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Florida education news: Scholarships, taxes, security and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
State Rep. Byron Donalds introduces the Florida House "Hope Scholarship" concept during an October 2017 news conference. [The Florida Channel]
State Rep. Byron Donalds introduces the Florida House "Hope Scholarship" concept during an October 2017 news conference. [The Florida Channel]
Published Sep. 24, 2018

SCHOLARSHIPS: Several weeks into the school year, Florida's newest student scholarships are getting closer to reality. More than 2,700 children have applied for a Reading Scholarship, while car dealers will be allowed to start offering tax credits for supporting the "Hope" Scholarship on Oct. 1.

TAXES: The Hillsborough County school district releases its list of projects that a sales tax increase would pay for, if voters approve. Every school in the county is on the list. • The Palm Beach County school district's property tax rate has declined 20 percent in seven years, as lawmakers kept cutting the required local effort, the Palm Beach Post reports. The district is now asking voters to boost the tax rate themselves. • Alachua County school district leaders explain why they are asking voters to increase the local sales tax for school construction and maintenance projects, the Gainesville Sun reports.

SECURITY: Tampa Bay area school districts seek better ways to prepare students for emergencies without creating too much fear. • Bay County school officials explore different ways to make buildings more secure, the Panama City News Herald reports. • Sarasota County school guards work to do more than just stand guard, the Herald-Tribune reports.

PRINCIPALS: The principal of Pasco Middle School is removed amid sinking staff morale.

IREADY: A growing number of Florida parents question the value of the iReady software program as it expands into more schools in the state, the Herald-Tribune reports. IReady is supposed to help evaluate children's understanding of state standards.

JOB OPENINGS: Manatee County schools continue to struggle to fill their teaching positions, despite having increased salaries, the Bradenton Herald reports.

CAREER EDUCATION: Both major party candidates for Florida governor agree on the need to grow vocational and technical school programs, WFSU reports.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE: A record number of Collier County students are being referred to disciplinary programs, raising concerns among some civil rights activists, the Naples Daily News reports. • State mental health watchdogs contend schools use the Baker Act too liberally, the St. Augustine Record reports.

SAVE OUR POOL: The Martin County School Board decides against shutting down a high school swimming pool complex, TC Palm reports.

TURNAROUNDS: Only a small number of students choose to leave a Volusia County elementary school that received three consecutive D grades from the state, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Parents at a struggling Marion County elementary school prefer bringing in an outside operator if test results don't improve, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

TEACHER SUPPORT: A new study that included Miami-Dade and Polk county teachers suggests mentoring new teachers can help them better engage students, Education Week reports.

GROWTH: Volusia County school district leaders assure parents of a steadily growing community that their elementary school will not close any time soon, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

TEACHER DISCIPLINE: A Santa Rosa County teacher is suspended for a year over stealing prescription pills from another teacher, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • A Duval County music teacher's certification is revoked over sexual innuendo toward students, the Florida Times-Union reports.

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