Florida education news: Budgets, protests, textbooks and more

A roundup of education news from around the state.
Gov. Rick Scott introduces his 2018-19 budget, including what he calls 'record funding' for education. [The Florida Channel]
Gov. Rick Scott introduces his 2018-19 budget, including what he calls 'record funding' for education. [The Florida Channel]
Published Nov. 15, 2017

BUDGETS: Since his first year in office, when he proposed a $1.3 billion cut to education, Gov. Rick Scott has called for more money for public schooling. For his final proposal as governor, he called for "record funding" including a $200 per-student increase in K-12. But he did so relying on increasing property values to fund millions, a plan that gained no traction in the House in Scott's 2017-18 effort. Critics have panned the proposal as electioneering. "We are confident that together with the Governor and Senate we can produce a budget that cuts taxes, imposes accountability and transparency and ensures the future fiscal health of the state," Speaker Richard Corcoran said.

PAY PROTEST: Hundreds of Hillsborough County teachers flood their School Board meeting to complain about the district's decision not to pay promised raises.

FUND RAISING: St. Petersburg High alumni collect money to help their school pay for needed athletic facility upgrades.

TEXTBOOK CHALLENGE: A Nassau County resident complains about the school district's science materials that teach evolution, under the state's new textbook challenge law.

HB 7069: Nine school districts ask the Florida Supreme Court to immediately halt implementation of the controversial law adopted in the 2017 legislative session, the News Service of Florida reports. "Waiting for a trial court determination and its subsequent appellate review will allow irreversible damage to the function of the public education system to occur throughout the state of Florida," the lawsuit said. • Separately, the Collier County School Board voted to join a constitutional challenge of the law making its way through Leon County court, the Naples Daily News reports.

ATTENDANCE MAPS: Facing parental backlash, the Brevard County School Board tables plans to rezone hundreds of students out of Melbourne High, Florida Today reports.

TAX REFERENDA: The Okaloosa County School Board cancels a planned sales tax ballot initiative amid multiple investigations into other district activities, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. "Of course we need the money desperately, but I'm not sure it was going to pass," board member Dewey Destin said. "There is just too much controversy."  • The Manatee County School Board decides how it would spend revenue generated by a property tax increase, if voters approve, the Herald-Tribune reports.

FREE SPEECH: A Collier County teacher faces disciplinary action over his inflammatory Facebook posts, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

COURTESY RIDES: The Manatee County School Board sticks with its plan to eliminate bus rides to children living closer than 2 miles from Anna Maria Elementary, the Bradenton Herald reports.

BANKING WOES: A computer glitch causes long delays in the reconciliation of Manatee County school district bank accounts, the Bradenton Herald reports.

PLAY TIME: The Bay County school district enters a joint use agreement allowing more public access to an elementary school playground during off hours, the Panama City News Herald reports.

LEADERSHIP: Hoping for greater influence, the Miami-Dade School Board selects a new chairwoman with closer ties to lawmakers, the Miami Herald reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: The Lee County School Board debates the best size for future campuses, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

NO STRINGS: A Broward County elementary school's PTA fund raiser breaks the law when it releases balloons with strings tied to them, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

LABOR NEWS: Santa Rosa teachers and the district reach a tentative contract deal, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

IN COURT: A family sues the Leon County school district, saying their child tripped on an uneven sidewalk at a school, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

BAD ACTS: The principal of Coleman Middle in Tampa is arrested on child abuse charges. • A former Palm Beach County teacher loses his license over inappropriate comments to a student, the Palm Beach Post reports.

TODAY IN TALLAHASSEE: House PreK-12 Innovation, 10:30 a.m.; Senate PreK-12 Appropriations, 1 p.m.; House PreK-12 Quality, 3 p.m.