Florida education news: Teacher contracts, graduation rates, Bible lessons and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association president Mike Gandolfo at a February 2018 rally opposing HB 7055. [Jeffrey S. Solochek]
Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association president Mike Gandolfo at a February 2018 rally opposing HB 7055. [Jeffrey S. Solochek]
Published January 10
Updated January 10

TEACHER CONTRACTS: The Pinellas County Classroom Teachers Association reaches a tentative deal on pay and improved working conditions after months of back and forth.

GRADUATION RATES: Hoping to offer teens additional opportunities to successfully complete high school, Florida lawmakers continue to seek "alternative pathways" to a diploma. • Clay County's superintendent offers insights into how his district rate has steadily risen over several years, Clay Today reports.

GENDER ISSUES: Many Florida LGBTQ youth say they feel harassed, victimized and discriminated against in their schools, with little support from adults, according to a new survey.

BIBLE STUDY: State Rep. Kim Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat who runs a Christian ministry, files legislation to require all Florida public high schools to offer elective Bible courses, Florida Politics reports. Daniels passed a law requiring all schools to prominently post "In God We Trust" during 2018.

SCHOOL SECURITY: A Palm Beach County middle school gets extra law enforcement presence after receiving an online threat of violence, WPTV reports. • The Lake County school district hires security for two privately run alternative schools where district students attend, the Daily Commercial reports.

VAPING: Three Martin County students are hospitalized after becoming ill while vaping at school, TC Palm reports.

TEACHER SHORTAGE: Lake County schools expand their teacher recruitment efforts with midyear sessions on how to become a teacher for non educators, the Daily Commercial reports.

SUPERINTENDENT SWITCH: Heidi Meier, Marion County's final elected superintendent, may complete her elected term before the district moves to an appointed leader, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

COURTESY BUSING: Polk County School Board members discuss scaling back a proposal to eliminate all bus rides for students living 2 miles from school or closer, the Ledger reports.

BOARD POLITICS: The Palm Beach County School Board faces a touchy situation of whether to discipline its most veteran member for a breach of its own ethics guidelines, the Palm Beach Post reports.

MISUSE OF FUNDING: A Florida House committee finds the University of Central Florida conducted a multi-year strategy of improperly using leftover money from its construction budget, and is investigating legislative fixes, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION: A Manatee County charter school principal pleads his case before a state panel looking into whether he recommended an alleged sex offender for a teaching job in Sarasota County, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday's Florida education news roundup

TODAY: House PreK-12 Appropriations, 9 a.m. • House Higher Education, 9 a.m. • House PreK-12 Quality, 11 a.m. • House Higher Education Appropriations, 11 a.m.