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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

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Milk CAFETERIA PRICES SOAR: Chocolate milk is up 35 percent. Apples, 18 percent. Tomatoes, 68 percent. The rising costs have food and nutrition managers across the Tampa Bay region seeking alternatives to keep meals healthy without busting the bank. (NY Times photo)

WHAT ARE WE VOTING ON? On Jan. 29, Florida voters will consider Amendment 1, which would create statewide property tax changes that could impact education funding. Here's a Q&A on the amendment. That same day, Pinellas voters will consider whether to extend a local School Board property tax increase of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Here's a Q&A on that referendum.

CRONYISM (AGAIN) AT FAMU: They say it's who you know that can get you a job at Florida A&M. The latest case in point, Ronald Holmes, brother of powerful pastor and university trustee R.B. Holmes, snags the top job at FAMU's Developmental Research School despite not being the top-rated candidate.

KIDS' RIGHTS: When students become suspects on campus, the police officers assigned to schools don't always treat them like kids anymore. And many times, the interrogations don't follow the book.

SOFTENING THE PENALTY: The state's FCAT advisory panel talked about changing the rules for grading schools where the lowest performing students don't make enough gains, the Orlando Sentinel education blog reports. Members call it a modest change, and still have their eyes on bigger ones.

"SAD COMMENTARY": It speaks poorly of high school athletics when states, including Florida, feel the need to test athletes for steroids, Chicago Daily Herald columnist Jeff Long writes.

CONTRACT CLOSER: A special magistrate has wrapped up hearings over why Martin County teachers and the school board couldn't settle their contract terms, and is scheduled to issue a recommended order by the end of the month, the Stuart News reports.

MAKING MONEY: The Palm Beach school district pulls in a little extra income by stepping up the effort to lease schools to community groups when classes are out, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

AUDIT UNCOVERS ERRORS: The Duval school district had 28 findings of improper financial actions in the state's latest audit. The district's new superintendent agrees with the findings and agrees to fix them all, the Florida Times-Union reports.

TAKE A CLOSER LOOK: Here's another story from the "education might be bad, but not at our school" file - Before you label Lely High in Lee County a failure, or a dropout factory, talk to students and teachers who see a different picture, the Naples Daily News reports.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:32am]


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