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Florida education news: Charter schools, school safety, homework notes and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Former Pasco County Corrections Officer Wendy Miller, 57 runs towards gunfire with instructor Chris Squitieri during active shooter drills taught by Pasco County Sheriff's Office at Charles S. Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes. Lawmakers continue to seek ways to make schools safer.  LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
Former Pasco County Corrections Officer Wendy Miller, 57 runs towards gunfire with instructor Chris Squitieri during active shooter drills taught by Pasco County Sheriff's Office at Charles S. Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes. Lawmakers continue to seek ways to make schools safer. LUIS SANTANA | Times
Published May 30, 2019

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Two Pasco County charter schools seek changes to their contracts, as part of initiatives to see them grow. • A new Hillsborough County charter high school focusing on projects and mentorships nears completion, Patch reports. • A Palm Beach County charter school chain relies more heavily than most on uncertified, lower paid substitutes to teach its classes, the Palm Beach Post reports.

LOOKING BACK: Hernando County schools saw leadership shifts, increased security, added career-technical options and more during an event-packed year that has now rolled to a close.

LEADERSHIP: Pasco County’s Zephyrhills High School gets a new principal — its second in a row from Fivay High.

SECURITY: Two Florida lawmakers with distinctly different political views find common ground on school safety issues while visiting Israel, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

HOMEWORK MESSAGE: A Bay County teacher finds trouble after writing “WTF?” on a student’s homework assignment, WJHG reports.

SOFTWARE PROJECT: A troubled Manatee County school district software installation initiative makes some positive progress, the Bradenton Herald reports.

SPECIAL VISITOR: An 8-foot alligator wanders across a Manatee County elementary school playground as students arrive for classes, the Bradenton Herald reports.

LAST-MINUTE TRANSFERS: The Indian River County school district’s new interim superintendent wants to take a closer look at four final personnel moves the former superintendent made just before his departure, TC Palm reports. One of the proposed changes has drawn strong criticism in the community.

NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL: A high performing Marion County elementary magnet school will offer more seats to students who live nearby, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. Children in the largely African-American community have been forced to go elsewhere because of a desegregation order.

ETHICS: A former Lee County School Board member files an ethics complaint against a current member, alleging misuse of confidential employee records, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

ANTI-SEMITISM: Gov. Ron DeSantis signs into law a measure requiring schools to treat anti-semitism the same as they treat racism, Florida Politics reports.

SUSPENDED SUPERINTENDENT: Suspended Okaloosa County superintendent Mary Beth Jackson stands up for her leadership during a two day hearing to review Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order to remove her, the News Service of Florida reports. The sitting interim superintendent also testifies, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT: An administrative assistant to the Sarasota County school district’s chief operating officer says she received threatening text messages from her boss after filing a complaint against him, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

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  2. From left, Don Haddad, Peter Licata and Addison Davis, all finalists for the job of Hillsborough County school superintendent, met Thursday with community members at Rampello K-8 School. The School Board will choose among the three on Tuesday. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times]
    Addison Davis, Don Haddad and Peter Licata outline their plans for the first 90 days.
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  8. Rep. Stan McClain, an Ocala Republican, presents a bill that would allow Florida public colleges and universities to sponsor charter schools, during a January 2020 meeting of the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    Alternative authorizers have been found unconstitutional in the past. But that isn’t stopping the effort.
  9. Thousands rallied and marched from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to the Florida Historic Capitol to demand more money for public schools Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Thousands of school workers from around the state thronged Florida's Capitol on Monday to press Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature to more than double the nearly $1 billion the governor is proposing for teacher raises and bonuses.  (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP) [TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER  |  AP]
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  10. Cocoa Police Department video shows A.J. Plonsky being taken to a mental health facility under the Florida Baker Act on his first day of middle school, August 10, 2018.  [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
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