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Florida education news: Budgets, hiring freeze, charter schools and more

BUDGETS: The Florida House and Senate approve their budgets with some key differences in student spending, PECO funding and other education areas.

GENDER GAP: Boys are falling behind girls in education achievement, and Tampa area officials are seeking solutions.

HIRING FREEZE: The Hernando school district pauses hiring to deal with a budget shortfall stemming from unexpectedly lower enrollment.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Three Pasco charter schools cope with changes that raise questions about their futures. • A bill to standardize charter school contracts continues to move through the Florida House, the Florida Current reports. • Another Palm Beach charter school faces closure for poor performance, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

GREEN THUMBS: Lacoochee Elementary students learn about gardening in an after-school club.

ONLINE EDUCATION: A Walton County family explores the pros and cons of virtual schooling, the Walton Sun reports.

FOR THE ARTS: Lake County educators advocate for music programs, saying the lessons help student with both achievement and creativity, the Leesburg Daily Commercial reports.

READING LESSONS: Florida teachers discuss the value of adding an hour of reading instruction to their school day, Education Week reports.

VOUCHERS: Florida House and Senate members have yet to find consensus on the role of testing in a proposed expansion of the state's voucher program, the News Service of Florida reports.

LABOR NEWS: The Orange County teachers union rejects the latest contract recommendations made by a special magistrate, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

WHAT NOT TO WEAR: A Broward School Board member suggests a dress code for parents visiting schools, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

CLASS SIZE: Marion officials say class size compliance could stretch their budget too far, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

EXPOSED: The Polk school district accidentally posts the Social Security numbers of 530 employees, the Ledger reports.