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Charter schools still raise hackles in Florida public education circles

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Woodmont Charter School in Temple Terrace, shown in 2017. Hillsborough School Board members want to know why so many students are choosing charters.
Woodmont Charter School in Temple Terrace, shown in 2017. Hillsborough School Board members want to know why so many students are choosing charters. [ WILL VRAGOVIC | Times staff ]
Published Feb. 10

By state law, charter schools in Florida are public schools. Over time, they’ve become a popular choice for many families. Yet they remain a political flashpoint, with some groups questioning their funding as they grow. Read on for the latest on this and other Florida education news stories. • Editor’s note: The daily education news roundup will be on hiatus until Monday. Thanks for your understanding.

More than 30,000 Hillsborough County students attend charter schools. School Board members want more information why they’re making that choice.

A charter school group took over operations of Jefferson County schools five years ago. Somerset Academy is preparing to return control to the district, Redefined reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Traditional graduations and proms are looking less likely. Seminole County high school seniors got word their district’s plans would be scaled back again because of the pandemic, WKMG reports.

The masks stay. A judge dismissed a parent lawsuit challenging the Indian River County school district’s mandate, TC Palm reports. • The Manatee County School Board extended its mandate another 90 days, the Bradenton Herald reports.

The University of South Florida’s coronavirus rules require permission for planned organized events. Five people were arrested for rallying without a permit on campus.

Pressure continues to mount for getting teachers the coronavirus vaccine. Marion County school officials are the latest to make the request, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Students are facing increased mental health stresses because of the pandemic. Escambia and Santa Rosa county schools have seen surges in children requesting services, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • Duval County schools had told students it’s okay to “take off the mask” when expressing their emotional concerns. It wasn’t meant to be a literal statement, but many parents took it that way and complained, the Florida Times-Union reports. • A Bay County high school has implemented a wellness room, complete with soothing music and calming oils, for students to use, WJHG reports.

Show them the money

The numbers of students attending Florida schools hasn’t matched projections. Districts could lose funding next fall if enrollment doesn’t pick back up, WJXT reports.

“That was our best and final offer.” Nassau County teacher and school district representatives continue to spar over salaries, after teachers rejected the district’s proposal, WTLV reports.

School leadership

She’s “fearless.” Duval County schools superintendent Diana Greene received a strong performance review from her School Board, the Florida Times-Union reports.

He’s next. A Lake County assistant superintendent was picked to become the Seminole County school district’s next chief executive, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Equity matters. Santa Rosa County school district leaders have launched a new Equity and Cultural Sensitivity Committee to find ways to improve equity for students and staff, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

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