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Florida education news: Vouchers, tax sharing, charter schools and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Senate Education Committee chairman Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, speaks to reporters Feb. 21, 2019, in the Capitol about his chamber's education priorities for the upcoming session. On Thursday, the Senate passed a the bill that included many of those ideas. [The Florida Channel]
Senate Education Committee chairman Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, speaks to reporters Feb. 21, 2019, in the Capitol about his chamber's education priorities for the upcoming session. On Thursday, the Senate passed a the bill that included many of those ideas. [The Florida Channel]
Published Apr. 26, 2019

VOUCHERS: The Florida Senate okays a bill to create a new school voucher program, as a way to eliminate the waiting list for under-funded tax credit scholarships. The legislation also includes proposals relating to School of Hope charter schools, Best and Brightest teacher bonuses, teacher certification exams and community school programs. Its House companion remains on that chamber’s calendar awaiting debate. More from GateHouse, Herald-Tribune, Sun-Sentinel.

TAX MONEY: The Florida House approves a bill to have school districts share income from any locally-passed property tax increases with charter schools, including ones that already have passed. The late-night action, which stemmed from a Miami-Dade County spat, would affect about 20 districts statewide.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Florida House adopts a measure allowing public colleges and universities to authorize new charter schools, amid criticism the initiative would undercut school boards.

GOATS WANTED: The Brevard County school district (jokingly?) considers using goats to trim its lawns, as its maintenance staff has grown depleted, Florida Today reports. Officials also talked about having inmates mow the grass.

BUS SAFETY: The St. Lucie County school district tests out a system that warns students to stop crossing the street if a radar detects vehicles moving past an extended school bus stop arm, WPTV reports. • Broward County adds a new bus route in Tamarac to disburse students more quickly after school, following violent student fights in the area, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

HIGHER ED FUNDING: A legislative plan for university funding does not include money for preeminent status, which could hurt the University of South Florida, Florida Politics reports.

FLORIDA VIRTUAL: The embattled Florida Virtual School board could be eliminated and replaced by the State Board of Education under a new proposal in the state House, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: Its superintendent resigned, the Indian River County School Board explores options to replace him, TC Palm reports.

ARMED TEACHERS: The Citrus County school district joins the growing list saying it isn’t interested in having teachers carry guns in their classrooms, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

CAREER EDUCATION: About 100 Volusia County middle school students visit a home construction site to get insights into the home building industry, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

CONSTRUCTION FUNDS: The Santa Rosa County School Board unanimously calls for a reimposition of school impact fees, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

BULLYING: Parents at a Polk County elementary school say their children are being bullied and the principal is doing nothing to stop it, the Ledger reports. School Board members say they will look into the situation.

DEEP CLEAN: A Palm Beach County high school gets an overnight disinfecting after a report that someone on campus had a drug-resistant staph infection, the Palm Beach Post reports.

DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT: Some Leon County parents claim their children were denied school choice because of racial bias, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

PRESIDENT SEARCH: The headhunter for Miami-Dade College works to help potential applicants for the school’s presidency remain private as long as possible, the Miami Herald reports.

IN COURT: Lawyers make their arguments in a Duval County case challenging the school district’s armed guard program, the Florida Times-Union reports.

LEGAL COUNSEL: The Lee County School Board hires an outside legal firm for advice after its staff attorney resigns, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

BAD ACTS: A group of St. Johns County students is disciplined over racist threats and swastika social media posts, WJAX reports. • A Charlotte County high school student is arrested in connection with a drawing depicting violence against a teacher, the Charlotte Sun reports.

TODAY: Senate session, 10 a.m. (On special order: SB 464 prepaid college programs. On 2nd reading: SB 1444 do not hire teacher list) • House session, 10:30 p.m. (On third reading: HB 839 higher education. On special order: HB 1127 do not hire teacher list, HB 189 dual enrollment. Several key bills remain on second reading and could be taken up at any time.)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

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