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Florida education news: Armed teachers, school board term limits, reading lessons and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Students and supporters of March For Our Lives held a rally opposing HB 7093 on the Old State Capitol steps on April 3, 2019 at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. HB 7093 proposes arming teachers.
MONICA HERNDON | Times Students and supporters of March For Our Lives held a rally opposing HB 7093 on the Old State Capitol steps on April 3, 2019 at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. HB 7093 proposes arming teachers.
Published Apr. 18, 2019

ARMED TEACHERS: The Florida Senate moves ahead with school security legislation that would allow classroom teachers to carry weapons. The members reject amendments to delete that provision, and to let parents opt out of classrooms with armed teachers, as the bill advances to its final reading. • School district leaders across northeast Florida span the spectrum from full support to total opposition, the Florida Times-Union reports. • More from Florida Phoenix, Sun-Sentinel.

TERM LIMITS: A measure to hold a statewide referendum on limiting school board member terms falters in a key Senate committee. More from Florida Politics.

READING LESSONS: Why do Hillsborough County schools have such a large percentage of low-performing readers? A special report from Marlene Sokol. With sidebars and advice. Visit the Gradebook at 9 a.m. for a podcast conversation about the issue.

STUDENT ABSENTEEISM: Pasco County School Board members call for added efforts to deal with students who miss too many days of classes.

CAMPUS SECURITY: A national organization rates the University of South Florida Tampa campus the least safe campus in Florida. USF rebuts the report.

TEACHER PROTESTS: Teachers at hundreds of schools across Florida hold a “walk-in” to bring attention to their demand for improved state funding of public education, WMNF reports. More from Panama City News Herald, St. Augustine Record, the Ledger.

SCHOOL DAYS: Parents in Palm Beach and Broward counties resist a proposal to have children return to classes ever earlier in August, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

HEALTHY SCHOOLS: The Miami-Dade County School Board discusses ways to share leftover cafeteria food with hungry children rather than throw it away, the Miami Times reports.

TEACHER TRAINING: The Flagler County school district joins with the University of North Florida to create a dual enrollment program aimed at preparing future teachers, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

AFTER MICHAEL: Bay County schools superintendent Bill Husfelt continues to bring attention to his district’s budget shortfall as it works to rebound from Hurricane Michael, the Panama City News Herald reports.

REVENUE SHARING: Palm Beach County School Board members adopt a resolution opposing a tax bill moving through the Florida House that would require districts to share referendum revenue with charter schools, the Palm Beach Post reports. The district currently is being sued by charter schools over its decision not to share its referendum funds.

CODE OF CONDUCT: The Collier County School Board considers expanding its zero tolerance policy relating to weapons on campus, to include “simulation” of gun use, the Naples Daily News reports.

EARLY EDUCATION: An annual national report on prekindergarten gives Florida’s program low marks for quality and funding, noting the state spends less on pre-k now than a decade ago, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

SAVE OUR SCHOOLS: Several Duval County residents attend a forum to voice disapproval of a proposal to transform certain high schools into grade 6-12 campuses, WJAX reports.

BAD ACTS: A Citrus County school bus driver is fired on accusations he shut the bus doors on a student’s arms, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

TODAY: Senate Appropriations, 9 a.m. (On the agenda: SB 7070 vouchers, SB 770 workforce education, SB 190 Bright Futures scholarships)

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.