Monday, October 15, 2018

Florida education news: Rebuilding plans, election campaigns, helping hands and more

REBUILDING: The Hillsborough County school district makes plans to rebuild a community elementary school gutted by fire a year ago. District officials negotiated full insurance coverage for the project.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: The Pasco County school employees union decides not to endorse candidates for School Board. • The campaign for a Hillsborough County schools sales tax referendum receives more donations, but less money, than a transportation tax effort. • Manatee County voters will decide whether to elect School Board members into single-member districts or at-large, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Orange County school district officials say organizers of a rally favoring Amendment 4 deceived them in order to gain access to a school, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

GIVING BACK: Students at Pasco County's Achieve Center, for children with emotional and behavior challenges, create and operate a food pantry as a class project.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A former treasurer of a Collier County charter school founded by prominent local politicians alleges the school's leadership had lax oversight of finances, creating an environment for possible fraud, the Naples Daily News reports. Rep. Byron Donalds, one of the founders, says he is considering filing a bill to add more accountability measures for charters, the Naples Daily News reports.

EARLY EDUCATION: Children in Florida's prekindergarten program are projected to fare worse on kindergarten readiness assessments as funding remains flat, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • A Collier County foundation dedicates funds to preschool programs in impoverished communities and sees improving achievement, the Hechinger Report reports.

IN COURT: An Okaloosa County family sues the school district in federal court, alleging a pattern of abuse against students with disabilities, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • Leon County schools spend about $500,000 a year on lawsuits, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

TEACHER PAY: Martin County teachers receive pay raises after voters approve a tax increase to fund the amount, Florida Phoenix reports.

DOCUMENT DISPUTE: The Bay County health department denies allegations by the school district that its employees improperly removed student health documents from schools, My Panhandle reports.

GETTING HOME: A Polk County 6-year-old hitchhikes home after his school bus drops him off at the wrong stop more than a mile from home, WFLA reports. The driver is placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

"IN GOD WE TRUST": Lake County schools follow the state's new mandate to post the state motto prominently in schools by displaying the state seal, the Daily Commercial reports.

NUTRITION LESSONS: The Marion County hospital district will fund greenhouses in all seven county high schools, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

ACHIEVEMENT GAP: Sarasota County black students continue to underperform compared to others, despite three years of efforts to close the gap, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ART LESSONS: Southwest Florida art teachers gather at Ringling College for new ideas to use in their classrooms, the Herald-Tribune reports.

AUDIT REPORT: Leon County's former schools superintendent refuses to take the blame for critical findings in a recent state audit, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

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Amendment 8 ballot language was ‘defective,’ Florida Supreme Court rules

Amendment 8 ballot language was ‘defective,’ Florida Supreme Court rules

The Florida Supreme Court removed Amendment 8 from the November 6 ballot because it failed to inform voters of its true purpose, the court stated in its opinion on the matter, released Monday."That the ballot summary is unclear is best demonstrated b...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Scholarship letters begin circulating for bullied Florida students

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Fifteen days after their official launch, Florida's new tax credit scholarships for students who claim being bullied in public school have begun being offered.Families that report any of 13 types of incidents, as outlined in law, are gettin...
Updated: 5 hours ago
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When do Florida schools take buses off the roads?

35 miles per hour.That's the wind speed at which the Florida Department of Education has recommended school districts start pulling buses off the road, for safety's sake.The department sent the message to districts as Hurricane Michael churned n...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Florida education news: Union leaders, hurricane recovery, superintendent reviews and more

Florida education news: Union leaders, hurricane recovery, superintendent reviews and more

UNION LEADERS: Florida Education Association delegates ousted union president Joanne McCall in favor of challenger Fed Ingram, who had been vice president. Ingram's arguments that the group should be more aggressive in its push against the Repub...
Published: 10/15/18
Florida Education Association elects new leadership

Florida Education Association elects new leadership

Frustrated by three years of failed attempts to fight legislative actions deemed unfriendly to teachers, Florida Education Association members on Friday ousted the group's leadership team in favor of challengers who pledged to "rebuild our power...
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ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Oct. 7, 2018

ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Oct. 7, 2018

With elections less than a month off, Floridians have focused attention on who will be the people setting education policy for the next two or four years. They’re homing in on policy positions such as teacher pay, tax rates and school safety, a...
Published: 10/13/18
It’s been a tough few years for Florida teachers. Will a new union leader shake things up?

It’s been a tough few years for Florida teachers. Will a new union leader shake things up?

Top education leaders have spent years pleading, lobbying and rallying at the state capitol, but Tallahassee lawmakers keep making life harder and harder for Florida's public school teachers.The Florida Education Association advocates for the state's...
Published: 10/12/18
Class size concerns rise in Pasco County schools

Class size concerns rise in Pasco County schools

Reacting to cramped and crowded classrooms, a Fivay High School student created a 5-minute video depicting the situation and urging Pasco County communities to "take action."The video, which aired in the school news report and is posted on the school...
Published: 10/12/18
Florida education news: Teacher pay, school security, storm damage and more

Florida education news: Teacher pay, school security, storm damage and more

TEACHER PAY: State Sen. Kevin Rader says he will refile his bill to set Florida minimum teacher pay at $50,000. It's a key piece of Democrat Andrew Gillum's education platform in his campaign for governor. Rader predicts if Gillum wins, the meas...
Published: 10/12/18
Gradebook podcast: Active shooter drills and class size – when Florida law confuses

Gradebook podcast: Active shooter drills and class size – when Florida law confuses

It's a quarter of the way through Florida's school year, and some schools continue to grapple with implementation of two key requirements, one new and one old.Leaders remain uncertain of exactly how often to run active shooter drills, required by the...
Published: 10/11/18