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Florida education news: Funding, contract talks, lunch money and more

A roundup of education news from across the state.

FUNDING: Florida's constitution clearly bans the use of public funds to aid religious institutions, including sectarian schools. The language has prevented the widespread use of education vouchers,but some programs including voluntary prekindergarten and McKay Scholarships have slid by. Now State Board of Education chair Marva Johnson is proposing a constitutional amendment to make clear that state money can go to private religious schools. The final list of constitutional amendment proposals is expected Wednesday, the News Service of Florida reports.

LABOR NEWS: Hillsborough County teachers picket to agitate for promised raises. • The United School Employees of Pasco seeks a 2.75 percent raise for noninstructional staff.

TURNAROUNDS: Pasco County school district leaders unveil more details about their proposal to convert Ridgewood High to a magnet technical school.Along with the plan would come a new method of redrawing attendance zones.

TOP HONORS: A Manatee County guidance counselor is named Florida School Counselor of the Year, the Bradenton Herald reports.

SCHOOL VIOLENCE: A Miami-Dade County middle school student is hospitalized after a campus fight, the second such incident in a week, the Miami Herald reports.

EAT UP: Lake County students who forget their lunch money will be able to charge a meal and repay it the next day, a change of district policy, the Daily Commercial reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Applicants to open a new Sarasota County charter school withdraw amid questions about their finances and academic plans, the Herald-Tribune reports.

BOOK BAN: Dixie County's superintendent bans "A Lesson Before Dying" after a parent complains the novel contains inappropriate language, the Gainesville Sun reports.