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Florida education news: Private school scholarships, transgender rights, Parkland aftermath and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Students hug hursday, Feb. 14, 2019, outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after the ceremony at 2:21 p.m. to mark the mass shooting at the school that killed 17 students and teachers on Valentine's Day last year. [Al Diaz, Miami Herald]
Published Feb. 27

SCHOLARSHIPS: Pasco County school district officials propose restrictions on offering state private-school scholarships to students who claim they’ve been bullied. The district wants to verify the claims first, despite that not being a requirement in law. One state senator, meanwhile, aims to expand the program further while easing access to it, with a bill filed Tuesday. (See SB 1410)

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS: Conservative groups seeking to limit transgender students’ rights in Pasco County schools will not find satisfaction in the district’s latest list of proposed policy revisions. The administration indicates it has no plan to change its rules. Officials have said they await a court ruling from a St. Johns County case that could have bearing on their actions. That case is headed to appeal in federal court, Metro Weekly reports.

PARKLAND AFTERMATH: Public Safety Commission chairman Sheriff Bob Gualtieri visits the Broward County School Board to explain his panel’s findings and make recommendations for improvement, the Miami Herald reports. Among its actions, the board will consider dismissing superintendent Robert Runcie, whose leadership during and after the Parkland shooting incident has come under fire, the Sun-Sentinel reports. More from WLRN. Security remains a concern at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, with four students arrested after a fight there this week, WPLG reports.

BOOK BANNING: A conservative group asks the Marion County school district to remove 14 titles from its shelves, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. District officials have begun reviewing the novels, and already have taken some out of middle schools.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Duval County superintendent Diana Greene recommends denial of a charter school application, saying its proposal would segregate students, the Florida Times-Union reports. • A court halts construction plans for a Lake County charter school, supporting a complaint that the project would generate too much traffic, WKMG reports. • Polk County School Board members discuss possibilities to have their district schools compete with the charter school system in Lake Wales, the Ledger reports.

FINANCIAL CONTROLS: Lee County school district officials are brought before lawmakers to ensure findings in state audits are being followed, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: The Brevard County School Board shortens its 2019-20 winter break amid community concerns that plans to start the vacation on a Tuesday and have students return on a Friday would lead to too many absences, Florida Today reports. • The St. Johns County school district proposes changing the start times for all of its schools, the St. Augustine Record reports.

INFIGHTING: Lee County School Board members have taken to personal insults and criticism of one another, prompting them to plan a training session, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

NAME GAME: After 18 months of back and forth, the Manatee County School Board picks a name for its new high school in Parrish, the Bradenton Herald reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The Pasco County school district is considering adopting a policy for student medical marijuana use on district property. [Getty Images]
    The rule will not change the district’s current approach to the touchy topic.
  2. Shown in 2002, Carolyn Hill, then the principal of Kenly Elementary School in east Tampa, celebrated after 78 of her students improved their state scores and were treated to lunch at The Colonnade Restaurant. Hill, now deceased, might be honored Tuesday as the Hillsborough County School Board considers naming a school for her in the SouthShore area. STAFF  |  Tampa Bay Times
    School Board members will select a name on Tuesday
  3. Alachua County school superintendent Karen Clarke welcomes the crowd at a "listening session" Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 to discuss changes in the Florida's education standards. A similar session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Jefferson High, 4401 W Cypress St. in Tampa. The Florida Channel
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. The Pinellas School Board recognized James Krull as the district's bus Driver of the Year at its meeting Tuesday. From left are board members Bill Dudley, Eileen Long, Carol Cook, Rene Flowers, Krull, and board members Nicole Carr, Joanne Lentino and Lisa Cane. Pinellas County Schools
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  5. In this image from a telecast by The Florida Channel, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks to a Gainesville crowd that came to discuss revisions to the state's education standards this past week. “We’re going to end up with the world’s best standards,” Corcoran said. The Florida Channel
    The effort, ordered by Gov. Ron DeSantis, aims to transform the way students learn in public schools. A “listening session” is set for Tampa’s Jefferson High.
  6. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times  Florida Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr., R- Hialeah; Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, watch the passage of the school voucher bill Tuesday in the Florida House.
    The new program, designed to eliminate waiting lists for tax credit scholarships, is likely to be challenged in court.
  7. A research group has raised concerns that Florida's plan to track student social media usage and collect other data will compromise children's privacy.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. Sigfredo Garcia rubs his eyes as he prepares to hear the closing arguments on Thursday in his trial on charges he killed Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel in 2014. The case went to the jury later in the day, and they will resume deliberations Friday. Tallahassee Democrat
    Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel was killed in 2014. Prosecutors blame his ex-wife, but only the hitman and his girlfriend stand trial.
  9. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Veteran teachers aren’t included. The governor can’t set teacher salaries. And a host of other concerns.
  10. Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is scheduled to lead a listening session on the state's education standards review. CHRIS URSO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Watch the discussion on the Florida Channel.
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