Florida education news: Teacher contracts, school taxes, virtual education and more
APPROVED: The Pinellas School Board narrowly votes to implement new teacher planning periods. (Times photo, Lara Cerri)
A WINNING SPEECH: Fifth grader Melissa Milian was shy, quiet and didn't speak English just two years ago. This month, she bested Hillsborough's top talkers to make it to the finals of the county Tropicana speech contest.
TOP OF THE CLASS: Explorer K-8 art teacher opens her classroom for students each morning before classes • ESE inclusion class from Spring Hill Elementary puts on a musical • Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School valedictorian and salutatorian
SHREWD MOVE: Florida lawmakers have handed local school boards more control over their tax rates, and that's a good start toward more local control, the Stuart News editorializes. • The Brevard School Board becomes one of the first in Florida to take advantage of the new power, raising its tax rate by .25 mills, Florida Today reports.
MAKING PROGRESS: Broward schools are getting a little more equal, but a report shows that predominantly black schools still don't have the same resources as newer, more heavily white ones, the Miami Herald reports.
BUDGET NEWS: Don't touch the arts and don't propose raising taxes, either, the Lee School Board tells its superintendent, the Naples Daily News reports. • UF trustees approve $42 million in budget cuts, the Gainesville Sun reports. • Martin proposes trimming some specialist and administrative jobs as part of its budget cutting program, the Stuart News reports. • Orange cancels its plans to close six schools, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • Edison State College vows to find enough money to cover tuition costs for needy students (even as it increases tuition for others by 8 percent), the Fort Myers News-Press reports.
STILL FEUDING: Teachers and parents at a Palm Beach middle school continue to battle with their principal over the dismissal of four popular teachers, the Palm Beach Post reports.
GOING VIRTUAL: Charlotte schools continue to explore their options in meeting the state mandate to offer online courses to any student, the Charlotte Sun reports.
THAT'S SOME ATTABOY: FAMU gives president James Ammons a six-figure bonus, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
RICHBURG SEEKS REINSTATEMENT: The ousted Northwest Florida State College president claims he was dismissed without good cause, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.