Florida education news: Kindergarten readiness, teacher certification, school safety and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said nearly 75 percent of Florida parents rely on the state's Voluntary Prekindergarten program, and vowed to improve it. [Times (2004)]
Gov. Ron DeSantis said nearly 75 percent of Florida parents rely on the state's Voluntary Prekindergarten program, and vowed to improve it. [Times (2004)]
Published May 16

PRE-K CHALLENGE: Gov. Ron DeSantis calls for improvements to Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten program, citing data that 42 percent of children leave the program unprepared for kindergarten. The voter-approved VPK system provides vouchers for families to use at private or public pre-k centers.

CERTIFICATION: The Florida Department of Education announces it has cleared a backlog of thousands of teacher certification applications.

SECURITY TECH: The Hernando County school district adopts a new system aimed at streamlining communication during emergencies, amid concerns that reliance on the technology could come at a price.

HOLDING OUT HOPE: Pasco County’s Lacoochee Elementary, spared from closure despite shrinking enrollment, hasn’t seen its numbers rise since learning it could remain open. But some community leaders say some new initiatives could soon emerge to help turn the area around.

START TIMES: Ten Pasco County schools could see their bell schedules shift — nine of them to start classes even earlier. • Charlotte County students will be in school 30 minutes longer each day beginning in the fall, the Charlotte Sun reports.

SAVE OUR SCHOOLS: A group of parents, teachers and supporters march in support of public education in Martin County, WPTV reports. A similar rally takes place in Collier County, the Naples Daily News reports. Gulf County residents also gathered to call for improved funding for schools, the Port St. Joe Star reports.

REVENUE SHARING: Gov. Ron DeSantis signs into law a measure that requires school districts to share future property tax referendum revenue with charter schools, WLRN reports.

TEACHERS WITH GUNS: Several Citrus County parents and educators tell their School Board not to even think about it, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

IMPACT FEES: Santa Rosa County school district leaders urge county government officials to support school impact fees or allow the district to reject new housing developments, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. More from the Northwest Florida Daily News.

STEM LESSONS: A Leon County school gets three new labs to expand its STEM opportunities, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? A merged Manatee County K-8 school will keep the name of veteran educator Louise Johnson, at students’ request, the Bradenton Herald reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: The St. Johns County school district prepares to close on property for a new high school site, the St. Augustine Record reports.

WHAT NOT TO WEAR: The Indian River County School Board eases year-old dress code restrictions after receiving a multitude of complaints, TC Palm reports.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE: The Polk County school district revises its processes and response system for student behavior and discipline issues, the Ledger reports.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: Volusia County schools face a federal investigation into allegations of discrimination against students with disabilities, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

BAD ACTS: A Lake County private school dean of students is fired and under investigation over accusations he had sex with a student, WFTV reports. • An Orange County middle school administrator is suspended and under investigation amid allegations he molested several students, WKMG reports.

TODAY: First Lady Casey DeSantis will make a “major announcement” at Roland Park K-8 Magnet School in Tampa, 9 a.m.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup