THE VALUE OF VOUCHERS: A state agency reports that private school vouchers save Florida millions of dollars, a conclusion that opponents including the state teachers union challenge.
PLAYING FOR THE PRESIDENT: The Pinellas Northeast High will perform at the Presidential Inauguration Music Festival. (Times photo, Willie J. Allen Jr.)
NEW PRINCIPAL: Alafia Elementary gets a new leader, who plans to meet tonight with parents - some of whom pushed for the ouster of the former principal.
NO GYM FOR A WHILE: Pipes burst beneath the floor at Pasco's Rushe Middle, causing about $500,000 in damage.
BUDGET REALITY HITS EMPLOYEE POCKETBOOKS: Pasco employees settle their contract with no raises as the School Board discusses millions of dollars worth of cuts. Martin teachers also get no raises but they will get a small one-time bonus, the Stuart News reports. Miami-Dade teachers meanwhile remain at impasse over their contract, the Miami Herald reports. And Leon teachers find it harder to use their own time and money to help their students, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
OTHER BUDGET NEWS: Florida government and school leaders begin talking in Tallahassee about how to avoid major classroom cuts, the Capitol News Service reports. Among the ideas: Ending school recognition funds and allowing districts to use capital project money for general operations. The Alachua School Board calls for cuts in all departments, the Gainesville Sun reports. A growing number of South Florida parents pull their children out of after-school programs to save money, the Miami Herald reports. Bay schools begin shedding teaching jobs, the Panama City News Herald reports. Duval tries to protect the classroom as it faces a $98-million shortfall, the Florida Times-Union reports.
CREATING A NO-FAIL ZONE: Volusia encourages an attitude of academic excellence in a high-poverty neighborhood, enlisting community members to motivate students to do well, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.
AROUND THE NATION: Montgomery County, Md., schools abandon the "gifted" label for students, calling the sorting arbitrary and unfair, the Washington Post reports. Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest school district, turns to an old hand as its new superintendent, the LA Times reports. Obama's pledge to spend $10-billion on early education has advocates excited, the NY Times reports.