School boards across Florida met Tuesday, their usual day to hold business sessions, and unlike many weeks that offer snoozers, this one proved chock full of drama. Twitter feeds from districts across the state crackled with protests, disputes and arguments from the meetings as boards debated hot button issues including mid-year teacher cuts and the ever divisive mask mandates. Those weren’t the only source of controversy Tuesday. In a noon press briefing, the governor held court in a charter school to reiterate his views that schools shouldn’t close — and never should have — because of COVID-19. Read on for the latest.
Hillsborough County district leaders unveiled more details about plans to cut $57 million in spending. That meant significant job eliminations, and it sparked a storm of criticism. It came on the same day the district announced teacher pay raises, Florida Politics reports.
The Martin County board was set to consider recognition of LGBTQ History Month. It dodged the issue amid community complaints, TC Palm reports.
In Sarasota County, the subject was masks. Protesters from opposite factions faced off outside the board meeting, where a policy extending mask use unanimously passed, the Herald-Tribune reports. Before the meeting, the district called the FBI to report a local group that encouraged protesters to come to the meeting with a flyer showing a woman brandishing a gun, the Herald-Tribune reports. More from the Bradenton Herald.
Remember when school safety meant surveillance cameras, not masks? The Pasco County school district set new security priorities as it continues its efforts to deter violent incidents on campuses. • The Lee County school district created a new executive position to oversee safety, security and emergency management. Some board members raised questions about why this job was needed, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.
Gov. DeSantis doesn’t think schools should close over the coronavirus. At a Duval County charter school, he repeated his view that the risks of not being in classrooms are greater than attending in person, the Florida Times-Union reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel, Florida Politics. • The number of cases arising in south Florida schools continued to rise, with questions growing about how quarantining works, the Miami Herald reports. • A coalition of professors and teaching assistants called on the state to stop its march toward fully reopening the state’s public universities in the spring, Spectrum 13 reports.
The face-to-face option remains popular among many. About 4,500 Collier County children chose to resume in-person classes for the second quarter, the Naples Daily News reports.
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Some students have limited choice because of poor internet access. Families in the Rolling Hills community of Marion County have no consistent service, making it difficult to do online school work, WUFT reports.
Is government handling virus concerns well? Some Florida teachers say the issue is key to their voting decisions this year, Spectrum 13 reports.
Enrollment remains down in some counties. Palm Beach district numbers are off by the largest amount since the Great Recession, potentially jeopardizing $30 million in state funding, the Palm Beach Post reports.
A central Florida private school teacher was fired for being gay. The school accepted state-funded scholarships for about 40 percent of its students last year, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
A Miami-Dade high school student was on the receiving end of racial slurs during an online class. Making matters worse, the mom said school officials did little to help resolve the matter, WSVN reports.
Dogs can help sniff out weapons on campus. Broward County’s school board lawyer advised against using them, though, saying guns aren’t that big of a problem at schools despite the 2018 Parkland shooting, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
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