1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Student funding, teachers with guns, free speech and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Students at John W. Lockhart Magnet Elementary School in Tampa use a flight simulator during a Gifted Technology Goals class.
Published Mar. 21

FUNDING: The Florida House and Senate unveil education budget proposals that stand more than half a billion dollars apart. They differ on per-student funding and base student allocation levels, but agree for the first time in a while on local school district tax rates. And neither matches Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recommended spending plan.

TEACHERS WITH GUNS: With 30 minutes left in a 2-hour meeting, the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee announces the postponement of an anticipated debate over a bill that would permit teachers to participate in the state’s school guardian program. The House is to take up a similar proposal at 8 a.m. today.

FREE SPEECH: A Hillsborough County School Board meeting regular is thrown out of the chambers and barred from attending for a year, after making “overly personal” remarks during public comment.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A plan to expand the “Schools of Hope” charter school model, which does not have any operating schools in the state yet, gains traction in the Florida House.

HANDS-ON LEARNING: Pasco County’s Krinn Technical High launches a long-term aquaponics initiative to involve all its programs in a school-wide project.

SECURITY: The Citrus County sheriff agrees to begin a school guardian program, after previously raising concerns about the level of training required for the participants, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. • Palm Beach County charter schools struggled to find security guards without their school district’s help, the Palm Beach Post reports.

SCHOOL FOR SALE: The building housing a Broward County charter high school is on the market as a commercial property available for repurposing, the Sun-Sentinel reports. What that means for the charter school, open since 2011, is unclear.

GUNS ON CAMPUS: A Polk County teen is arrested on accusations of bringing a gun to school, the Ledger reports.

TODAY: House Education, 8 a.m. (On the agenda: Committee bill on school safety, HB 741 on anti-Semitism) • Full Senate, 10 a.m. (On special order: SB 74, limiting the subjects of a Constitutional Revision Commission amendment)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Former Pasco County Corrections Officer Wendy Miller, 57 runs towards gunfire with instructor Chris Squitieri during active shooter drills taught by Pasco County Sheriff's Office at Charles S. Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes. These drills are put are a larger training program for the Guardian program that will staff elementary schools with trained armed guards.  LUIS SANTANA   |   Times "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The change is a reversal of a previous move by the department, which specifically excluded armed teachers from its policy.
  2. Bayonet Point Middle School teacher Cynthia Thompson wants to become Pasco County schools superintendent. Courtesy of Cynthia Thompson
    Cynthia Thompson is a graduation enhancement instructor at Bayonet Point Middle School.
  3. Yesterday• Gradebook
    Hillsborough High School Senior Anthony Allen with principal Gary Brady, Principal U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine Sullivan, and schools superintendent Jeff Eakins. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    Hillsborough accepts its share of a federal grant.
  4. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    Steve Hegarty spent 10 years as Hillsborough schools public information officer before taking the police department post.
  5. Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, left, looks on while school board chair Tammy Shamburger speaks on newly raised concerns of a undiscovered cemetery for indigent African Americans that may be within the vicinity of King High School in Tampa, Florida on Friday, October 18, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. Joanne Glenn, Pasco eSchool principal, addresses the eSchool faculty on opening day of teacher preplanning week in 2018. Pasco eSchool is launching its first online dual-enrollment courses in conjunction with Pasco-Hernando State College in the second semester.  GAIL DIEDERICH | Special to the Times
    Students will have access to two sections of two courses — microapplications and public speaking.
  7. Challenger K-8 School students, from left, Jeremy Gonzalez, 13, Jackson Hoyt, 12, Benjamin Harper, 12, and Gianni Labdar, 12, finish meals consisting of fresh salads, quesadillas and nachos during a lunch service on Oct. 15 at the school in Spring Hill during the county's Fresh from Florida Plate Day event. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Starting a farm-to-school initiative has been more complicated than district officials expected.
  8. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
    Legislators who were critical of the original plan say a new approach revealed Thursday is more in line with their expectations.
  9. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  10. Meaghan Leto, (center facing street), a speech therapist from Twin Lakes Elementary, protests over pay with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of a School Board meeting.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.