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Elected or appointed? Florida’s superintendent debate continues

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
John Strattonis Hernando County's appointed schools superintendent. State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, unhappy with Stratton, wants to let voters pick the district's top executive. [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times]
John Strattonis Hernando County's appointed schools superintendent. State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, unhappy with Stratton, wants to let voters pick the district's top executive. [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times]
Published Feb. 17
Updated Feb. 17

Florida remains one of two states in the nation to allow for elected school district superintendents. In recent years, the trend has been to shift to appointed chief executives, under the rationale that the job requires a professional rather than a politician. But not everyone sees it that way. Read on for the latest on that story and other Florida education news.

The Hernando County school district moved to an appointed superintendent in 1992. A local lawmaker has proposed it transition back to an elected leader.

Who’s your School Board member? The Escambia County board plans to redraw its districts to reflect new census figures, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Where have all the students gone? District enrollment is down across Florida during the pandemic. But south Florida school officials say the children aren’t “missing,” playing down the word that lawmakers have been using, the Miami Herald reports.

About those concerns that students at home will fall behind their in-school peers ... A midyear report on Duval County students indicates that’s not the case, the Florida Times-Union reports. • Sarasota County’s progress monitoring data tells a different story, the North Port Sun reports. • Orange County district officials said online students there aren’t performing as well as their in-person peers, Spectrum 13 reports.

There will be testing to find out. Some central Florida parents and educators have joined the growing call to cancel the state exams, Spectrum 13 reports.

Florida has been touting its schools being open during the pandemic. It’s attracting some families from up north, WPEC reports.

Tallahassee action

Some lawmakers have been pushing mandatory moments of silence in public schools. A bill to implement the requirement made it through its first House committee after some lively debate, Florida Politics reports.

Lawmakers are looking at other new mandates, as well. One proposal would require all students to learn CPR, WJXT reports.

Who’s responsible if you catch the coronavirus at a school? A measure moving through the House would make sure it’s not the school, if it followed proper preventive protocols, Florida Politics reports.

The Senate’s education savings account bill is on the fast track. SB 48 hits its next-to-last committee stop today at 3:30 p.m., two weeks before session officially begins.

Also today ... The House Post-Secondary Education subcommittee will take up a campus “intellectual freedom” bill at 1 p.m.

In other school news

Save our school. Residents of one Putnam County community have staved off a plan to close their local elementary school. Others might not be so lucky as the School Board looks to reshape the district, WJXT reports. The district’s latest plan won narrow approval from the board, WJAX reports.

A Lee County resident requested records about school district employees. He then posted the personal information on Facebook. Many were not amused, WFTX reports.

The Duval County school district is preparing to rename six campuses that recognize Confederate soldiers. It’s now time to ask the public for alternatives, WTLV reports. The district heard input on the possibilities on Tuesday, WJXT reports.

The Orange County school district has filed suit against a family seeking special education services. The family alleged the district is discriminating against them, WFTV reports.

Several Hillsborough and Pasco county students have outstanding lunchroom debts. A local church has offered to pay them off, WTSP reports.

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

Before you go ... We continue Black History Month with a short video from the University of Florida that looks at some “groundbreaking Gators.”

Black History Month - Florida Gators

Beginning our celebration of #BlackHistoryMonth with a look at some of our groundbreaking Gators. #GoGators

Posted by Florida Gators on Monday, February 1, 2021