It is late January in Tallahassee and that can only mean two things – the weather is colder and the legislative activity is heating up. Committees are discussing priority issues and key legislation has begun moving through the process. The actions of the Legislature are critical to our success in providing a safe, high-quality learning environment that promotes the welfare of students, staff, and the community. And unity, teamwork and communication among all 67 superintendents is fundamental to our success in confronting the myriad challenges before us in 2021.
I can assure you that FADSS is keeping diligent watch over filed bills and committee presentations, and you should all be receiving the weekly FADSS legislative update every Friday from FADSS General Counsel Brian Moore. Please be sure to take the time to review the legislative updates, share them with your leadership teams and reach out to FADSS if you have any questions.
FADSS staff are in constant contact with legislative staff to obtain information and provide insight on issues and proposed legislation, but legislators need to hear from their local superintendents. Over the next three months, I encourage each of you to take the time and make the effort to communicate regularly with your local delegation. Hearing your needs and concerns first-hand, and the impact of issues on your local community, is invaluable to providing legislators with the proper context and understanding of the issues they will decide upon. As you communicate with legislators, please keep FADSS apprised of any information or feedback you receive. The better informed FADSS is, the more effectively we can advocate on your behalf.
The COVID-19 challenge has had an unprecedented impact on the world, our local communities and us as individuals. It is incumbent upon us to continue to provide steady leadership and be a positive role model for our students, teachers, staff and our communities.
We all know that public schools are the bedrocks of every community. Nothing has proven or tested this more than the COVID-19 pandemic. School districts have been called on to provide services to children and their families that we would never have anticipated a year ago. Florida's families appreciate the tremendous sacrifice and dedication of district employees that have been the key to the successful reopening of schools. The positive impact of their sacrifice and dedication is immeasurable!
As we begin to navigate this New Year, with the end of the school year in sight, I am sure we will be called upon again to do more – perhaps with less. However I am confident that school districts will once again rise to meet this challenge head-on.
~ Bill Montford, FADSS CEO