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Florida education news: Student testing, school construction, public meetings and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Ninth-graders at Land O'Lakes High School wait in March 2015 to get started on the writing part of the Florida Standards Assessments. [Courtesy of Pasco County School District]
Published Jun. 20

TESTING: Saying the spring testing season caused too much stress in schools, Pasco County district leaders begin a review of all student assessments with an eye toward eliminating as many as possible.

CONSTRUCTION: Pinellas County schools see $158.5 million in improvement projects during the summer break. • Schools in Palm Beach County get summer updates, the Palm Beach Post reports.

PUBLIC MEETINGS: The Hillsborough County School Board decides to televise two upcoming workshops of high interest — its superintendent search and student discipline — breaking from recent practice of keeping the cameras off during working sessions where no votes are planned.

VOUCHERS: State Sen. Darryl Rouson will file legislation to bar schools that accept state vouchers or tax credit scholarships from discriminating against gay students. • Central Florida parents write letters to the Florida Department of Education criticizing the performance of private schools receiving tax credit scholarships. The department responds that it does not control private schools, and the parents are free to transfer their children, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

SCHOOL LEADERS: The annual principal shuffle continues in Pasco County, with Gulf Middle School getting a new principal.

SECURITY: Three more Florida school district adopt the state’s school armed guardian program, which now allows classroom teachers to participate, WJCT reports. St. Johns County officials note they plan to use only trained security guards. • Duval County school officials get an update on the status of security efforts, WJAX reports.

WORKFORCE TRAINING: Florida Chamber of Commerce look to apprenticeships to help prepare students for jobs after school, Florida Politics reports.

TAXES: The Duval County school district continues to refine its capital projects sales tax proposal as the Jacksonville City Council delays action on whether to place the issue before voters, First Coast News reports. • The Clay County School Board takes steps to call a sales tax referendum for school construction and maintenance projects, Clay Today reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: The Palm Beach County School Board reinstates Veterans Day as a student holiday, though it will remain a teacher work day, the Palm Beach Post reports.

COACHES’ PAY: Prosecutors find no criminal wrongdoing in allegations of improper payments to Santa Rosa County school athletic coaches, but suggest a lack of district oversight in the process, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS: A school serving one of Leon County’s poorest regions will become a community school offering additional health and social services to students and families, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

IN COURT: A lawyer threatens the Alachua County school district with a $100 million lawsuit connected to allegations of improper behavior within the district’s transportation department, WCJB reports.

EARLY LEARNING: The chair of Polk County’s Early Learning Coalition steps down amid concerns she exceeded her statutory term limit, the Ledger reports.

L-O-O-P-H-O-L-E: A Palm Beach County boy crashed the Scripps national spelling bee, participating without qualifying, the Palm Beach Post reports.

BAD ACTS: A fired Citrus County substitute teacher is sentenced to eight years for illicit interactions with two teen boys, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. 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.
  2. Henry "Shake" Washington is running for Hillsborough County School Board for the second time since 2018.
  3. 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.
  4. A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Olivia Pruna, a student at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center, practices with the school's drum line last year. The Pinellas County school district is asking parents and others for suggestions on ways to improve exceptional student education in the county. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  6. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  7. Steven Currall prepares to deliver an address during his investiture as the University of South Florida's seventh president Thursday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Though he started the job in July, Steve Currall is officially installed as president on his 137th day in office.
  8. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  9. Cotee River Elementary student Darrell Jones waves his American flag during the school's Veterans Day program.
    The School Board is scheduled to vote on the calendar next week.
  10. Pasco eSchool principal JoAnne Glenn is surprised by school district officials who announced she is their 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A discussion with Pasco County Principal of the Year JoAnne Glenn.
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