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Charter schools seek to grow, even as Florida enrollment shrinks

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Pasco County's Dayspring Academy is one of many charter schools planning an expansion to meet increasing student demand. In this photo, music teacher Kelly Covic counts off as fifth-grade students prepare to record segments. [Times | 2015]
Pasco County's Dayspring Academy is one of many charter schools planning an expansion to meet increasing student demand. In this photo, music teacher Kelly Covic counts off as fifth-grade students prepare to record segments. [Times | 2015]
Published Feb. 5
Updated Feb. 5

Florida law counts charter schools as public schools. Some school districts, which play the role of charter sponsors, generally support the entities that receive public funds but are privately run. Others fight them tooth and nail. Read on for the latest charter school action and other Florida education news.

Pasco County’s oldest charter school is in expansion mode. Its long discussed goal of opening a southwest county campus is now in play.

The Volusia County School Board has twice denied a proposed charter school in Ormond Beach. The legal battle could land in Florida’s Supreme Court, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Florida teachers continue to press for priority in the state’s virus vaccination line. They say they won’t feel safe in school without it, WFTV reports. • “Seniors first,” Gov. Ron DeSantis repeated during a news conference, WTXL reports.

Getting struggling students back on track remains a goal for Florida’s schools. Teachers at one Escambia County high school will offer “8th period” tutoring, particularly for remote students, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

But remote learning might continue into the fall in some areas. Palm Beach County superintendent Donald Fennoy said he would prepare to offer it, “because who knows?,” WPTV reports.

Students are on track to sit for state testing this spring. Thousands of parents have signed a petition calling for a suspension of the exams, WFTV reports.

Schools still keep volunteers and visitors to a minimum. Citrus County school district officials are considering welcoming more people to campuses as county infection levels abate, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Legislative action

As if there were any doubt ... A Florida House committee advances the Speaker’s priority legislation creating a free book delivery service for struggling elementary school readers, Florida Politics reports.

Teachers’ pensions face another threat. A bill to require all new state employees into a 401K -styled investment plan instead advanced through its first state Senate committee, WJXT reports.

From vouchers to teacher pay, education issues are grabbing attention in Tallahassee. The debates promise to be lively and consequential, Florida Phoenix reports.

Safety first

Once again, threats of violence against schools are considered a felony. A Flagler County preteen, arrested on allegations of making such a threat, claimed he was joking, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

A Gulf County high school abruptly sent students home after receiving a threat. The school later received an “all-clear,” WJHG reports.

On alert. Columbia County is increasing security at some campuses as a precaution, after a high school teen was killed in a double shooting, WJXT reports.

In other school news

Many high schools give female and male graduating seniors different colored caps and gowns. The Palm Beach County school district banned the practice, saying it’s discriminatory against transgender and non-binary students, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Florida schools are required to teach African-American history. Many struggle to do so, WFTV reports.

She’s outta there. U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who claimed the 2018 Parkland school shooting was staged, was removed from the House Education and Labor Committee, the Associated Press reports. Three South Florida Republican members joined Democrats in voting to strip the committee assignments, WTVJ reports.

The Osceola County School Board opens its meetings with a prayer. The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants it to stop, WESH reports.

More teachers of the year are recognized. Read about the recipients from Miami-Dade County (Miami Herald) and Okaloosa County (Northwest Florida Daily News)

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... If this doesn’t make you laugh, well ... I know you are, but what am I?