NO TAX CUT FOR SCHOOLS: School district leaders never liked candidate Charlie Crist's idea of reducing their tax revenue by offering homeowners a second homestead exemption. Schools need the money, they contended. Now governor, Crist agrees. "I'm an education advocate," he explained Wednesday. "I'd rather not see their funding be reduced."
SUMMER STAYS LONGER: Those same school district leaders couldn't convince lawmakers to give them some more flexibility on when to start classes each fall. A Senate committee killed a bill that would have let a school board supermajority begin the school year earlier than two weeks before Labor Day, the Associated Press reports. Lawmakers ordered the later start dates just last year, contending districts were eating up summer as they inched closer to July for the first day of classes. The tourism industry backed that initiative.
EXPLORING OPTIONS FOR GIFTED KIDS: Hernando County school officials visited Sarasota County's acclaimed Pine View School for gifted students, hoping to get some ideas for a magnet school of their own. Board member Jim Malcolm has advocated doing more for the high achievers for years.
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF THE LUNSFORD ACT: The Pasco County school district has $18,000 set aside for dental services for poor students. It hasn't spent a dime of it. Not that there aren't needy children. There just aren't dentists willing to pay for background checks required by the Jessica Lunsford Act, which aims to keep sexual offenders away from school children.
SAME-SEX CLASSES FOR HERNANDO: A Hernando County elementary school wins approval to try educating youngsters in single-gender classrooms. It's the second county in the Tampa Bay area to launch the program.
WILL THEY HAVE TO CLIMB THE ROPE? There's a move afoot to bring daily P.E. classes back to elementary schools, the Palm Beach Post reports.
CHILL OUT, KIDS: Overachieving high school students need to relax and quit pushing themselves so hard. That's the message at several schools in the northeast, where the race to Harvard and the like can get vicious, the Washington Post reports. "We're trying to change the atmosphere so that people understand it's better to have a well-balanced student going to a 'good-fit' college, as opposed to a neurotic going to an Ivy League school," explained Fran Landau, counseling director for one of the schools.