1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Teacher bonuses, summer camp, student vaccinations and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Broward County preschool teachers Emily Wiskoff and Merrill Galante ask the Florida House PreK-12 Appropriations committee on March 25, 2019, to include them as classroom teachers when assigning incentives and other benefits, such as the Best and Brightest bonus. [The Florida Channel]
Broward County preschool teachers Emily Wiskoff and Merrill Galante ask the Florida House PreK-12 Appropriations committee on March 25, 2019, to include them as classroom teachers when assigning incentives and other benefits, such as the Best and Brightest bonus. [The Florida Channel]
Published Jul. 17

BONUSES: Another lawsuit is filed against the state’s Best and Brightest teacher bonus, this time focusing on the distribution of funds. The class action suit — this time notably not filed by the Florida Education Association — alleges that teachers were shortchanged in the amount they received because of Department of Education instructions to withhold employer tax contributions, decreasing the award below the statutorily set level.

CEASE AND DESIST: The Pasco County school district will change the name of its new summer camp program after receiving a warning letter from another organization that claims ownership of the name.

MASCOTS: The Hillsborough County School Board takes steps to revise its rules for changing school mascots, after getting blowback for the administration’s handling of a proposal to remove Native American mascots at six schools.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Four Manatee County schools avoid the heavy hammer of state turnaround requirements after boosting their state grades, based largely on test results, the Bradenton Herald reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: Palm Beach County students will return to classes on Aug. 10 despite parent complaints that the date is too early, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY: A Polk County family pushes for school bus drivers to have CPR and first aid training after their daughter died of a medical condition on a bus, Fox 13 reports. The State Board of Education will consider such a rule at its meeting today.

TAXES: The Jacksonville City Council puts off a vote on whether to allow the Duval County School Board to hold a sales tax special election in November, Florida Politics reports. More from the Florida Times-Union.

VACCINATIONS: The Citrus County school district reminds parents that seventh graders will not be allowed back in school without their required shots, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

HEALTH SERVICES: The Bay County school district inks new agreements to provide student health services after canceling its deal with the health department, WJHG reports.

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: Lee County’s newest high school gets its first principal, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. • Two Hillsborough County schools get new principals.

CAMPUS SECURITY: The Marion County school district officially launches its own police department, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: A federal court rejects a Broward County family’s claim that the school district failed to follow their child’s individualized education plan, the People for the American Way blog reports.

SEEKING INFLUENCE: The new South Florida Business Council aims to promote educational policy and other changes, WLRN reports.

PROTEST: A group of parents plans to rally outside the State Board of Education meeting, the Orlando Sentinel reports. They say the state is “starving public schools.”

DISTRICT OFFICES: The St. Lucie County school district will debut new administration headquarters, TC Palm reports.

SECOND CHANCES: Two dozen Bay County teens complete their graduation requirements during summer school, the Panama City News Herald reports.

SCHOOL SAFETY: Parents who send their children to Sarasota County’s school for severely disabled students demand changes to policies guiding student management, saying the school has become dangerous, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

COMING UP: The State Board of Education meets today at Polk State College Turnaround plans for several districts, including Hillsborough, Polk and Duval, are on the agenda.


  1. This Feb. 19 photo shows a makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and faculty were killed in a mass shooting in Parkland. [AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File]
    The grand jury said districts are creating “unnecessary chaos” and have become “experts at data manipulation.”
  2. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis with Hillsborough Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Sheriff Chad Chronister speaking at Hillsborough High School on Thursday, Dec. 12. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff]
    If students feel supported, educators say, schools will be safer and more productive
  3. Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg, presents his bill on civics education to the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee on Dec. 11, 2019. The legislation received unanimous bipartisan support. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport,’ sponsor Rep. Ben Diamond reminds colleagues.
  4. Haley Manigold, second from left, and Armwood High School classmates Maria Medina and Madison Harvey take a photo with Sen. Tom Lee, who is sponsoring their legislation, and teacher Tony Pirotta.  They presented their bill in the Senate Education Committee on Dec. 9, 2019. [EMILY L. MAHONEY  |  Times Staff]
    Armwood High senior Haley Manigold discusses her effort to convince lawmakers to adopt testing legislation.
  5. Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
    Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, said she thinks Republican leaders want to keep the number under wraps because it points to the controversial program’s “failure.”
  6. DIRK SHADD   |   Times
DL Tre'von Riggins (98) on the field during spring football practice at Lakewood High School in in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. In this file photo, Lakewood High School defensive lineman Tre'von Riggins (98) takes a moment during a spring football practice last April. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    Measures to prevent heatstroke deaths were among the key items in a bill that unanimously passed its first committee on Wednesday.
  8. 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 School Board will consider a $2.2 million package at its Dec. 17 meeting.
  9. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times Hernando County School District
    School Board members agree it’s not the best way to save money.
  10. Osceola Middle School civics teacher Mike Rivera of Largo does his vampire act to teach his seventh-grade students about the Bill of Rights recently.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.