1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Armed teachers, revenue sharing, student conduct and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Lauderhill [Times | 2017]
Published Apr. 12

ARMED TEACHERS: Democrats in the Florida Senate say they have an agreement with Republicans to hold further conversation about removing a portion of school safety legislation that would allow all teachers to carry weapons in school. "You get legislation that is supposed to be ‘landmark legislation’ and it’s on party lines then it doesn’t look like landmark legislation. Then it looks like something half the state wants,” Sen. Perry Thurston said of the measure, which narrowly passed the Senate Appropriations committee. • More on the debate from Associated Press, News Service of Florida. • A survey shows Orange County teachers want police officers, not school employees, to guard schools, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • New information from the Florida Department of Education shows more incidents of teachers bringing guns to school or threatening to do so, Miami New Times reports.

REVENUE SHARING: The House Ways and Means committee advances a bill that would require school districts to share local-option property tax revenue with charter schools. More from Sun-Sentinel.

CODE OF CONDUCT: Pasco County school district staff adjust their proposal to allow students with unexcused absences to make up missed assignments and tests, before sending it to the School Board.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A proposed new Sarasota County charter school will not open because it cannot find a location, the Herald-Tribune reports.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: The Manatee County school district begins marking employee files as “resigned in lieu of termination” if they leave during an investigation into their conduct, the Bradenton Herald reports.

CAREER PLANNING: A Lake County high school creates a partnership with a local credit union as it works toward establishing a finance career academy, the Daily Commercial reports.

SCHOOL NAMES: The Manatee County school district continues to accept nominations for renaming a school that will merge with another, the Bradenton Herald reports.

ANTI-SEMITISM: The Florida House passes legislation requiring schools and universities to treat anti-Semitism as racial discrimination, the Associated Press reports.

FREE SPEECH: An Ocala rapper faces charges of threatening violence at the University of Florida because of lines in a rap song, raising questions over whether his lyrics are protected free speech, the Miami Herald reports.

DRINKING WATER: A new report gives Florida school districts a failing grade in their efforts to remove lead from the water supply, the Florida Phoenix reports.

TAX MONEY: The Lee County school district announces it received $6.3 million in the first month its new sales tax was in effect, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

CROWDING: About 200 Santa Rosa County students are rezoned into different schools as the district aims to ease crowding, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

HURRICANE AFTERMATH: Bay County superintendent Bill Husfelt says he might have to lay off hundreds of employees if the Legislature does not provide millions of dollars in hurricane relief funding, the Panama City News Herald reports.

TEACHER PROTEST: Barred by law from striking, teachers in St. Johns County and other districts are planning a “walk-in” to protest the state’s education funding priorities, the St. Augustine Record reports.

PUBLIC INPUT: Brevard County superintendent Mark Mullins plans a listening tour to hear what residents think about the school system, Florida Today reports.

BAD ACTS: A Miami-Dade County teen is arrested after trying to perform a wrestling move on his principal, the Miami Herald reports. • Five students at a Duval County high school are arrested after a violent fight that sent one person to the hospital, the Florida Times-Union reports.

TODAY: Take a breather.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. [SKIP O'ROURKE   | Times]
    It’s unclear if there will be any proposed changes to this method for measuring teachers’ impact on their students’ performance, despite complaints.
  2. A deputy's Sig Sauer P320, similar to this Glock 19, discharged in the cafeteria of a Wesley Chapel school April 30. The bullet lodged in the wall behind him. The deputy has been fired.
    Cpl. Jonathan Cross was lifting his pistol up and down out of its holster when it went off, Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
  3. Shirley Joseph is named superintendent of Madison County public schools. Madison County school district
    The previous superintendent resigned amid conflicts with the School Board.
  4. In this image from a Pinellas County school district video, former School Board member Lee Benjamin motions to someone he knows while sitting with family members during at 2013 ceremony to name the Northeast High School gymnasium in his honor. Mr. Benjamin was the school's first basketball coach in 1954 and later became Northeast's principal in a long career with Pinellas schools that included 14 years on the School Board. He died Wednesday at age 92. Pinellas County Schools
    A teacher, coach and principal at Northeast High, he rose to district administrator and served on the School Board. Mr. Benjamin died Wednesday at age 92.
  5. Hillsborough County School Board member Melissa Snively Times staff
    Board member Melissa Snively wanted to honor a community pioneer.
  6. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri chairs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which is preparing its second round of recommendations for lawmakers.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. Toby Johnson is the new principal of Martinez Middle School. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    The School Board also suspended former Martinez principal Brent McBrien.
  8. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  9. 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 sides have not set a time to resume discussions on teacher pay.
  10. Census forms have to be printed soon. [AP photo by Michelle R. Smith]
    Citizenship controversy could be a psychological barrier.