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Florida education news: Legislative plans, school leadership, board meetings and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, addresses a joint session of the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee on March 5. (SCOTT KEELER | Times)
Published May 24

7 PERCENT TO GO: Gov. Ron DeSantis got 93 percent of his education agenda through the Florida Legislature this year, leading commissioner Richard Corcoran to call the session “amazing.”

NOT GUILTY PLEA: A Pinellas County teacher who was arrested and fired after law enforcement found she had a loaded gun and other weapons in her backpack pleads not guilty to misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon at school.

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: Two veteran Pasco County school principals announce their retirements as the academic year ends.

AFTER-MEETINGS: The Lee County School Board discontinues its post-meeting meetings, which had been criticized for their lack of transparency, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

TURNAROUNDS: The Duval County school district’s plans for improving several long-struggling schools come under attack by the state, the Florida Times-Union reports.

WALKING HOME: Some Hillsborough County parents complain about an anti-abortion activist confronting their children outside a middle school as they walk home, WFTS reports.

TEST SCORES: Florida State University officials say new SAT adversity scores helped diversify the school’s next class of students, Florida Daily reports.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Outgoing Indian River County superintendent Mark Rendell says he met his goals in the job, even if people don’t know it, TC Palm reports.

SECURITY: The cost of school security in Marion County rises to $4.6 million a year, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

TAXES: An oversight committee continues to debate how revenue from a Manatee County school district property tax can be spent, the Bradenton Herald reports.

THREE FOR THREE: All three siblings of a Coral Gables family graduate as their class valedictorian and head to Stanford University, the Miami Herald reports.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: A Flagler County School Board member agrees to pay a $500 fine for minor violations on her financial disclosure form, Flagler Live reports.

BAD ACTS: A Lake County high school coach is arrested on charges of possessing child pornography, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • A Broward County special education assistant, recently removed from a classroom amid accusations of berating students with autism, had a record of striking students as discipline, the Miami Herald reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  2. Jeff Eakins and MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough's last two superintendents, were hired from inside the school system. So have all others since 1967. Times staff
    Go to the school district website before 8 a.m. Monday to state your case.
  3. Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, urges the Florida Board of Education to hold schools accountable for teaching the Holocaust and African-American history, as required by lawmakers in 1994. The board was considering a rule on the matter at its Sept. 20, 2019, meeting in Jacksonville. The Florida Channel
    School districts will have to report how they are providing the instruction required in Florida law.
  4. The Pasco County school district would rezone the Seven Oaks subdivision from the Wiregrass Ranch High feeder pattern to the Cypress Creek High feeder pattern, beginning in the 2020-21 school year. Pasco County school district
    The Seven Oaks subdivision is the primary target for rezoning.
  5. Fortify Florida is a new app that allows for anonymous reporting of suspected school threats. Florida Department of Education
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning says Fortify Florida, the new state-sponsored app that allows students to report potential threats, is "disrupting the education day" because the callers are anonymous, many of the tips are vague and there's no opportunity to get more information from tipsters. "I have an obligation to provide kids with a great education," Browning said. "I cannot do it with this tool, because kids are hiding behind Fortify Florida." JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    Vague and anonymous tips often waste law enforcement’s time and disrupt the school day, says Kurt Browning, president of Florida’s superintendents association.
  7. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
  8. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    School security and early learning get top billing in the first committee meetings of the looming 2020 session.
  9. This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.