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Florida education news: Summer drills, student fees, teacher pay and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Hillsborough County high school football players have used summers to train and prepare for the fall season, including 7-vs-7 shown. The school district halted such activities this week after a Middleton High student died during conditioning drills. [Times | 2012]
Hillsborough County high school football players have used summers to train and prepare for the fall season, including 7-vs-7 shown. The school district halted such activities this week after a Middleton High student died during conditioning drills. [Times | 2012]
Published Jun. 13, 2019

SUMMER DRILLS: Hillsborough County high schools call off all summer sports activities after Middleton High School rising freshman Hezekiah B. Walters collapses during football conditioning and later dies. The district orders a sweeping review of safety procedures and student eligibility before workouts may continue. • The Marion County School Board cancels its superintendent’s mandate that marching bands not practice on their fields during the heat of summer, saying directors should use their best judgment, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

STUDENT FEES: Pasco County high school students could face higher parking charges as the school district considers increasing several student fees for the coming year.

TEACHER PAY: Negotiators for the Hillsborough County school district and teachers union explore revisions to the district’s pay scale, which has become increasingly uncompetitive over time.

TAXES: The Hernando County School Board takes initial steps toward calling a property tax increase referendum for 2020. The money could go toward improving salaries and boosting mental health services, among other possibilities. • Duval County government and school district leaders continue to debate logistics for calling a school sales tax referendum, the Florida Times-Union reports. District officials want the added revenue to pay for maintenance and construction projects. More from First Coast News. • The Clay County School Board ponders calling a half-cent sales tax referendum to support school improvements, Clay Today reports.

BUDGET: Gov. Ron DeSantis expects to sign the state budget with some line item vetoes soon after receiving it, the News Service of Florida reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A Collier County charter school with high-profile leadership faces an ultimatum from its Hillsdale College backers — dump the leaders or lose the college’s backing, the Naples Daily News reports. The charter, founded by former School Board members Kelly Lichter and Erika Donalds (who no longer is attached to the school), has been accused of mismanagement.

WATER SUPPLY: State Sen. Janet Cruz begins a fund-raising campaign to support removing the lead from water in Hillsborough County schools, Florida Politics reports. Cruz sponsored a bill to improve water supplies in schools statewide.

DRESS CODE: The Bay County school district relaxes its student clothing restrictions, acknowledging the constraints many families still feel after Hurricane Michael, the Panama City News Herald reports.

SCHOOL CHOICES: Some Manatee County schools prepare to launch new academic programs, such as dual language immersion and performing arts, to give children and families more options, the Bradenton Herald reports.

CLIMATE SURVEY: Citrus County school district leaders want more people to respond to their annual survey, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. "“If you’re complaining, this is your time to make a change,” board member Sandra Counts said.

HELPING HAND: Volusia County hotels have helped 49 schools with programs since joining the adopt-a-school program, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • The Bay County school district offers parents a free summer help line to connect families with meals, mental health services, camps and other activities, the Panama City News Herald reports.

EARLY RELEASE: The Duval County school district changes its early dismissal schedule for the next academic year, holding fewer days but letting students out earlier, the Florida Times-Union reports.

MISSING MEDS: A Walton County school nurse is under investigation after student medications go missing, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

TODAY: The state’s superintendents and school boards associations hold their annual summer conference in Tampa, at the Grand Hyatt.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. 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.
  2. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    A man university police believe was target shooting near campus was not located, the university said.
  3. Former state senator John Legg has not ruled out a run for Pasco County schools superintendent. The district is the nation's largest to elect its chief executive.
    Short answer: Maybe.
  4. But the competition isn’t who many people expected it to be.
  5. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. A point tally ranking the three finalists to be Hillsborough County's next school superintendent shows up on a screen in the School Board meeting room Thursday after a meeting that lasted most of the day. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times]
    The last round of interviews is set for Jan. 21.
  7. 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.
  8. 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]
    The PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee cutting exercise would come in nearly 25 percent below Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal.
  9. 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]
    Never intended to be used on children, the 1970s law in increasingly applied in schools.
  10. Assisted by the Ray and Associates search firm, the Hillsborough County School Board is hiring a new superintendent. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.