TRY WATER INSTEAD: Hillsborough schools will remove all non-diet sodas from their vending machines, replacing them with juice, water and tea, as part of an effort to reduce childhood obesity.
ELECTION NEWS: Five candidates are vying for Pinellas School Board District 2, a countywide seat. Zachary Kurtz, a 19-year-old St. Petersburg College student, is inspired by his high school economics teacher to run for Largo City Council.
BOARD RACES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE NONPARTISAN: But a candidate for Lee School Board, who happens to be a registered Democrat, has been un-invited from a forum sponsored by the Republicans, the Naples Daily News reports.
AG TAKES A CLOSER LOOK: Florida's attorney general's office is looking into how children with autism are treated in public schools, a result of the St. Lucie case where a 5-year-old was voted out of his class by fellow students, the Port St. Lucie Tribune reports.
SUPPORTING THE ARTS: Alachua fund raisers are trying to collect $850,000 to prevent the school district from cutting art and music offerings, the Gainesville Sun reports. They raised less than one-tenth the amount by the superintendent's deadline, but aren't giving up.
PROGRAM FOR GIRLS IN JEOPARDY: Manatee's PACE Center for Girls needs $60,000 to keep its program for 8- to 11-year-olds who are struggling in school, the Bradenton Herald reports.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS HURTING, TOO: Low enrollment is forcing some private schools to retrench, with some closing down, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.
Visit the Gradebook at noon for an interview with Terry Aunchman, human resources supervisor for Pasco County schools, who talks about teacher recruiting in a tough economy.