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Florida education news: Vouchers, bonus pay, tax revenue and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
A Florida House committee has advanced a proposal to expand state private school vouchers. A Koch-related group is pushing to go even further with universal school vouchers, also called "education scholarship accounts." | YouTube
Published Mar. 15

VOUCHERS: A proposal to create a new private school voucher program to supplement the existing tax-credit scholarship program for low income students passes its first committee in the Florida House. The measure, more expansive than the Senate’s version, would increase the income eligibility over time, so more middle class families could participate. More from the Orlando Sentinel, News Service of Florida.

BONUS PAY: Non-classroom teachers in Pasco County won’t be getting a bonus they received last year when their district provided an amount equal to a Best and Brightest award, even though they weren’t eligible for the state program. • The Lee County school district loses $200,000 in Best and Brightest funding because of a paperwork error, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

SALES TAX FUNDS: Hillsborough County schools begin to see progress on repair projects paid for by the district’s new sales tax. An oversight committee plans to discuss how charter schools might get a portion of the revenue.

SAFETY LAWS: Florida’s grand jury investigation into school districts’ adherence to school safety laws puts a spotlight on individual responsibility for school and district leaders in times of crisis, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

NOW IT’S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE? The recent battle over Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie’s tenure raises the tricky question of when a superintendent should take a cue and depart, Education Week reports.

STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS: A plan to tighten the eligibility requirements to earn Bright Futures scholarships could have negative consequences for minority students, Florida Phoenix reports.

STATE FUNDS: Florida’s general revenue is on track to remain stable, but only because of rollover funds that will not repeat, Florida Politics reports.

ANOTHER ONE GONE: The Broward County school district administrator who oversaw the district’s controversial suspension diversion program resigns, the latest in a string of officials to leave, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

ABOUT THAT COLIN KAEPERNICK DISPLAY: The Charlotte County high school principal who ordered the removal of a teacher’s Black History Month display apologizes to the teacher and to students, the Charlotte Sun reports.

SCHOOL THREATS: A Citrus County teen who threatened violence against his school gets probation after promising to give up his weapons and get a high school diploma, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

START TIMES: The Indian River County School Board revives discussion about whether to start high school classes later each day, TC Palm reports.

CONSTITUTION REVISION: The Florida House takes steps to do away with the Constitution Revision Commission process, Florida Phoenix reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A new Leon County charter school makes progress toward opening after its long battle to win approval, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

SECURITY: The Monroe County school district takes a stance against arming teachers, but is considering whether to hire its own guards, the Key West Citizen reports.

IN COURT: An Okaloosa County family sues the school district alleging their son was sexually abused in school, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

BAD ACTS: A Brevard County high school student is arrested on allegations he hit a school custodian and tried to take his car, Florida Today reports.

TODAY: Education Estimating Conference: Student Financial Aid, 1 p.m.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    School security and early learning get top billing in the first committee meetings of the looming 2020 session.
  2. This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.
  4. Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia holds a back-to-school press conference at Rampello K-8 School, [TIMES files]
    MaryEllen Elia, who led the Hillsborough district from 2005 to 2015, has been an educator since 1970.
  5. Jeff Eakins and MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough's last two superintendents, were hired from inside the school system. So have all others since 1967. [TIMES FILES] Times staff
    Two more public meetings are planned, and the online survey is up until Saturday.
  6. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    The board’s 2019-20 budget totals $1.39 billion.
  7. The DeLucio family of Trinity toured the Mitchell High School campus and showed the visit on their YouTube channel, which has more than 1 million subscribers. Many parents, students and school officials were not amused. YouTube
    The proposed policy comes up for a vote on Oct. 1.
  8. United School Employees of Pasco president Don Peace denounces the school district's pay raise proposal in a YouTube video sent to all district employees Sept. 9, 2019. United School Employees of Pasco
    The local teachers union already has denounced the idea.
  9. Goodwill's BookWorks preschool literacy program strives to instill a love of reading and helps provide children books.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace has 183 more students this school year than last. Middle schools grew in enrollment this year, while elementary schools lost more than 1,200 students.  [Times | 2013]
    The 20 day count shows ever more crowding in southeast Hillsborough.
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