Saturday, October 20, 2018

Florida education news: English language learners, school construction, campaign contributions and more

HURRICANE MICHAEL UPDATE: Schools in the Tampa Bay Times readership area — Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties — are scheduled to operate as usual as Hurricane Michael approaches the Panhandle. Schools further north have closed in anticipation of the storm and its effects, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Get the latest details from the National Hurricane Center.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: A new federal report shows Florida among the states with the highest number of students learning English, but it's not in the group of top achievers. The data comes from 2012-14.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: Revenue for Pasco County's local option sales tax outpaces projections, as the several school renovation projects it pays for progress on schedule.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: The candidates for Hillsborough County School Board District 1 draw several large contributors, while the race for the District 6 pales in comparison. • New campaign ads from the Democrats blast Gov. Rick Scott for his early cuts to education funding, Florida Politics reports.

IMPACT FEES: Questions arise over the state auditor's office assessment of how some Florida school districts use their impact fee revenue, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

SOFTWARE STRUGGLES: A troubled software update project continues to cost the Manatee County school district staff and money, the Bradenton Herald reports.

TEACHER PAY: The fate of Florida's Best and Brightest bonus program looms over the Volusia County school district's teacher contract negotiations, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

ON DEFENSE: A Marion County School Board member faces calls for her resignation over her social media comments about "whores destroying men," the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

VOLUNTEERS: The Polk County school district delays increasing the charge for volunteer background checks as it seeks a corporate sponsor to cover the cost, the Ledger reports.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: The cost to fully implement the Broward County school district's mental health action plan could reach $202 million, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

SECURITY: Parents at an Orange County school for children with disabilities are concerned it does not have a full-time officer assigned, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

BANNED: A candidate for Seminole County Commission is banned from working as a substitute teacher in county schools over comments made to students, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

BAD ACTS: A Pinellas County school resource officer retires amid an investigation into accusations that he sexually harassed a teacher.  • Police investigate threats from a Broward County teen that caused schools in Broward and Brevard counties to lock down, Florida Today reports. • A Charlotte County high school custodian is arrested on accusations of showing pornography to a student, WINK reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday's Florida education news in review

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ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Oct. 14, 2018

ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Oct. 14, 2018

Frustrated with a string of legislative losses, the Florida Education Association — the state’s largest teacher union — selected new leadership for the coming three years. New president Fed Ingram promised to “start winning ag...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Student who mangled fingers with school table saw sues Pinellas School Board

Student who mangled fingers with school table saw sues Pinellas School Board

A Northeast High School student who mangled his fingers using a table saw in class in 2016 is suing the Pinellas County School Board for negligence, asking for at least $15,000 in damages.According to a lawsuit filed Oct. 12, Brandon Jacob ...
Published: 10/19/18
State to designate Florida ‘Schools of Excellence’ for flexibility on some rules

State to designate Florida ‘Schools of Excellence’ for flexibility on some rules

Eighty-eight Florida schools will join 630 others in gaining relief from some state education laws as "Schools of Excellence."The recognition, developed by lawmakers in 2017 as part of HB 7069, grants principals greater autonomy in daily operations, ...
Published: 10/19/18
Florida education news: Campus climate, contract talks, student discipline and more

Florida education news: Campus climate, contract talks, student discipline and more

CLIMATE SURVEY: Large majorities of Pinellas County teachers say they feel valued and safe at their schools. District officials plan to break down these and other survey results by school, and use the information to make any needed improvements....
Published: 10/19/18
New survey shows most school staff in Pinellas feel valued, safe

New survey shows most school staff in Pinellas feel valued, safe

Pinellas County schools recently wrapped up a new type of survey which asked school-level staff to evaluate aspects about their workplace.The results show about 70 percent of the 3,952 respondents agree that they feel valued by the adm...
Published: 10/18/18
Pasco school employees ask for 4.5 percent raises plus a bonus

Pasco school employees ask for 4.5 percent raises plus a bonus

Contending the school district has more money available than it has discussed, the United School Employees of Pasco requested 4.5 percent raises plus a nonrecurring bonus for all its support personnel during negotiations Wednesday.A similar requ...
Published: 10/18/18
Gradebook podcast: Are 11th and 12th grades a waste of time? A discussion on dual enrollment and early college

Gradebook podcast: Are 11th and 12th grades a waste of time? A discussion on dual enrollment and early college

As a Florida state lawmaker, John Legg often spoke about how the final two years of high school were becoming less important to students who had already passed many of their graduation requirements and could benefit from better preparation for colleg...
Published: 10/18/18
Florida education news: Teacher pay, school threats, special education and more

Florida education news: Teacher pay, school threats, special education and more

TEACHER PAY: Pasco County's school employees union prepares to make a salary request that exceeds what district officials have said is available. The sides have delayed negotiations two months while awaiting updated financial information. •...
Published: 10/18/18
Pasco school district gets strong credit ratings for upcoming issue

Pasco school district gets strong credit ratings for upcoming issue

In advance of selling $67.5 million in certificates of participation, the Pasco County school district sent several high level officials to New York to pitch for a good credit rating.The effort paid off, chief finance officer Olga Swinson told t...
Published: 10/17/18
Pasco County school employee contract talks turn to salaries

Pasco County school employee contract talks turn to salaries

After a two month break while awaiting updated financial data, negotiators for Pasco County school employees and the district administration return to bargaining this week, with plans to start talking pay.The United School Employees of Pasco intends ...
Published: 10/17/18