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Florida education news: Funding, contracts, textbooks and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
[Associated Press | 2016]
[Associated Press | 2016]
Published Feb. 15, 2019

FUNDING: Citing a need for more money to pay employees, the Pasco County School Board considers asking Florida lawmakers for funding without so many strings attached. • The Manatee County school district could lose state funding after an audit uncovers error-filled records, the Bradenton Herald reports.

RECRUITMENT: Hillsborough County superintendent Jeff Eakins unveils a $17 million teacher bonus system to help recruit and retain teachers.

CONTRACT TALK: Pasco County school-related personnel overwhelmingly approve a contract agreement that provides 2 percent raises.

CONSOLIDATION: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is the latest leader to call for strong independent leadership on all three University of South Florida campuses as the school consolidates its operations.

STANDARDS REVIEW: More Florida school districts grapple with textbook purchasing plans in the wake of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call for revised academic standards, EdWeek Market Brief reports. The Volusia County school district has particular concerns, as it does not have current textbook contracts to extend during the review period, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Central Florida superintendents suggest the standards review might bring some positive benefits in testing and accountability, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

REMEMBERING: Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and beyond commemorate the anniversary of the deadly school shooting with memorials and service, the Palm Beach Post reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald, News Service of Florida. • Broward County officials say they want to make their schools the safest in the nation, WLRN reports.

COLLEGE BOUND: All 12 seniors on the Jefferson County high school football team net college scholarships, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

CRIME STATS: Gov. Ron DeSantis hopes a statewide grand jury will help determine whether under-reporting campus crimes is a crime in itself, Florida Phoenix reports.

SHOTS FIRED: An officer’s gun accidentally fires outside a Duval County middle school during an investigation into a “false threat” at the campus, the Florida Times-Union reports.

DRILLING: Brevard County students and staff adjust to more regular emergency drills and new ways to react, Florida Today reports.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The Miami-Dade County school district considers adoption of a policy to allow medical marijuana use in schools, WTVJ reports.

OFFERING THANKS: Bay County schools celebrate the many donors who have contributed to rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the Panama City News Herald reports.

PLAY TIME: A local Kiwanis club builds a new playground for a Lake County elementary school, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

BAD ACTS: An arrested Escambia County teacher is believed to have started grooming students for sexual exploitation while they were in middle school, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

TODAY: Gov. Ron DeSantis holds two press conferences — one in Orlando at 9:15 a.m., another in Miami at 2:30 p.m. — to make a “major education announcement.” He’ll be speaking at private schools, and the events are organized by scholarship funding organization Step Up For Students. DeSantis has spoken of his desire to eliminate waiting lists for tax credit scholarships in the state. That’s what we know. He often broadcasts his speeches on Facebook, if you want to try to watch.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup