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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]
Published Jun. 13

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. The Pasco County school district is considering an increase in substitute teacher pay to combat its low fill rate for the jobs.
    District officials say more competitive wages could help fill vacancies, which have been rising.
  2. JoAnne Glenn is cheered by her staff as deputy superintendent Ray Gadd and other district officials surprise her with the announcement that she is Pasco County's 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    JoAnne Glenn next will be entered for the statewide honor.
  3. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning briefly blocked a critic from his social media accounts. He has since restored access to the person but says he would rather they have a conversation, “like two grown adults.” [Times (2016)]
    Kurt Browning restored his online nemesis as a Twitter follower and Facebook friend after staffers told him that blocking people was a no-no.
  4. Shawn Tye, left, applies fiberglass to a boat console as Dustin Pirko looks at Marchman Technical Education Center. Hernando’s business development manager says that in creating a technical school an effort would be made not to duplicate Marchman.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Sen. Travis Hutson presents his Job Growth Grant Fund legislation to the Senate Education Committee on Nov. 12, 2019. The Florida Channel
    The original version would have targeted charter schools only.
  6. A flag supporting President Donald Trump flutters near the University of Florida's Century Tower before an Oct. 10 appearance on campus by Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle. A controversy over the political nature of the event has led to calls for the impeachment of Student Body President Michael C. Murphy, who helped set it up. Courtesy of Chris Day
    A push to oust Student Body President Michael Murphy comes after an email surfaces, suggesting he worked with the Trump campaign to bring a political speech to campus.
  7. Odessa Elementary School in Pasco County has grown to 1,126 students in fall 2020. Pasco County school district
    At 1,126 students, Odessa is larger than 10 of the district’s 16 middle schools, too.
  8. Construction workers have prepared the skeleton for what will become the music and art wing of Cypress Creek Middle School in Pasco County. Some Wesley Chapel parents are fighting the rezoning plan that would reassign their children to the school.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. The Pasco County School Board meets in August 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK
    Having won a concession relating to rising juniors, some Wesley Chapel families seek more changes to a proposed reassignment plan.
  10. A school bus travels the early morning streets. One Marion County elementary school will change its start time because some parents say they can't get their kids to school before the first bell.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.