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  1. Gradebook

Florida education news: A big donation, school takeovers, renovation projects and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.

BIG GIFT: President Judy Genshaft is the one leaving the University of South Florida, but she’s also the one giving the parting gift — a $20 million donation for a new honors college on the Tampa campus.

TAKEOVER TIME? Frustrated by the slow pace of progress at several Duval County schools, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran suggests it might be time for his department to ask lawmakers for emergency takeover powers in such instances.

RENOVATION TIME: Pasco County’s Zephyrhills High School prepares for a multi-phase, multi-year overhaul aimed at making it like new.

TEACHERS WITH GUNS: Florida Board of Education member Michael Olenick calls the idea of allowing teachers to carry guns in schools as guardians “wrong” and commends districts that have rejected the model, WFSU reports. The Florida Democratic Party has launched an ad campaign urging more school districts to stay away from using teachers as guardians, Florida Politics reports.

ED AGENDA: Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to celebrate education policy victories during the legislative session, touting changes to the teacher bonus system during a visit to Palm Beach County, WPTV reports. At a Jacksonville stop, he cheered the expansion of the Gardiner scholarship program, Florida Politics reports.

SECURITY: The Citrus County school district nears completion of an agreement to keep sheriff’s deputies in schools for another year, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

TOP SCHOOL-RELATED EMPLOYEE: Bay County paraprofessional Beth Lucas, who works with students with autism, receives the state School-Related Employee of the Year award, the Panama City News Herald reports.

MORE MONEY: The president of Florida Polytechnic University declines a raise, noting other employees won’t be getting any, but accepts a 12 percent bonus, the Ledger reports.

NEVER MIND: A Lee County School Board member promised to call for an outside investigation into the district’s misuse of taxpayer funds. Then she declined to make the request, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

YOUR DIPLOMA IS IN THE MAIL: More than 100 seniors at an Orange County high school could be banned from their graduation ceremony because of a school prank, WFTV reports.

VOUCHERS: A Brevard County Republican lawmaker suggests Florida’s voucher program should have more accountability measures, Florida Today reports.

BUDGETS: The Sarasota County school district’s financial reserves won’t be as low as expected at the end of the year, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup