Florida education news: Charter schools, teacher bonuses, lottery funds and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis makes an education announcement at Calvary Christian Academy in Orlando on Feb. 15, 2019. [WKMG live screen grab]
Gov. Ron DeSantis makes an education announcement at Calvary Christian Academy in Orlando on Feb. 15, 2019. [WKMG live screen grab]
Published March 19

CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Florida House introduces another bill aimed at advancing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ school choice agenda. This one would expand the “Hope” charter school program introduced by the Legislature two years ago. It’s significantly different from a similar measure in the Senate. Both are scheduled to be heard in committee today.

BONUSES: An administrative law judge finds the state’s Best and Brightest bonuses are for current K-12 classroom teachers only, and other educators are not eligible.

PRESIDENTIAL PICKS: A University of South Florida committee selects four finalists to become the school’s next president.

KINDERGARTEN READINESS: Only about half of five-year-olds enter Hillsborough County kindergarten programs prepared for the material. District officials want to improve that rate.

LOTTERY FUNDS: Legislation to prohibit online lottery ticket sales could cost Florida education as much as $235 million, Florida Politics reports.

LANGUAGE LESSONS: A Miami elementary school paved the way for the national trend toward dual language immersion education, Remezcla reports.

CONSTRUCTION FUNDS: The Florida House prepares to consider major changes to the way higher education funds are spent, including on construction projects, the News Service of Florida reports. • The Duval County school district faces a $1.95 billion backlog in repairing or replacing aging schools, the Florida Times-Union reports. • An audit finds the Broward County school district misspent $20 million in impact fees to repay old debts rather than completing classroom projects, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

DO NOT HIRE: Florida lawmakers will consider creating a list of disqualified teachers who have been involved in serious disciplinary actions, Florida Phoenix reports.

POLITICAL PRIORITIES: Two Polk County School Board members tell local Democrats of the need to reduce unfunded mandates placed upon schools, the Ledger reports.

TODAY: Florida Board of Education, 9 a.m., Tallahassee (On the agenda: A rule to lower the retake fees for teacher certification exams, updates to progress on three executive orders) • Senate Education Appropriations, 10 a.m. (On the agenda: SB 7070 education omnibus, budget proposal) • House PreK-12 Innovation, 12 p.m. (On the agenda: Committee bill on charter schools and choice) • House PreK-12 Quality, 3:30 p.m. • House Higher Education Appropriations, 3:30 p.m. • Senate Education, 4 p.m. (On the agenda: Bills relating to alternative high school graduation requirements, charter school rules, and civics education, among others)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

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