Florida education news: Teacher shortage, anti-bullying effort, school security and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
[Times | 2015]
[Times | 2015]
Published February 12

TEACHER SHORTAGE: Facing a nearly 200 teacher shortfall, the Hillsborough County school district prepares to beef up its recruitment efforts.

STOP THE THREATS: Pasco County’s superintendent sends out another message to families asking them to remind children not to use social media and texting to harass and threaten others. • Two Miami-Dade middle school students face felony charges on accusations they threatened their teacher and her family over Instagram, the Miami Herald reports.

REINSTATED: A Pasco County principal is cleared of accusations that he stole money from a student, and is appointed to a new position.

SECURITY: Florida lawmakers have filed several bills to further refine school security requirements, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • New research suggests that school “hardening” such as Florida schools are considering might not be the best way to secure them, Florida Politics reports. • Volusia County school leaders say their new guardian program is finding success, WKMG reports. • A Manatee County charter school hires an armed guard after it was found to be breaking the law by not having one, the Bradenton Herald reports. • The Broward County school district considers hiring a new security chief, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING: Some Florida lawmakers call for tighter restrictions on how school districts use their funding for mental health services, to ensure the money goes directly to student needs, WFTS reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: Manatee County interim superintendent Cynthia Saunders continues to negotiate a settlement with the state over allegations she inflated graduation rate data, as her board considers whether to extend her contract, the Bradenton Herald reports.

OVERPAID: Twenty-two Clay County preschool teachers received Best and Brightest bonuses they were not supposed to get, WTLV reports. The district will not force them to repay the amount, WJAX reports.

ONE SHOOTING A WEEK? A Florida member of Congress claims the nation had one shooting a week since the incident at Parkland. Politifact Florida finds that statement Half True.

PAY UP: A Miami-Dade County School Board member says high school coaches deserve better pay for their work, the Miami New Times reports.

OVERSIGHT: Gov. Ron DeSantis calls for greater oversight of “bad actor” charter schools, but does not say whether that scrutiny will extend to private schools accepting state scholarships, TC Palm reports.

NEW LEADERSHIP: A St.Lucie County private school that has faced scrutiny since the fall has new leadership after its CEO steps aside to allow his school to merge with another, TC Palm reports.

LABOR NEWS: Palm Beach County teachers will get an average 3 percent raise under a new contract settlement, the Palm Beach Post reports.

IN COURT: A Citrus County substitute teacher pleads not guilty to charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

TODAY: House Education, 10:30 a.m. (On the agenda: Community Partnership Schools, Schools of Hope Traditional Public Schools Grant Program) • Senate Education, 4 p.m. (On the agenda: SPB 7030, school security)