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  1. Gradebook

Gradebook podcast: School vouchers in Florida. With Step Up For Students president Doug Tuthill

Students already are qualifying for new private school vouchers. Could education savings accounts be next?
Step Up For Students president Doug Tuthill speaks at Florida College Academy in Temple Terrace in 2017. [Step Up For Students]
Published Jun. 20

Growth in contributions to Florida’s tax credit scholarship program slowed to the point where supply no longer met the growing demand for assistance to attend private schools. State lawmakers responded by putting millions of taxpayer funds into a new school voucher program, to help bridge the gap.

And they show no signs of stopping their efforts to expand initiatives aimed at providing alternatives to traditional public schools.

Doug Tuthill, president of scholarship funding organization Step Up For Students, sees even less restrictive education savings accounts as the logical next step.

Tuthill, whose group influences state policy on vouchers and related measures, discusses with reporter Jeff Solochek the trajectory of the state’s “choice” model and his rationale as a liberal for participating in the Republican-led push, which has lately has gained more bipartisan support.

Related: Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill allowing private school vouchers

Related: Vouchers ‘fertile ground’ for Florida education lawyers, noted attorney says

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2018) Hernando County School District office, 919 N Broad St., Brooksville
    Hernando County debates the pros and cons of superintendent John Stratton’s recommendation.
  4. 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]
    A new proposal also aims to strengthen programs at the university’s St. Petersburg and Sarasota locations.
  5. Fifth grade teacher Michelle Brandon is one of four Hudson Elementary School teachers to be removed after two weeks of classes because of her state VAM score. Here she reviews classroom rules with students on the first day of school 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. [SKIP O'ROURKE   | Times]
    It’s unclear if there will be any proposed changes to this method for measuring teachers’ impact on their students’ performance, despite complaints.
  7. A deputy's Sig Sauer P320, similar to this Glock 19, discharged in the cafeteria of a Wesley Chapel school April 30. The bullet lodged in the wall behind him. The deputy has been fired.
    Cpl. Jonathan Cross was lifting his pistol up and down out of its holster when it went off, Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
  8. Shirley Joseph is named superintendent of Madison County public schools. Madison County school district
    The previous superintendent resigned amid conflicts with the School Board.
  9. In this image from a Pinellas County school district video, former School Board member Lee Benjamin motions to someone he knows while sitting with family members during at 2013 ceremony to name the Northeast High School gymnasium in his honor. Mr. Benjamin was the school's first basketball coach in 1954 and later became Northeast's principal in a long career with Pinellas schools that included 14 years on the School Board. He died Wednesday at age 92. Pinellas County Schools
    A teacher, coach and principal at Northeast High, he rose to district administrator and served on the School Board. Mr. Benjamin died Wednesday at age 92.
  10. Hillsborough County School Board member Melissa Snively Times staff
    Board member Melissa Snively wanted to honor a community pioneer.
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