1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Vouchers, free speech, charter schools and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
CHRIS URSO  |   Times
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, waves to the crowd after being introduced at Tampa Bay Academy Monday, April 15, 2019 in Tampa. DeSantis made a stop at Tampa Bay Christian Academy to urge lawmakers to pass his voucher plan.
CHRIS URSO | Times Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, waves to the crowd after being introduced at Tampa Bay Academy Monday, April 15, 2019 in Tampa. DeSantis made a stop at Tampa Bay Christian Academy to urge lawmakers to pass his voucher plan.
Published Apr. 16, 2019
Updated Apr. 16, 2019

VOUCHERS: Gov. Ron DeSantis visits a Tampa private Christian school to reiterate his support for legislation to expand school vouchers in Florida. “Parents should be in the driver’s seat” when it comes to their children’s education, he told the audience.

FREE SPEECH: Gov. DeSantis calls upon state universities to adopt policies to allow for all viewpoints to be discussed freely on campus, even ones people might “loathe.”

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Plato Academies, one of the Tampa Bay area’s largest charter school groups, severs ties with its longtime management company. • The Clermont City Council appeals a court decision that overturned a permit it issued for a charter school, the Daily Commercial reports.

LABOR NEWS: Pasco County teachers reach a tentative contract deal with the district after a weekend mediation session. • Brevard County teachers plan a “walk-in” to protest state education policies, Florida Today reports.

AUDITS: Hernando County school district officials say they are resolving issues discovered in a financial audit, such as improperly using general funds for capital projects. • The Manatee County school district gets a negative audit relating to its troubled software implementation, among other issues, the Bradenton Herald reports.

TAXES: The Florida House will consider legislation to require school districts to share local tax referendum revenue with charter schools, including measures that voters have already approved, Florida Politics reports.

ARMED EMPLOYEES: The Okaloosa and Walton county school districts consider participating in the state school guardian program, the Destin Log reports. • The Fort Myers City Council will ask the Lee County school district to pay more for resource officers, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

SCHOOL NURSES: Duval County schools are struggling to place a nurse on every campus, WJAX reports.

SCHOOL ZONES: About 400 Palm Beach County elementary students could be reassigned to different schools to ease crowding, the Palm Beach Post reports.

TODAY: House Appropriations, 10 a.m. (On the agenda: HB 7123 taxation) • House Education, 1:30 p.m. (On the agenda: HB 7055 career education) • Health and Human Services, 2 p.m. (On the agenda: HB 1171 parental rights)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. From left, Don Haddad, Peter Licata and Addison Davis, all finalists for the job of Hillsborough County school superintendent, met Thursday with community members at Rampello K-8 School. The School Board will choose among the three on Tuesday. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times]
    Addison Davis, Don Haddad and Peter Licata outline their plans for the first 90 days.
  2. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    A man university police believe was target shooting near campus was not located, the university said.
  3. Former state senator John Legg has not ruled out a run for Pasco County schools superintendent. The district is the nation's largest to elect its chief executive.
    Short answer: Maybe.
  4. But the competition isn’t who many people expected it to be.
  5. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. A point tally ranking the three finalists to be Hillsborough County's next school superintendent shows up on a screen in the School Board meeting room Thursday after a meeting that lasted most of the day. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times]
    The last round of interviews is set for Jan. 21.
  7. Rep. Stan McClain, an Ocala Republican, presents a bill that would allow Florida public colleges and universities to sponsor charter schools, during a January 2020 meeting of the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    Alternative authorizers have been found unconstitutional in the past. But that isn’t stopping the effort.
  8. Thousands rallied and marched from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to the Florida Historic Capitol to demand more money for public schools Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Thousands of school workers from around the state thronged Florida's Capitol on Monday to press Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature to more than double the nearly $1 billion the governor is proposing for teacher raises and bonuses.  (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP) [TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER  |  AP]
    The PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee cutting exercise would come in nearly 25 percent below Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal.
  9. Cocoa Police Department video shows A.J. Plonsky being taken to a mental health facility under the Florida Baker Act on his first day of middle school, August 10, 2018.  [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
    Never intended to be used on children, the 1970s law in increasingly applied in schools.
  10. Assisted by the Ray and Associates search firm, the Hillsborough County School Board is hiring a new superintendent. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.