publicizing a frequently used anonymous hotline -- 800-423-TIPS (8477) -- where tipsters can report threatening behavior to the Sheriff’s Office. 

Blackburn was among the school leaders invited to Tallahassee by Gov. Scott to an emergency workshop on security Feb. 20. He and the Brevard County school board have worked recently to elevate student voices on security-related issues.

One week before the shooting (Feb. 8), BPS drove 16 high school student-government presidents to the Florida Capitol, where they advocated for state funding for professional mental-health services on campuses. Travel was sponsored by Parrish Health Network.

On Friday (Feb. 23), state Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, met with students at Astronaut High School in Titusville to hear their thoughts on school-security and gun bills on which he was expected to vote the following week.

Students at Titusville High, Heritage High and several other secondary schools have staged or planned peaceful “walk outs” to demand precautions against further school violence.

What’s next: Brevard Public School leaders continue to assess campus security with the Brevard Sheriff’s Office. The school board will respond as fast as possible to any laws passed by the Legislature.


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Brevard Public Schools Earns 64 Five Star School Awards

The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) selected 64 Brevard County schools as recipients of the 2016-2017 Five Star School Award. The recognition is given to schools that have shown evidence of exemplary community involvement.
“It is an honor to recognize these schools with the Five Star Award,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “As a former teacher and principal, I have seen firsthand the positive impact family and community involvement can have on the lives of students. I commend our state’s parents, guardians and community members for going above and beyond for Florida’s students and the schools for encouraging parent and community involvement.”
Seventy-eight percent of the district’s schools earned the award by meeting prerequisites in five categories: business partnerships, family involvement, volunteerism, student community service and school advisory councils. Schools are also required to have at least a “C” grade or an improvement rating of “maintaining or improving,” for the year of nomination.
The award was created by the FLDOE Commissioner's Community Involvement Council. It was established to recognize that community involvement is fundamental to student success.
“We have a wonderful school community that celebrates student achievement and rewards academic excellence,” said John Harris, principal of Heritage High. “The Five Star Award is a marvelous way for our students, staff and community to receive recognition for creating a positive school culture and climate for all students.”
To meet business partnership criteria, partners must work with the school to plan activities and remain involved in recurring events. These partners also help develop and implement the School Improvement Plan (SIP), and donate goods, services and financial resources.
Volunteerism requirements dictate that schools need to provide volunteer program training to at least 80 percent of the staff, appoint and train a volunteer coordinator and recognize school helpers. They are also obligated to accrue volunteer hours equaling at least twice the amount of the school’s enrolled students.
The student community service category includes providing students with service-learning opportunities focused on identified community needs. Students must develop and implement a service project, and a minimum of 50 percent of the school’s enrollment must participate in it. 
We had more than 7,000 volunteer hours last year with nearly half of the hours coming from students,” said Bobby Pruett, principal of DeLaura Middle. “DeLaura is truly a community school with support from a variety of different areas and all stakeholders. We have a great partnership all in the name of helping our students.”
School Advisory Council criteria includes hosting at least eight council meetings each year with an average of 80 percent of the members in attendance. Furthermore, the council must present the SIP to the community and offer continuous skill development to members.
“Manatee Elementary has a collaborative relationship with the PTO, School Advisory Council and staff which uses its strong ties to the Brevard community to provide our school with the resources to create meaningful social-emotional programs that foster the importance of giving back,” said Shannon Daly, Manatee Elementary assistant principal. “Manatee Elementary is able to provide our students with a well-rounded learning experience that prepares them academically and establishes a foundation for future civic engagement.”
A few of the requirements for family involvement include maintaining an active parent organization and providing educational and support group opportunities for parents. Schools also must offer joint parent-student training for topics such as reading, financial aid and violence prevention. At least 60 percent of families must be positively involved in the school more than once a year, as well.
According to Saturn Elementary Principal Janice Rutherford, building strong family and community relationships contributed to her school’s success. “Even though the demographics of our community indicate that many families are struggling, they still highly value the education their children are receiving and support our school in all of our efforts,” Rutherford said. “We are extremely fortunate to have an involved and supportive community.”
Congratulations to the BPS Five Star Schools!
  • Hans Christian Anderson Elementary
  • Apollo Elementary School
  • Astronaut High School
  • Atlantis Elementary School
  • Bayside High School
  • Cambridge Elementary Magnet
  • Cape View Elementary School
  • Challenger 7 Elementary School
  • Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School
  • Cocoa High School
  • Dr. W.J. Creel Elementary School
  • Croton Elementary School
  • DeLaura Middle School
  • Discovery Elementary School
  • Eau Gallie High School
  • Edgewood Jr. Sr. High School
  • Enterprise Elementary School
  • Fairglen Elementary School
  • Freedom 7 Elementary of International Studies
  • Gemini Elementary School
  • Heritage High School
  • Holland Elementary School
  • Hoover Middle School
  • Imperial Estates Elementary
  • Indialantic Elementary School
  • Andrew Jackson Middle School
  • Jupiter Elementary School
  • John F. Kennedy Middle School
  • Lewis Carroll Elementary School
  • Longleaf Elementary School
  • James Madison Middle School
  • Manatee Elementary School
  • Crista McAuliffe Elementary
  • Meadowlane Intermediate Elementary School
  • Meadowlane Primary Elementary
  • Merritt Island High School
  • MILA Elementary School
  • Oak Park Elementary School
  • Ocean Breeze Elementary School
  • Palm Bay Magnet Senior High
  • Pinewood Elementary School
  • Port Malabar Elementary School
  • Quest Elementary School
  • Riviera Elementary School
  • Rockledge High School
  • Roy Allen Elementary School
  • Sabal Elementary School
  • Satellite High School
  • Saturn Elementary School
  • Sea Park Elementary School
  • Space Coast Jr./Sr. High School
  • R.L. Stevenson Elementary School of the Arts
  • Stone Magnet Middle School
  • Sunrise Elementary School
  • Suntree Elementary School
  • Surfside Elementary School
  • Titusville High School
  • Tropical Elementary School
  • John F. Turner Elementary
  • Viera High School
  • West Melbourne School for Science
  • Westshore Jr./Sr. High School
  • Westside Elementary School
  • Ralph M. Williams Jr. Elementary School
Additional Five Star School Award Information


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Florida Realtors Kicks Off ‘Amendment 2 is for Everybody’ Campaign
Florida Realtors, the state's largest professional trade association, officially kicked off its campaign to pass Amendment 2, which gives voters the chance to make a 10 percent cap on annual non-homestead property tax increases permanent. It will appear on the 2018 general election ballot.
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Florida Realtors® Launches Realtor Party Mobile Alert


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Condo Law Changes Went Into Effect July 1st


July 17, 2017 – There were several changes made to Chapter 718, the Florida Statute governing condominiums, and all went into effect on July 1, 2017.

While not exhaustive, below is a list of July 1 changes that you may come across in real estate deals:

  1. 718.111(12)(c)(1) – A unit renter has a right to inspect and copy the association's bylaws and rules.
  2. 718.111(12)(c)(3)(g)(1) – by July 1, 2018, an association with 150 or more units (which does not manage timeshare units) must post digital copies of the required documents on its website.
  3. 718.116(8) – The association must issue an estoppel certificate within 10 business days of receipt of a written or electronic request for said certificate.
  4. 718.116(8)(a) – Any condominium estoppel certificate must contain specific assessment information, such as the regular periodic assessment and frequency; an itemized list of all assessments, special assessments and other moneys scheduled to become due; if there is a capital contribution fee, resale fee or other fee due and what the amount is; if there is a right of first refusal provided to the association or the members; and contact information for all insurance maintained by the association, amongst other things.
  5. 718.116(8)(b) – The estoppel certificate (sent via hand delivery or electronically) has a 30-day effective period (35-days if sent by regular mail).
  6. 718.116(8)(d) – If a requested estoppel certificate is not delivered within 10 business days, a fee may not be charged for the preparation and delivery of that estoppel letter.
  7. 718.116(8)(f) – The association may charge a reasonable fee for preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate that may not exceed $250.00; if the certificate is requested on an expedited basis and delivered within 3 business days after the request, however, the association may charge an additional $150.00; an additional fee of up to $150.00 may also be charged for an estoppel certificate on a unit if a delinquent amount is owed.

The Florida Legislature also added other new condominium association rules this year. If a unit owner is denied docs and fraud can be proved, for example, it could be a felony; and board director terms are now limited to eight years with a few exceptions.

For complete info on July 1 condo law changes, refer to the bill, HB 1237, which Gov. Scott signed on June 26.


Governor Rick Scott Signs 28 Bills Into Law

June 14, 2017-Governor Rick Scott signed the following bills into law:
CS/HB 339
Motor Vehicle Service Agreement Companies - This bill requires motor vehicle service agreement companies to maintain $15 million in assets.
HB 371
Assistive Technology Devices - This bill allows students to take home their assistive technology devices.
CS/CS/HB 377
Limitations on Actions other than for the Recovery of Real Property - This bill clarifies the statute of repose by defining the date of completion for certain contracted services.
HB 379
Underground Facilities - This bill expands the reporting requirements for underground facility operators.
CS/CS/HB 397
Public Records/ Victim of Alleged Sexual Harassment/ Identifying Information - This bill creates a public records exemption for identifying information of state employees who file sexual harassment complaints.
CS/CS/HB 421
Public Housing Authority Insurance - This bill allows a business owned by public housing authorities to join a self-insurance fund.
CS/CS/HB 455
Tax Exemptions for First Responders and Surviving Spouses - This bill creates a property tax exemption for first responders permanently disabled in the line of duty and the surviving spouse of first responders killed in the line of duty.
CS/CS/HB 465
Firefighters - This bill creates a Lifetime Firefighter designation for firefighters and volunteer firefighters.
CS/HB 477
Controlled Substances - This bill creates new and enhances current penalties relating to synthetic opioid drugs, including fentanyl and its derivatives.
CS/HB 493
Enhanced Safety for School Crossings - This bill directs the Florida Department of Transportation to study the viability and cost of creating a state-wide system for the designation of safe school crossing locations.
CS/CS/HB 501
Public Records and Meetings/ Information Technology/Postsecondary Education Institutions - This bill protects IT security information at public colleges and universities.
CS/HB 505
Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act - This bill removes a substance with a medically accepted use from the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.
CS/CS/HB 573
Water Protection and Sustainability - This bill creates the “Heartland Headwaters Protection and Sustainability Act” and requires the Polk County Regional Water Cooperative to provide an annual report on local projects and conservation efforts.
CS/HB 577
Discount Plan Organizations - This bill streamlines the regulation of Discount Plans and Discount Plan Organizations
CS/CS/HB 599
Public Works Projects - This bill prevents state and local governments from imposing specified restrictions on contracts for public works projects funded 50 percent or more by the state.
HB 1203
Public Records/ Department of Corrections/ Health Information - This bill enhances the protections of inmate health and medical information.
HB 7091
Probation and Community Control - This bill enhances public safety by improving Florida’s community supervision laws.
CS/SB 164
Certificates of Title for Motor Vehicles - This bill eliminates the fee on car titles issued to remove the name of a deceased co-owner to a surviving spouse.
SB 256
Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching - This bill saves the Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching from repeal.
CS/SB 312
Eyewitness Identification - This bill provides guidelines for law enforcement agencies to follow when conducting photo and in-person lineups.
CS/CS/SB 368
Transportation Facility Designations - This bill makes 50 honorary designations of Florida transportation facilities, including “Lieutenant Debra Clayton Memorial Highway” and “First Class Deputy Normal Lewis Memorial Highway.”
CS/SB 396
Student Loan Debt - This bill requires colleges and universities to provide students with financial information about their student loans annually.
Estoppel Certificates - This bill provides fee caps and revises requirements for the issuance and expiration of estoppel certificates for condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations.
CS/CS/SB 800
Medication Synchronization - This bill requires health insurers and HMOs to allow patients to align refill dates of prescription medication.
CS/CS/SB 1018
Pollution - This bill requires public notification within 24 hours of pollution incidents and provides additional resources for pollution prevention and recovery.
CS/SB 1108
Public Records /Firefighters and their Spouses and Children - This bill extends the public record exemption for personal identifying information of firefighters and their spouses and children to former firefighters, their spouses and children.
CS/SB 1634
Residential Elevators - This bill enhances the safety standards of residential elevators.
CS/CS/SB 1672
Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority - This bill renames the organization, streamlines its structure, and changes its mission to focus on regional transit challenges and opportunities in the Tampa Bay area.
To view the transmittal letters, click here


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