Florida education news: School security, teacher bonuses, Supreme Court justices and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady, newly appointed justice Carlos Muniz, and Gov. Ron DeSantis. [Gov. Ron DeSantis press office photo]
Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady, newly appointed justice Carlos Muniz, and Gov. Ron DeSantis. [Gov. Ron DeSantis press office photo]
Published January 23

ON THE COURT: Gov. Ron DeSantis appoints his third Florida Supreme Court justice, a conservative lawyer with ties to Jeb Bush and the Trump Administration. After this selection, DeSantis suggests the time might be right to revive the court battle over vouchers, which a more liberal court struck down, GateHouse reports.

SECURITY: Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, speaking as chairman of the state school public safety commission, urges lawmakers to get tough with school districts that don’t meet state standards for security. He also calls for some revisions to the safety laws enacted in 2018 after the Parkland high school shooting. • Broward County schools encounter obstacles to identifying and creating “safer spaces” in all classrooms, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

TEACHER BONUSES: Teachers who left Pasco County’s Ridgewood High before it closed for good won’t get bonuses based on their students' performance on state accountability measures and tests, and that has some people upset.

PICKING A COMMISSIONER: State Sen. Janet Cruz files legislation to return Florida’s education commissioner post to an elected job, Florida Politics reports.

WELCOME BACK: Students return to Bay High School in Panama City three months after it closed because of Hurricane Michael damage, the Panama City News Herald reports. They had been attending classes at a nearby middle school.

PAY RAISES: The Lee County School Board faces public criticism over recently approved administrative raises, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

SCHOOL NAMES: The Manatee County School Board nears a vote to rename a new school amid a huge push from residents, the Bradenton Herald reports.

SCHOOL CHOICE: Former Collier County School Board member Erika Donalds continues to up her profile in Florida’s school choice advocacy world, Florida Politics reports.

TURNAROUNDS: The Leon County School Board approves an outside operator to manage a struggling elementary school’s improvement effort, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

LABOR NEWS: Okaloosa County teachers continue to wait for the school district’s counteroffer to their raise proposal, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

CELL PHONES: Sarasota County School Board members debate whether to ban student cell phone use on campus, the Herald-Tribune reports.

FINANCES: The Manatee County school district makes significant strides to improve its financial picture since 2014, when it ran a negative fund balance, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

TODAY: Senate Education Appropriations, 1:30 p.m. • House PreK-12 Innovation, 1:30 p.m. • House Higher Education Appropriations, 4 p.m. • House PreK-12 Quality, 4 p.m.