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Florida education news: Charter schools, university rankings, tax sharing and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
King Charter School had applied to open in Pinellas County as the nation's first vegan public school. The School Board rejected the request, saying the application had several deficiencies. [Photo from King Charter School Facebook page]
King Charter School had applied to open in Pinellas County as the nation's first vegan public school. The School Board rejected the request, saying the application had several deficiencies. [Photo from King Charter School Facebook page]
Published May 15, 2019

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Three charter school applicants win approval to open in Pinellas County, while another is denied. It would have been the nation’s first vegan public school. • A Pasco County charter school gives up its charter and will close after classes end. • The Polk County School Board reverses course and approves a charter school it had denied, the Ledger reports.

UNIVERSITY RANKINGS: Florida again receives U.S. News and World Report’s top ranking for higher education. The ranking relies on certain data while not taking into account other items that students might consider important, Florida Phoenix reports.

ATTENDANCE MATTERS: The Broward County School Board considers relaxing the penalties for students who have unexcused absences, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

SECURITY: Manatee County schools plan $1.7 million in security upgrades, including fences and cameras, the Bradenton Herald reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: The Volusia County School Board votes 4-1 to negotiate an early departure for superintendent Tom Russell, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

JOB TITLES: Several Lake County school district administrators get new titles as a way to eliminate confusion over their responsibilities, the Daily Commercial reports.

FUNDING: Polk County school district officials are cautiously optimistic about increased state funding for the coming academic year, the Ledger reports. • Volusia County school district leaders project a $10 million budget shortfall for the coming year, despite increased per-student funding, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: The Lee County school district purchases land for a promised new K-8 school in Estero, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

CONSTRUCTION PLANNING: The Manatee County school district gets an updated assessment of its buildings to help plan future construction and maintenance needs, the Herald-Tribune reports.

HURRICANE READINESS: Sarasota County considers fortifying a Venice elementary school to serve as a hurricane shelter, the Herald-Tribune reports.

TEACHER DISCIPLINE: A Duval County elementary teacher receives a six-month suspension over abuse allegations, the Florida Times-Union reports.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: The State Attorney’s Office is looking into a complaint that the Santa Rosa County school district paid improper stipends to athletic coaches, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

TODAY: Bill signing ceremony for HB 7123, 9:15 a.m., Governor’s Hurricane Conference in West Palm Beach.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. More than 100 people turned out Jan. 15, 2019, to give the Pasco County School Board their thoughts on the district's policy and procedures for transgender student rights. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
  2. Hudson High student Kaitlyn Helzer introduces herself to a curious corn snake during the Nature Coast Envirothon, held Feb. 19 at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Sumter County. Students from Pasco, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus counties tested their knowledge on aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife while vying for a spot at state competition. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
  3. 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. [JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ  |  Times]
  4. Teacher Dequita Parker guides youngsters to lunch from the playground Sept. 20 at the PromiseLand Early Childhood Education Center in Tampa.
  5. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  6. Sen. Audrey Gibson, leader of the Florida Senate Democrats, introduces a bill in January to refocus the $900 million proposed for teacher pay into salaries for all public school employees. It's just one of many ideas still floating around Tallahassee relating to educator raises. [The Florida Channel]
  7. A small group of students were rushed inside a bus at dismissal at AMIKids on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 in Pinellas Park.  [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  8. 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. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
  9. 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
  10. 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. [MIKE STOCKER  |  AP]
  11. 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.
  12. 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. [The Florida Channel]