Florida education news: Class size, school lunch, president search and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Kindergarten teacher Melissa Pizzo's 2012 class brimmed over the state cap, at 20 students.  The Pasco school district continues to deal with class size concerns. [Times | 2012]
Kindergarten teacher Melissa Pizzo's 2012 class brimmed over the state cap, at 20 students. The Pasco school district continues to deal with class size concerns. [Times | 2012]
Published January 15

CLASS SIZE: Though still small in overarching terms, Florida's class size violations increase in the fall 2018 student count — even as a growing number of districts take advantage of a loophole allowing them to use school-wide averages rather than class-by-class counts.

SCHOOL LUNCHES: The partial federal government shutdown is not yet affecting Florida students who receive free and reduced-price school meals, but officials have guaranteed the program only through February.

PRESIDENT SEARCH: The University of South Florida has received more than 30 applications for the school's president job.

PRINCIPAL SHIFTS: Hillsborough County's Smith Middle School prepares for a new leader. • Three Pasco County elementary schools will get new principals.  • Two Marion County schools get new leaders as one principal wins promotion to the district office, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

TAKING OVER: Okaloosa County's newly appointed superintendent steps in, and says he wants to bring the district back together for students' sake, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

TEACHER PAY: The Miami-Dade County School Board ratifies a new teacher contract that includes large annual supplements funded by a new voter-approved tax increase, WLRN reports.

ADMINISTRATOR PAY: Three Broward County school district administrators are poised to get raises to temporarily take on added duties for which two don't meet minimum requirements, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

SECURITY: U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Pinellas County Republican, takes steps to make it easier for schools to hire resource officers, WFTS reports. • Lee County leaders debate the value of marking classroom corners that might be safe from shooters, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

SCHOOL THREATS: The Lee County school district and Sheriff's Office launch a campaign to emphasize to parents and students that threatening a school — even if only a joke — carries legal consequences, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

SCHOOL NAMES: The Lake County School Board approves a request to rename Clermont Middle, the Daily Commercial reports.

TURNAROUNDS: A struggling Volusia County elementary school sees improvements in student academic performance as disciplinary referrals decline, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

TROUBLED CHARTER: Former teachers question the practices of a Duval County charter high school for teens at-risk of dropping out, the Florida Times-Union reports.

TEACHER DISCIPLINE: Two St. Johns County teachers are fined and placed on probation over alcohol-related incidents with students, WJAX reports.

BAD ACTS: A St. Lucie County school custodian is arrested over accusations he inappropriately touched a student, TC Palm reports. • A Palm Beach County high school student is arrested after officers find a gun in his pants at school, the Palm Beach Post reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday's Florida education news roundup