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Florida education news: Principals, free speech, courtesy busing and more

Plant High principal Johnny Bush
Plant High principal Johnny Bush
Published Aug. 14, 2017

LEADERSHIP: Across the nation, the average tenure of a school principal is three to four years. At Plant High School in south Tampa, the principals last a bit longer. So it came as big news when Johnny Bush became the school's first new leader in a decade, replacing Rob Nelson, who won promotion to a district-level post. "We're thrilled to have him," said Connie Mayts, president of Plant's Parent Teacher Student Association.

DRIVERS WANTED: Tampa Bay area school districts try new approaches to fill school bus driver jobs.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: A planned talk by "alt-right" activist Richard Spencer is raising concerns at the University of Florida.

COURTESY BUSING: The Martin County School Board reverses its plan to eliminate bus rides for students living closer than 2 miles to school, TC Palm reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: Six new public schools will open in Orange County, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • The Escambia County school district prepares to draw new attendance zones in advance of opening two new schools in 2018, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • The Okaloosa School Board looks into building a high school in Destin, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • A charter school group plans to expand into Sarasota County, the Herald-Tribune reports.

TEACHER DISCIPLINE: Two Broward County teachers are fined and placed on probation for referring to students of Middle Eastern descent as "terrorists," the Miami Herald reports.

#HB 7069: Two Manatee County School Board members with ties to Gov. Rick Scott aim to use political influence rather than a lawsuit to encourage changes to Florida's new, controversial education law, the Bradenton Herald reports.

$10,000 DEGREES: Two central Florida colleges fail to come through on Gov. Rick Scott's mission to offer students degrees for $10,000 or less, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

SICK SCHOOL: An Indian River County elementary school gets a deep cleaning after a discovery of mold in several classrooms, TC Palm reports.

OFF THE ROAD: A Lee County mom persists in getting a school bus driver removed after causing an accident with her son, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

LABOR NEWS: Monroe County teachers reach a tentative contract agreement with the district, the Keynoter reports.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE: The Orange County school district encourages the use of civil citations rather than arrests of students who are first-time non-violent offenders, the Orlando Sentinel reports.