1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Test scores, teacher pay, alternative school and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Florida third graders must pass the state's annual reading test, or qualify for an exemption, to advance to fourth grade. [Dirk Shadd | Times]
Published Jun. 19

TEST SCORES: After years of improvement, Hernando County’s third grade reading scores took a slight downturn in the spring. Some parents worried. District officials said they’re looking into the reasons, but cautioned everyone not to panic. • A new National Bureau of Economic Research study of Florida public school students suggests that children exposed to air pollution are more likely to score lower on tests and also to be suspended from school, NC Policy Watch reports.

TEACHER PAY: Pasco County school district leaders revive a plan to boost teacher salaries by scaling back the number of teachers and having them lead more classes each day.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: An education research think tank warns against giving a state report on charter school test results too much — or too little — credence as proof that the schools are better than their district counterparts.

ALTERNATIVES: The management transition for a Hernando County alternative school goes more smoothly than expected, but more work remains.

SUPERINTENDENTS: The Volusia County School Board picks retired principal Tim Egnor as its interim superintendent, WFTV reports. Former state education commissioner Pam Stewart backed out at the last minute, amid concerns she had not spent enough time out of the state’s employ to qualify, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • The Flagler County School Board chairwoman stuns her colleagues and superintendent by calling for a new superintendent search, Flagler Live reports. • Charlotte County’s superintendent gets a raise, the Charlotte Sun reports. • The Broward County School Board rejects a proposal to make it more difficult for them to fire their superintendent, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

BOOK CHALLENGE: The Marion County school district investigates tea party complaints about the content of certain novels and makes recommendations about which titles should remain in schools, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Lake Wales charter school system moves to sue the Polk County school district over construction funding and student records, the Ledger reports.

CELL PHONES: The Sarasota County School Board advances a new policy to restrict student cell phone use in schools, stating they should be put away during school hours unless teachers authorize them for instructional purposes, the Herald-Tribune reports.

TAXES: The Duval County school district’s plan for a fall 2019 sales tax referendum dims, as government leaders lean toward a 2020 vote, the Florida Times-Union reports. More from Florida Politics.

OUT OF OFFICE: The Sarasota County school district’s chief operating officer, facing allegations of harassment, is placed on administrative leave, WWSB reports. More from the Herald-Tribune.

BRIGHT FUTURES: Gov. Ron DeSantis signs into law a measure making it harder to earn a Bright Futures scholarship, the News Service of Florida reports. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION: A new federal report finds many school districts in Florida and elsewhere underreport the use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities, Education Week reports.

KIDS COUNT: The latest Kids County report says the quality of life has worsened for Florida children, though their education ranking remained unchanged, the Herald-Tribune reports.

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: Seven Lake County schools get new principals, the Daily Commercial reports. • Three Leon County schools get new principals, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

BUDGET CUTS: The Madison County school district streamlines its staffing to meet its budget constraints, WCTV reports.

OUT OF BUSINESS: Parents who sent their children to a recently shuttered Polk County private school struggle to obtain their students’ official records, WFTS reports.

EXPANSION PLANS: The Martin County School Board makes another payment toward its purchase of the old Stuart News complex for administrative offices, TC Palm reports. • A Polk County Montessori school wins permission to add new buildings that will let its enrollment grow, the Ledger reports. • A proposed new middle school for the Palm Beach County community of Boynton Beach, once rejected by the state because of nearby open student seats, is back on track, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

JOB TRAINING: The Leon County school district and Tallahassee Community College reach an agreement to improve workforce development programs, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

BAD ACTS: A St. Lucie County high school teacher is accused of stealing more than $3,000 from her students, TC Palm reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. 28 minutes ago• Gradebook
    Hillsborough High School Senior Anthony Allen with principal Gary Brady, Principal U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine Sullivan, and schools superintendent Jeff Eakins. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    Hillsborough accepts its share of a federal grant.
  2. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    Steve Hegarty spent 10 years as Hillsborough schools public information officer before taking the police department post.
  3. Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, left, looks on while school board chair Tammy Shamburger speaks on newly raised concerns of a undiscovered cemetery for indigent African Americans that may be within the vicinity of King High School in Tampa, Florida on Friday, October 18, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. Joanne Glenn, Pasco eSchool principal, addresses the eSchool faculty on opening day of teacher preplanning week in 2018. Pasco eSchool is launching its first online dual-enrollment courses in conjunction with Pasco-Hernando State College in the second semester.  GAIL DIEDERICH | Special to the Times
    Students will have access to two sections of two courses — microapplications and public speaking.
  5. Challenger K-8 School students, from left, Jeremy Gonzalez, 13, Jackson Hoyt, 12, Benjamin Harper, 12, and Gianni Labdar, 12, finish meals consisting of fresh salads, quesadillas and nachos during a lunch service on Oct. 15 at the school in Spring Hill during the county's Fresh from Florida Plate Day event. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Starting a farm-to-school initiative has been more complicated than district officials expected.
  6. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
    Legislators who were critical of the original plan say a new approach revealed Thursday is more in line with their expectations.
  7. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  8. Meaghan Leto, (center facing street), a speech therapist from Twin Lakes Elementary, protests over pay with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of a School Board meeting.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. 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
    As expected, the union rejected the district’s plan to add work for middle and high school teachers in exchange for more money.
  10. Pinellas County teachers and their allies rallied at major intersections in 2012 to protest legislative proposals. [Jim Damaske, Times]
    Details are still scant, but the House’s tone was one of being fiscally cautious as they evaluate DeSantis’ pitch to raise base teacher pay.