Florida education news: School security, civic literacy, taxes and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Pinellas County Sheriff
Pinellas County Sheriff
Published March 21, 2018

SCHOOL SECURITY: Florida lawmakers' plan to have at least one armed officer at every public school in the state is running into reality. School and law enforcement officials in the Tampa Bay area say they need millions more dollars than the state is providing to make it happen. In Pinellas County alone, the cost is approaching $24 million, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. Hillsborough County leaders project spending upwards of $26 million. • Charter schools are part of the equation, too, with one large provider already asking for its share. • Bay County deputies participate in a school active shooter drill, the Panama City News Herald reports. • The Alachua County School Board votes to opt out of the school "guardian" program, WJXT reports.

SHOOTING AFTERMATH: Gov. Rick Scott offers to send Florida Highway Patrol officers to help secure Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after a deputy assigned to the school is found asleep on the job the same day as several student arrests at the campus. More from the Sun-Sentinel. • Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri will lead the state investigation into what happened leading to and through the massacre. • The Broward County School Board takes steps to replace the building shot up in the incident, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

CIVICS: The Constitution Revision Commission advances a proposal that would enshrine civic literacy as a fundamental education value in the state constitution.

TAXES: Manatee County voters narrowly approve a new local property tax to support teacher and bus driver salaries, the Bradenton Herald reports. • Sarasota County voters renew the district's local-option property tax by its widest margin ever, the Herald-Tribune reports.  • The Martin County school district prepares to ask its voters to support a local property tax increase, TC Palm reports.

WALKOUTS: The Citrus County School Board supports the administration's decision to ban student walkouts despite complaints, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

AFTER THE STORM: New rules could change the way Florida schools are reimbursed for hurricane shelter activities, Florida Today reports.

REVOLVING DOORS: A principal who resigned his Nassau County job after admitting to taking money from his school lands a new private school post, WJXT reports.

STUDENT TRANSPORTATION: The Santa Rosa County school district will get a fleet of new buses, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE: A Marion County middle school teacher is reprimanded for comparing a black student to a monkey, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. • A Leon County principal resigns while under investigation for accusations he inappropriately touched female employees, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

TODAY: Florida Constitution Revision Commission full session, 9 a.m. (Items on special order include P4 Blaine Amendment, P43 school board term limits and P71 charter school authorizers).