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Florida’s school elections are over. So what’s next?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Jennifer P., 32 and Curtis P., 35, walk with their son Conrad P., 4, towards their vehicle after voting at Bay Life Church in Brandon on Election Day, Tue., Nov. 3, 2020.
Jennifer P., 32 and Curtis P., 35, walk with their son Conrad P., 4, towards their vehicle after voting at Bay Life Church in Brandon on Election Day, Tue., Nov. 3, 2020. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Nov. 4, 2020
Updated Nov. 4, 2020

The 2020 election happened Tuesday, a giant lesson in civic responsibility and a lesson for students across the state and nation about how we select who runs the government. Lots of parents brought their children to the polls to witness the activity. Many schools held mock elections to explain the process. And of course, several school district elections were decided. Amid the activity, one school provided a very stark message to its students. Read on for that and other Florida education news.

We’re still waiting for some finality on the presidential race. But school-related elections across Florida have been settled. There are way too many to provide every detail here. But here’s a collection of some highlights:

Who needs term limits? Hillsborough County voters ousted two incumbent board members while re-electing a third and filling an open seat. • Pinellas County has two new board members, after the incumbents didn’t seek reelection. • Manatee County voters unseated a two-term board member, the Bradenton Herald reports. • A newcomer defeated Volusia County’s longest serving school board member, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Miami-Dade County has three new members on its nine-person board, the Miami Herald reports. • In St. Lucie County, a political newcomer upset a six-term incumbent school board member, TC Palm reports. • A second survivor of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting won a seat on the Broward County School Board, WLRN reports. • Gulf County voters finally filled a school board seat left vacant since 2019, the Port St. Joe Star reports.

Still ... A veteran Citrus County board member won her sixth term, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. • Two Lee County board members won reelection, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. • Orange County voters reelected one board member and picked a newcomer to fill a vacant seat, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Some school districts still elect their superintendents. Pasco County returned its superintendent to office for a third term in the largest district in the nation to vote for its chief executive. • Leon County voters returned their superintendent to office for a second term, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

No one likes to tax themselves — except when it comes to schools. Pinellas voters pushed a tax referendum to its highest level of support ever. • The Hernando County school district passed a property tax referendum to help boost teacher pay. • Alachua County voters overwhelmingly renewed their local-option school property tax, the Gainesville Sun reports. • Brevard County voters extended their school sales tax to 2026, Florida Today reports. • Duval County voters approved a new school sales tax to help replace and repair aging schools, the Florida Times-Union reports. • The Clay County school district won its sales tax referendum, WJXT reports. • Okaloosa County voters approved a school sales tax to repair roofs and replace portables, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

What a civics lesson. A Miami-Dade County private school called off classes for Wednesday because of concerns over ‘what might follow’ a contentious election, the Miami Herald reports.

And now, for some non-election news.

Please reconsider. That’s the message the Pasco County School Board sent to University of South Florida leaders regarding plans to shut down its undergraduate teaching program. USF education majors aren’t too thrilled with the move, either, the Crow’s Nest reports.

UF faculty say they’re entitled to a safe workplace. They’ve filed a grievance against the university’s plan to hold more in-person classes during the spring semester, WCJB reports.

Their season is over. The LaBelle High School football team canceled its third straight game because of COVID-19 cases, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Keep the schools clean. The Hillsborough school district is considering whether to hire a consultant to help determine better ways to sanitize schools.

A bottle of hand sanitizer and a bucket of disinfectant wipes sit on a Spanish teacher's desk at Tampa Preparatory School.
A bottle of hand sanitizer and a bucket of disinfectant wipes sit on a Spanish teacher's desk at Tampa Preparatory School. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

IEP’s are not optional. The Florida Department of Education found the Orange County school district violated a student’s right to a free and appropriate public education, WOFL reports.

Time to go. Flagler College president Joe Joyner will step down from his post for personal reasons, the St. Augustine Record reports. Joyner was Flagler schools superintendent for 14 years before taking over at the college.

From the police blotter ... A Duval County middle school paraprofessional and coach was fired after being arrested on accusations of burglary and aggravated assault, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s the link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... There might not be many fans in the stands, but Hillsborough’s Gaither High still has its 12th man.