1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Teacher pay, guns on campus, student vaccinations and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Hillsborough High School students hold signs in support of teacher pay raises during a 2018 walk out. MONICA HERNDON | Times
Published Apr. 9

TEACHER PAY: Florida teachers have clamored for pay raises rather than annual bonuses. While still far from reality, at least one key lawmaker says the idea is not yet off the table.

GUNS ON CAMPUS: A bill that would allow people to carry weapons at churches that have schools hits a wall in the state Senate. • The Manatee County School Board prepares to debate its position on allowing teachers to carry guns, the Herald-Tribune reports.

STUDENT VACCINATIONS: The number of Florida school children claiming exemptions to avoid getting their shots has jumped 375 percent since 2011.

STANDARDS REVIEW: The Florida Department of Education launches a new website and survey to collect public input on K-12 academic standards.

MAKING SCENTS: A Leon County school that focuses on children with autism collects scent kits of all its students, to help find them if they ever wander away, WTXL reports.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL: The Leon County School Board approves a $100,000 settlement with former superintendent Jackie Pons, who had threatened to sue after not being offered a job, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN: A Polk County family criticizes the school district for failing to let them know their child had been attacked at school, WFTS reports.

DUAL ENROLLMENT: The University of South Florida agrees to bring dual enrollment courses to Manatee County high schools, after State College of Florida walked away from the program, the Bradenton Herald reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Palm Beach County School Board ends its four-year legal battle to stop Charter Schools USA from opening new schools in the county, the Palm Beach Post reports.

SUSPENDED SUPERINTENDENT: The legal tussle continues over the fate of suspended Okaloosa County superintendent Mary Beth Jackson, with the state Supreme Court expected to weigh in soon, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

TODAY: Senate Education, 1:30 p.m. (On the agenda: SJR 274 school board term limits, SB 1726 parental rights, SPB 7106 risk protection orders) • Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology, 1:30 p.m. (On the agenda: SB 770 career-technical education)

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.