Florida education news: Budget talks, teacher pay, president searches and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
[Associated Press | 2016]
[Associated Press | 2016]
Published April 5

BUDGETS: The Florida House and Senate have approved their education budgets, and they’re more than a half-billion dollars apart on K-12 education. They also disagree sharply on university and college funding. Differences over a school supply sales tax holiday also remain part of the conversation, the News Service of Florida reports. Next up: Conference talks.

TEACHER PAY: The state’s insistence on paying teachers bonuses rather than increasing salaries is one of the reasons Pasco County educators have lower base pay than many others, school district officials explain. They’re seeking ways to make the district more competitive. • St. Johns County district leaders say their hands are tied by state funding as they try to improve their teacher pay, which lags behind neighboring systems, the St. Augustine Record reports.

PRESIDENT SEARCHES: Even amid calls for more transparency in a recent University of South Florida president search, state lawmakers propose shielding future applicant information from public scrutiny. A similar measure failed two years ago. • Florida State College at Jacksonville selects a new president, the Florida Times-Union reports.

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS: Pasco County school district leaders still plan to overhaul academic offerings for west-side schools, but say they need more time after the School Board rejected their main funding idea.

FAKE GRADES: A Sarasota County teacher and coach is suspended amid allegations he awarded credit students had not earned in a remedial math course he taught, the Herald-Tribune reports.

HOW LONG? Critics blast the decision not to have already demolished the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High building where the 2018 shooting massacre occurred, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

LOCKDOWN: A Broward County high school goes into lockdown mode after a security monitor says she saw a former student enter campus with a large bag. It turned out to be a current student on the way to classes, the Miami Herald reports. But the SWAT team didn’t know that before it arrived, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

START TIMES: Several details remain unsettled in the Volusia County school district’s plan to alter bell schedules for the coming academic year, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Meanwhile, opposition mounts to the decision.

THE PROM MUST GO ON: The Panama City community comes together to ensure Bay High School students have a prom despite a myriad of hurdles caused by Hurricane Michael, the Panama City News Herald reports.

HANDS ON HELP: Lockheed Martin engineers head to an Orange County high school to help aerospace students on their prototype aircraft project, a boon to the students and also an investment in future employees for the company, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

GET ONLINE: The Sarasota County school district partners with Sprint to provide 850 low-income students with internet access to help them do their homework, the Herald-Tribune reports.

DRESS CODE: An advisory committee recommends rescinding several dress code restrictions in Indian River County schools, TC Palm reports.

IN COURT: A Leon County parent accuses the school district of misdiagnosing her child’s learning disabilities, and then retaliating against her for speaking on her child’s behalf, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

BAD ACTS: A Palm Beach County school bus aide is arrested on accusations he choked and otherwise physically abused a student with special needs, the Palm Beach Post reports. • An Okaloosa County school bus driver is cited for running a stop sign and causing a crash while students were on board, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • Two Hendry County teachers and a school secretary are under investigation for alleged inappropriate interactions with students, WINK reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup