1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Teacher pay, property taxes, school improvements and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a stop at Armwood High School Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 in Tampa.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a stop at Armwood High School Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 in Tampa.
Published Feb. 8, 2019

TEACHER PAY: In the latest of his proposals to change Florida’s education system, Gov. Ron DeSantis calls for an overhaul of the state’s teacher bonus pay system. Among the recommendations, DeSantis wants to stop using teachers’ old SAT and ACT scores to rate their effectiveness. He also has asked for a loan forgiveness program for teachers who commit to the state’s schools for five years. More from News Service of Florida. • Visit the Gradebook at 7:30 a.m. for a new podcast discussion of DeSantis’ spate of education announcements.

SCHOOL FUNDING: House Democrats signal their plan to fight efforts to reduce school districts’ local tax rates for a fourth consecutive year, suggesting that leaving the rates alone would allow districts to generate enough revenue to pay for teacher raises. Hint: House Republican leaders do not appear to be biting. • Lake County School Board members say the governor’s budget proposal would reduce funding for their district, the Daily Commercial reports.

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS: Pasco County school district leaders will look into modifying their proposal to revamp school offerings along the U.S. 19 corridor, after the School Board nixes the idea of closing two campuses to pay for the changes.

ARMED TEACHERS: Nevermind Florida lawmakers’ continuing efforts to allow teachers to carry weapons in school as part of the state’s Guardian program. St. Johns County educators still oppose the idea, the St. Augustine Record reports. • Moms Demand Action draws about 500 people to Tallahassee to protest the idea of armed teachers, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

MOVING ON: A Miami-Dade County teen abandons her effort to disprove accusations that she cheated on her SAT, and considers retaking the college entrance exam, CNN reports.

SECURITY: The Clay County School Board decides to create its own police force to patrol its schools, WLTV reports. • Not all Manatee County schools appear to have guards as required in state law, the Bradenton Herald reports. One Manatee charter school is taking no chances — it has guards armed with semi-automatic weapons prepared to shoot down any intruder, the Bradenton Herald reports.

COMMON COURTESIES: A Broward County School Board member blasts district administrators for failing to consult with another board member, whose daughter was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting, over the scheduling of Parkland parent meetings, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

EMPLOYEE COMPLAINTS: Former Leon County superintendent Jackie Pons might sue the school district for not rehiring him as a principal after he lost his 2016 reelection bid, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • The former chief of Sarasota County’s school district police force complains the district mishandled his reassignment, making it harder for him to find a new job, the Herald-Tribune reports.

BAD ACTS: A Palm Beach County high school coach is arrested on accusations of an inappropriate relationship with a student, the Palm Beach Post reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup