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Florida education news: Teacher pay, turnaround schools, student schedules and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
CHRIS URSO  |   Times
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks at Tampa Bay Academy Monday, April 15, 2019 in Tampa.
CHRIS URSO | Times Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks at Tampa Bay Academy Monday, April 15, 2019 in Tampa.
Published Jul. 18

TEACHER PAY: Saying recent increases to bonus funds and base student allocation weren’t enough, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran announces his administration will focus on boosting teacher pay in the coming year. State Board of Education member Michael Olenick urges the department to push for raises rather than another round of bonuses. • The department announces a new bonus program for highly rated teachers who work at D and F graded schools serving primarily low-income children, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TURNAROUNDS: The Florida Board of Education requires several school districts to select new external operators for their turnaround efforts, dissatisfied with their performance after one year’s work with schools that had persistently low test results. • The board approves a plan to shut down two struggling Duval County schools, the Florida Times-Union reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: Pinellas County superintendent Mike Grego leaves room to consider applying for the vacancy in Hillsborough County’s top school district job. • Okaloosa County superintendent MaryBeth Jackson, suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis, abandons her fight to keep her job, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie has cost the school district more than $6 million during his tenure, Forbes reports.

ARMED TEACHERS: The Pasco County School Board will consider a policy revision that appears to rule out allowing teachers to participate in the state’s school guardian program. Lawmakers allowed teachers to volunteer for the program, but gave the final decision to local officials.

STUDENT SCHEDULES: Hernando County high school seniors who meet certain academic criteria might be allowed to attend a reduced number of classes under a concept under School Board review. A key question centers on the potential for lost state funding under the model.

CONSTRUCTION WOES: A project in the Broward County school district’s trouble-plagued $800 million renovation plan hits another snag, as inspectors delay work at Stranahan High after 24 failed inspections, the Sun-Sentinel reports. With timeline.

MENTAL HEALTH: Florida public school students will receive at least five hours of mental health education beginning in sixth grade, following a new rule adopted by the State Board of Education, the News Service of Florida reports.

TIME TO GO? Education commissioner Richard Corcoran calls for the removal of a Manatee County charter school principal who recently had his state certification revoked, the Bradenton Herald reports. More from the Herald-Tribune.

COUNTER RALLIES: Two small groups rally outside the Florida Board of Education meeting in Polk County to state their cases for and against state policies on such issues as testing and vouchers, the Ledger reports.

CPR TRAINING: Florida school bus drivers are now required to receive CPR and first aid training, under a newly adopted state rule, WFTS reports.

VIRTUAL SCHOOL: Florida Virtual School gets a new leader with a $175,000 pay package, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The state recently took over the school amid reports of mismanagement.

DRIVER EDUCATION: Jackson County’s Marianna High restores its driver education program after years without it, WTXL reports.

SCHOOL GRADES: Gulf County school district officials are reconsidering whether to ask the state for a waiver of their student test scores, which had been available after Hurricane Michael’s devastation, the Port St. Joe Star reports. No Gulf school scored lower than a C.

HELPING HAND: The Clay County Education Foundation, which supports local teachers and schools, gets its first paid employee in 30 years, Clay Today reports.

BUS INFO: The Polk County school district opens a transportation communication center to answer parent questions about bus routes and related issues, the Ledger reports.

CLEAN WATER: State Sen. Janet Cruz launches an online campaign to raise money for water filters in Hillsborough County schools, Florida Politics reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins, shown at Mort Elementary School in 2016, is retiring effective June 30. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
    Jeff Eakins, the current superintendent, is retiring, effective June 30.
  2. Hillsborough county parents can check the district's website for their child's bus route and their school's bus schedule. Visit sdhc.k12.fl.us, click the link under "Preparing for Back to School," then find the links for "Bus Schedule" and "Bus Availability." For more information, call (813) 982-5500. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
    Our running list of the candidates to replace superintendent Jeff Eakins includes top educators with a wide range of experience.
  3. Tricia McManus, an assistant superintendent for the Hillsborough County School District, rolled out the district's new Achievement Zone plan for struggling schools at a community meeting in 2018. The word "zone" was removed early on. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
    Tricia McManus will become a deputy superintendent in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  4. A vigil at Pine Trails Park in Parkland for victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Credit: Al Diaz, Miami Herald
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Some schools have already closed for the holidays, but everyone should be off by the end of the day Dec. 20. [Times (2015)]
    Some schools are closing for the holidays this week; others won’t be done for a few days. Then it’s lights out until early January.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.”
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