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.
Students at John W. Lockhart Magnet Elementary School in Tampa use a flight simulator during a Gifted Technology Goals class.
Published March 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