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Florida education news: Academic focus, teaching jobs, plans for growth and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times (From left) Caleb Asher, Mckenzie Semler, Jordan McClellan, Jaylen Wharton, and PJ Knight take notes in Jeannette Teeden's classroom at Durant High School in Plant City on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Published Jun. 17

PRIORITIES: The incoming president of Florida’s superintendents association wants the group to spend more time talking about improving student academic performance. “In the last two years, we have had very little conversation at our meetings about student achievement,” said Pasco County superintendent Kurt Browning. “We need to bring it back into balance.”

NOW HIRING: The Hillsborough County school district will hold its first job fair for all categories of employees, as it seeks hundreds of new hires.

GROWTH PLANS: The University of Florida seeks funding for $2.2 billion in campus construction projects, as it aims to become a top 5 national university, the Associated Press reports.

SPORTS SAFETY: High schools in and around Leon County redouble their efforts to keep student-athletes hydrated and healthy during summer workouts, after a Tampa student died during football drills, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

VOUCHERS: Lawyers for voucher opponents seek plaintiffs for an expected lawsuit to challenge Florida’s new ‘scholarship’ program, Florida Phoenix reports.

CAMPUS SECURITY: North Florida school districts look for ways to protect students and employees within their financial resources, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • A former physical education teacher quits teaching to become a school resource officer, now in Santa Rosa County, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

GETTING THERE: The Department of Transportation will add crosswalks with signals on busy International Speedway Boulevard to make it easier to get to Volusia County’s Mainland High School, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: The Palm Beach County school district prepares a temporary school site in Boca Raton to house students as new permanent classrooms are built throughout the area, the Palm Beach Post reports. Hurdles to construction on one of the district’s chosen sites are now removed, the Post reports.

TAXES: Duval County school district officials say they want to get rid of portable classrooms, but need added sales tax revenue to make it happen, the Florida Times-Union reports. The district is battling with the county government over the possibility of a sales tax referendum.

BAD BLOOD: A former Manatee County top administrator uses her job interview in Montana to detail her concerns with her past employer, the Bradenton Herald reports.

HEARING HARASSMENT: A lawyer for a Sarasota County family accuses the school district of using ‘legal harassment’ to complicate a hearing over a child’s special education services, the Herald-Tribune reports.

FDOE BOUND: The principal of a Marion County elementary school that has received five consecutive D grades from the state is picked to work in the state education department’s office that helps struggling schools, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

MARCHING FOR TEACHERS: At least 100 Brevard County students rally in support of increased teacher pay, and say they will continue to pressure their School Board to create an acceptable plan, Florida Today reports.

OVERTURNED: Indian River County’s interim superintendent reverses a controversial administrative transfer imposed by the former district leader, TC Palm reports.

CIVICS LESSONS: A Lake County Republican group donates books about the Constitution and Declaration of Independence to seventh grade civics classes, the Daily Commercial reports.

THERAPY: Some Broward County students and educators learn to heal themselves when dealing with stress and trauma, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A denied Volusia County charter school applicant appeals the district’s decision to the state, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • The principal of an embattled Collier County charter school resigns, the Naples Daily News reports.

BAD ACTS: An Alachua County school bus driver is arrested on accusations of molesting a young student, the Associated Press reports. • A Miami-Dade County former assistant principal is arrested on allegations of killing a former co-worker at the school where they both worked, the Miami Herald reports. • A St. Johns County middle school is removed after an investigation showed he failed to take seriously parent complaints about a teacher’s inappropriate behavior, the St. Augustine Record reports.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School in 2018.  [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Reading proficiency, however, continues to be a challenge.
  2. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
  3. Damian J. Fernandez, center, is introduced Monday as the new president of Eckerd College. He will succeed longtime president Donald R. Eastman III on July 1. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Damian Fernandez, 62, will succeed president Donald R. Eastman III, who steps down June 30 after leading the school for 19 years.
  4. The Florida Department of Education has approved another alternate assessment for third graders to demonstrate they read at or above grade level.
    The state also reminds schools to let those who struggle that scholarships for help are available.
  5. Trump supporters yell and show the middle finger at hecklers during Kimberly Guilfoyle's speech in the University Auditorium at the University of Florida on October 10, 2019. Guilfoyle spoke about her childhood as a first-generation American, her experiences as a lawyer and her support for the Trump family.  CHRIS DAY  |  Chris Day
    Student senator Ben Lima explains why he’s pursuing the charges against Michael Murphy.
  6. A fledgling movement of parents and community members in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are speaking out about sex education in public schools. They say the curriculums are not explicit enough. And they worry that kids don’t have enough information — or that they get it too late — to protect themselves against the risks of sexual intimacy. [Shutterstock] SHUTTERSTOCK
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
  8. Henry "Shake" Washington is running for Hillsborough County School Board for the second time since 2018.
  9. Representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco, on the left, present their latest pay request to the district's bargaining team during talks on Oct. 24, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Officials from both sides say a deal could emerge as early as next week.
  10. A roundup of stories from around the state.
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