Florida education news: Taxes, public comment, USF leadership and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Published March 12

USF PRESIDENT SEARCH: University of South Florida trustees expect to have all applications for the school’s president post by Friday. They anticipate making a choice the following week.

SCHOOL TAXES: A proposed cut to certain seniors’ property taxes could cost Florida school districts millions of dollars.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Pasco County School Board members get an angry backlash to their recent decision truncating public comment at a board meeting. “We will be watching and voting,” one constituent writes in.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE: Broward County’s newly appointed sheriff calls for changes to the school district’s student discipline diversion program, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The Promise program came under scrutiny in the aftermath of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

MISSPENT MONEY: A Florida House report finds enough blame to go around in details of how the University of Central Florida was able to misuse $85 million in construction funds, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

VOUCHERS: Not all Florida religious school leaders agree on the terms being presented to expand the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship program with taxpayer-funded vouchers, Florida Phoenix reports. • Kentucky officials examine the pros and cons of Florida’s tax credit scholarship program as they consider one of their own, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

SCIENCE LESSONS: Florida is one of several states where lawmakers have presented bills to change classroom lessons on climate, evolution and other science, the Washington Post reports.

TESTING: Marion County teachers say they like the state’s later spring testing window because it allows more time to prepare students, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Two Broward County parents open a private school accepting state scholarships for children with autism, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

KEEP COOL: The Manatee County school district works to catch up on needed air conditioning repairs, the Bradenton Herald reports.

POLICY UPDATE: The Charlotte County School Board will consider revising policies dealing with staff misconduct, the Charlotte Sun reports.

LEASE ARRANGEMENTS: The Citrus County School Board will discuss the possibility of taking over the lease of a local hospital once the hospital board is disbanded, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

START TIMES: The Volusia County school district seeks public input on whether to change school bell schedules and add 30 minutes to the elementary day, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

ACADEMIES: Polk County schools show off their academies to visiting educators from throughout the southeastern United States, the Ledger reports.

R.I.P.: A Liberty County high school baseball coach and his wife are electrocuted while working on the baseball field over the weekend, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

VAPING: Lee County teachers raise concerns about the growing student use of vaping in schools, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Two northeast Florida lawmakers seek to direct an additional $3 million to the KIPP charter school in Jacksonville, WJCT reports.

SCHOOL THREATS: A Broward County teen is arrested on accusations of threatening to shoot up his former high school, the Miami Herald reports. • Two Broward County schools are locked down while law enforcement investigates a rumor of a student with a gun on campus, the Miami Herald reports. • A Brevard County middle school is locked down after the discovery of a threat on a school wall, Florida Today reports.

LABOR NEWS: Miami-Dade College administration and labor organizers accuse each other of harassment and intimidation as adjunct professors seek to unionize, WLRN reports.

TODAY: Senate Education, 1:30 p.m. • Senate Ethics and Elections, 4 p.m. (On the agenda, SJR 274, School board term limits)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup