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Florida education news: university admissions, liability concerns, construction money and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
At a time when getting into a Florida public university is harder than ever, some lower performing students are still being admitted, the Orlando Sentinel reports. [Times (2017)]
Published Jul. 3

EXCEPTIONS: Nearly 1,000 students who lacked the grades or test scores to get into Florida’s four-year universities were admitted and enrolled in the fall 2018 freshman class, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The admissions are occurring at a time when it’s harder than ever to get into the state’s public universities.

COURT WATCH: A coalition of smaller school districts in the panhandle is watching closely as the Florida Supreme Court considers whether to uphold a $300,000 limit on the Broward County School Board’s potential liability in the Parkland school shooting, the Pensacola News Journal reports. A ruling against Broward could have a “devastating” financial impact on small districts, the coalition says in a court brief.

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS: The Clay County School Board, faced with broken air conditioners, roof repairs and other problems, has approved a resolution that brings the district closer to asking voters for a half-cent sales tax, Clay Today reports. ... After months of meetings, the Duval County School Board votes 5-1 to approve a 23-page master plan containing $1.9 billion in recommended school improvements, the Florida Times-Union reports.

HOLDING BACK: The Manatee County school district has accused a financially troubled charter school, Lincoln Memorial Academy, of failing to comply with document requests, the Bradenton Herald reports.

VOUCHER WARS: Following a column by Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel, who criticized schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students while receiving state vouchers, redefinED reports on some of the pushback. A pastor from one of the schools mentioned says outdated discriminatory language has been removed from its website.

MORE ACCESS: Daytona State College and the University of Florida have reached an agreement that allows some Daytona State students to be admitted to the university, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

LAWSUIT: An African-American teacher who was fired by the Volusia County School Board is suing for racial discrimination, saying the district rescinded an offer to teach high school French and offered the position to a white teacher instead, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

SCHOLARSHIPS: The city of Lakeland celebrates Washington Park-Rochelle High School Alumni Association Day, acknowledging the group’s fundraising efforts to provide college scholarships for the area’s brightest black students, the Lakeland Ledger reports.

SORRY, NO: School officials in Escambia County have rejected a $2.3 million grant for the district’s workforce development program, saying the nonprofit group awarding the grant has changed the terms of a contract, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

REACHING HIGHER: Trinity Catholic School in Tallahassee has been accepted as a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years program and is pursuing authorization as an IB World School, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

MORE SCORES: Media reports continue to pour in on Friday’s release of 2018-19 test score results. The Port Charlotte Sun says Charlotte County students met or exceeded most state averages on standardized test scores in 2019. ... The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that test scores were up in most categories for Flagler County students. The Lakeland Ledger reports that Polk County students lag behind statewide averages. ... And TCPalm reports that St. Lucie County students improved in English language arts, biology and geometry, but dropped in their math scores compared to last year.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  2. 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
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.
  3. Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia holds a back-to-school press conference at Rampello K-8 School, [TIMES files]
    MaryEllen Elia, who led the Hillsborough district from 2005 to 2015, has been an educator since 1970.
  4. Jeff Eakins and MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough's last two superintendents, were hired from inside the school system. So have all others since 1967. [TIMES FILES] Times staff
    Two more public meetings are planned, and the online survey is up until Saturday.
  5. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    The board’s 2019-20 budget totals $1.39 billion.
  6. The DeLucio family of Trinity toured the Mitchell High School campus and showed the visit on their YouTube channel, which has more than 1 million subscribers. Many parents, students and school officials were not amused. YouTube
    The proposed policy comes up for a vote on Oct. 1.
  7. United School Employees of Pasco president Don Peace denounces the school district's pay raise proposal in a YouTube video sent to all district employees Sept. 9, 2019. United School Employees of Pasco
    The local teachers union already has denounced the idea.
  8. Goodwill's BookWorks preschool literacy program strives to instill a love of reading and helps provide children books.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace has 183 more students this school year than last. Middle schools grew in enrollment this year, while elementary schools lost more than 1,200 students.  [Times | 2013]
    The 20 day count shows ever more crowding in southeast Hillsborough.
  10. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    Gov. Ron DeSantis also had set a priority of getting more youngsters ready for kindergarten.
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