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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, 2019

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.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Students participate in the first ever, Unity Walk to commemorate the iconic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 in Clearwater.  [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  2. MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE   |   Times [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times (2018)]
    Fifth Third Bank announced on Twitter that its financial contributions would end “until more inclusive policies have been adopted.”
  3. Pinellas high school students march alongside Lynda Blackmon Lowery, center, during Tuesday's Unity Walk in Clearwater to commemorate the iconic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. “Use your power," Lowery told the students. "Use your voice.” [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
    With chants of "mighty, mighty children” they summoned lessons from the civil rights era in search of inspiration for the future.
  4. Rep. Bobby DuBose says he hopes 2020 will be the year the Florida Legislature limits the use of restraint and seclusion on students with special needs who grow violent. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘I pray to God this year will be the year,’ sponsor Rep. Bobby DuBose says.
  5. State Senate Education Appropriations chairwoman Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, unveils her chamber's 2020-21 education budget proposal during a brief committee meeting on Jan. 28, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Sen. Kelli Stargel suggests the state should meet Gov. Ron DeSantis’ minimum salary goal ‘over the next several years.’
  6. Florida lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at improving the outcomes of the state's prekindergarten program. Some critics suggest the proposed solutions, such as added testing, go too far.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    The 148-page bill would lead to a new ‘grading’ system for prekindergarten providers, so parents can better choose programs for their toddlers.
  8. Pasco County's Fivay High School has added new security measures to keep the peace on campus. [JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
    Parents want to see more control of the campus.
  9. Hillsborough County Chief of Schools Harrison Peters, speaking with students here at Potter Elementary School, is a the choice to become superintendent of Providence, R.I., schools. [Times file (2016)]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools in Hillsborough County, has landed a job as superintendent in Providence, R.I. [HCPS  |  Handout]
    Peters will become a turnaround superintendent at a troubled district.
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