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Charters, choice remain strong in Florida but face pushback

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
 
Woodmont Charter School in Temple Terrace is one of dozens of charters in Hillsborough County. New School Board members want the district to become a little more questioning of charters going forward.
Woodmont Charter School in Temple Terrace is one of dozens of charters in Hillsborough County. New School Board members want the district to become a little more questioning of charters going forward. [ WILL VRAGOVIC | Times staff ]
Published Jan. 15, 2021

For two decades, Florida has led the nation in growing education options for children and families. State lawmakers have signaled plans to further grow the programs this year. But questions and concerns remain. And in some local school districts, the opposition is getting louder. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

Charter schools are booming in Hillsborough County. The newest members of the district School Board, who are less friendly to charters, want to put the applications under greater scrutiny.

Long struggling Jefferson County schools have been run by a charter firm for about five years. The district’s new superintendent has been negotiating with state officials to retake control, the Jefferson County Journal reports.

State education leaders suspect fraudulent activity at a new central Florida private school. It’s still allowed to receive state-supported scholarships and vouchers, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Coronavirus concerns

The call is growing to get coronavirus vaccines to teachers. Leaders of the Miami-Dade and Broward school districts are among the latest to join, WLRN reports.

The Duval County school district has changed the way it reports virus cases. Officials said the new model made it look like there’s been a spike, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Feeding students at home during the pandemic has been costly for districts. Collectively, they’re running millions of dollars in the red, Politico Florida reports.

It’s so easy to turn off your camera and tune out. Osceola County schools are seeing a rise in chronic absenteeism among remote students, WKMG reports.

The masks stay. Volusia County school district leaders decide to leave their coronavirus protocols in place as cases are “through the roof,” the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Schools across Florida continue to require masks as a way to keep COVID-19 spread minimal.
Schools across Florida continue to require masks as a way to keep COVID-19 spread minimal. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Other news

Riot fallout hits a Florida school. A Polk County charter school substitute teacher is fired after video surfaces showing her wrongly telling students that Antifa activists stormed the U.S. Capitol, Insider reports.

Let us pray. The Manatee County School Board decided to again start its meetings with a prayer, after a four-year absence of that practice, the Bradenton Herald reports.

State education officials have decried school districts where pay raises haven’t been distributed. The Escambia County district is one of those at impasse over its salary plan, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

While some schools are worried about the ‘COVID slide,’ others still are recovering from Hurricane Michael. The Jackson County school district is preparing a new after-school program for students who experienced learning losses from that 2018 storm, WMBB reports.

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

Before you go ... Nature never ceases to amaze and awe.