1. Gradebook

Florida education news: School taxes, student voices, public comments and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
[Associated Press | 2016]
[Associated Press | 2016]
Published Apr. 17, 2019

TAXES: A proposal to require Florida school districts to share their local referendum tax revenue with charter schools advances to the state House floor after a committee adds some Democrat-inspired amendments. • The Duval County School Board is considering such a referendum to help pay for nearly $2 billion in needed projects, the Florida Times-Union reports.

STUDENT VOICES: A Pasco County high school student, upset with a proposed change to her school’s schedule for seniors, emails the superintendent asking for reconsideration. She wins.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: The Pasco County School Board changes its procedures on public commenting, so all speakers talking about items not on the meeting agenda will appear at the end of the sessions if any time remains. The board takes this action as a prelude to video recording its meetings for the first time.

WINDING DOWN: The Florida House Education Committee holds its final meeting of the 2019 session, approving its final four bills before adjourning. More than half the bills assigned to the committee never got heard.

TEACHER PROTEST: Teachers across Florida, including in the Keys, plan a “walk-in” for Wednesday morning to express disapproval with state policies and funding of public education, the Miami Herald reports. More from First Coast News, Florida Phoenix.

SCHOOL SECURITY: Besides a provision to allow armed teachers, Florida’s updated school safety legislation has bipartisan support, the Sun-Sentinel reports. A new national survey finds parents see schools as less safe now, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

VIRTUAL SCHOOL WOES: Gov. Ron DeSantis calls for an overhaul of Florida Virtual School leadership in the wake of reports of lacking accountability and oversight, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

LEADERSHIP: A Miami private Catholic school gets its second president in 60 years, the Miami Herald reports. • A Palm Beach County school district top administrator is picked as superintendent of a South Carolina school district, Fox 28 reports. • The Miami-Dade County school district’s chief academic officer is a finalist for Boston Public Schools superintendent, the Boston Globe reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: The Florida Supreme Court rules Gov. Ron DeSantis has the authority to suspend Okaloosa County superintendent Mary Beth Jackson, who challenged the action, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • The Indian River County School Board decides to end its relationship with superintendent Mark Rendell, TC Palm reports.

ENROLLMENT DOWN: Broward County schools see their student numbers shrink amid concerns of poor discipline and mediocre quality, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

HEALTH EDUCATION: A Florida Senate committee moves to allow parents to opt their children out of any aspect of health education, Florida Politics reports.

PUBLIC OPINIONS: The Manatee County school district ponders conducting an employee and parent climate survey of schools, the Bradenton Herald reports.

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY: Lee County residents and school district leaders discuss ways to make school bus stops more certain and secure, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

GETTING THERE: Manatee County educators explore options to help children with high absenteeism overcome issues that stop them from getting to school, the Herald-Tribune reports.

FINANCES: The Sarasota County School Board continues to explore ways to redefine its reserve accounting, the Herald-Tribune reports.

REZONING: Nearly 200 Santa Rosa County students will be reassigned to different schools as the School Board aims to ease crowding, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

BAD ACTS: A Collier County charter school teacher is arrested on accusations of having sex with a student, the Naples Daily News reports. • An Alachua County schools paraprofessional is fired over allegations of inappropriate texting with students, the Gainesville Sun reports.

TODAY: House session, 11:30 a.m. (On second reading: HB 7095 school choice, HB 7093 school security, HB 7075 vouchers, HB 7061 teacher preparation, HB 401 mastery-based education, HB 259 human trafficking education) • Senate session, 10 a.m. (On special order: SB 7030 school security. On second reading: SB 114 financial literacy, SB 354 immunizations, SB 7076 naming of university buildings) • Senate Rules, 2 p.m. (On the agenda: SJR 274 school board term limits)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. School employees Jarvis Delon West, left, and Dontae Antonio Thomas, right, were both arrested in connection with the assault and injury of a 12-year-old boy who attended AMIkids in Pinellas Park. The state shut the school down.
  2. First Lady Casey DeSantis talks with students during the Hope for Healing a mental and substance abuse initiative held Roland Park K-8 School in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said state officials worked closely with DeSantis to craft the new rule. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
  3. In this Feb. 14, 2018, photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after a shooter opened fire on the campus.
  4. Pinellas County School Board member Carol Cook, left, celebrates her reelection to her fifth term in 2016. If ultimately approved, a term limits proposal would force Florida's school board members out after two consecutive terms.
  5. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini fields questions on the House floor on Feb. 19, 2020, about his proposal to ask voters to limit school board member terms.
  6. Chicken and vegetable dumplings with soy sauce were offered to students to test during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste-testing, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Pinellas Technical College. Twenty-eight new food items were tested and rated.  Some will be added to next year's school menus.
  7. Patrick Suiters, 10, left, and Gabriel Stanford, 9, both fourth-graders at San Jose Elementary School in Dunedin, fill out a survey after tasting falafel tots and nuggets during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste test at Pinellas Technical College. About 120 students tasted and rated 28 new food items that could be added to school breakfast and lunch menus next year.
  8. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  9. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  10. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  11. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  12. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.