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Florida education news: Bible classes, teacher tests, university funding and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
 
SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
New Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton, has his hand on the Bible as he was sworn in Tuesday, November 20, 2018 during the 2018 Organization Session in Tallahassee.
SCOTT KEELER | Times New Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton, has his hand on the Bible as he was sworn in Tuesday, November 20, 2018 during the 2018 Organization Session in Tallahassee.
Published March 8, 2019

BIBLE STUDY: A bill to require Florida public high schools to offer electives on the Bible gets through its first House committee, despite concerns such a mandate could violate the U.S. Constitution. Sponsor Rep. Kim Daniels rejects requests to amend the bill to indemnify districts if they are sued, and to add other holy books to the proposed course. “It’s for the study of the Bible,” Daniels said.

TEACHER TESTING: The House PreK-12 Quality subcommittee also advances legislation to ease away from the General Knowledge certification exam that has vexed teachers for several years. • The Florida Department of Education, meanwhile, proposes lowering the fees to take the test, WFTS reports.

UNIVERSITY FUNDING: The Florida House demands explanations for each requested university construction project, after leaders say they see the system as overfunded. Senate leaders do not share the zeal to overhaul the spending, though, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

PER-STUDENT SPENDING: Hillsborough County’s lowest performing schools receive $1,700 more per student than other campuses.

CONSERVATIVE COURT: Florida lawmakers tee up several issues deemed unconstitutional in the past for possible consideration by the state’s more right-leaning Supreme Court, GateHouse reports.

SECURITY: The Marion County School Board reaches a three-year deal to keep resource officers on campuses, reversing course from discussions to create their own police force, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. • Alachua County charter schools rely on armed employees rather than sworn officers to guard their campuses, the Gainesville Sun reports. • Several Clay County parents criticize the school district’s plan to establish its own police force, WJXT reports.

AFTER THE STORM: Some Panama City residents worry the Bay County school district won’t repair their community’s hurricane-damaged elementary school if it is closed because of reduced enrollment, the Panama City News Herald reports.

CIVICS LESSONS: A Florida House committee approves a bill to enhance civics education in public schools, the Associated Press reports.

STEPPING ASIDE: The controversial Marion County School Board member who has battled continually with the district superintendent will not seek another term, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

BAD ACTS: A Broward County teen is arrested after a school brawl captured on video, WLPG reports. • A former Broward County high school band director tells police he does not regret having sex with a teen student, the Miami Herald reports. • A Manatee County charter school employee is arrested on accusations she stole more than $360,000 from the school, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

TODAY: Early Learning Programs Estimating Conference: Voluntary PreK, 9 a.m.