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Florida gets closer to education savings accounts

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Florida children have been using tax credit scholarships to attend private schools for decades. State lawmakers seek to revamp the school choice program this spring. [Times | 2011]
Florida children have been using tax credit scholarships to attend private schools for decades. State lawmakers seek to revamp the school choice program this spring. [Times | 2011]
Published Mar. 5
Updated Mar. 5

For nearly a decade, the idea of creating state-funded education savings accounts in Florida has been a proposal from some of the more conservative Republican lawmakers. It rarely received a committee hearing, much less a vote. That’s changing this year, as the concept is being cast as a simple streamlining of several school choice programs. Critics see it as a much bigger deal. Read on for the latest on that story and other Florida education news.

It’s full steam ahead for education savings accounts in Florida. A major bill to revamp the funding and use of state vouchers and scholarships passed its final Senate committee on its way to the floor. More from Politico Florida, Florida Politics, Orlando Sentinel.

More from Tallahassee

If at first you don’t succeed ... A Florida lawmaker has filed legislation to again try to limit restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities, Florida Phoenix reports. Similar bills have come before the Legislature for more than a decade, without success.

“In the classroom, clearly, the textbook isn’t enough.” State lawmakers promoted legislation that would boost civics lessons about the victims of other nations’ forms of government, the News Service of Florida reports.

Show some results. A Florida House committee advanced two bills aimed at improving the path from the classroom to the workplace, Florida Politics reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Pinellas County teachers wanted stricter rules on social distancing and class sizes during the pandemic. After weeks of negotiations, they reached a deal with the district that got them some of what they asked for. Union president Nancy Velardi said she hopes the requirements will become less needed after more people are vaccinated.

Who’s eligible for a vaccine? Every school and day care worker in Florida, but only if they go to a federal site, not a state one, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ latest announcement. More from the Miami Herald. • The Volusia County school district provided access to hundreds more employees, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • The Lee County school district will begin hosting pop-up vaccination clinics on Friday, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Don’t forget about university workers. In all the attention paid to K-12 employees, higher education faculty and staff feel ignored. After all, the University of South Florida and other campuses are preparing to return to normal in-person courses in the fall.

Lee County schools aim to combat learning losses from the pandemic. They will launch an online after-school tutoring program, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Monroe County middle and high school students remain in a hybrid class schedule. Some parents want their kids back in school full time, the Florida Keys Weekly reports.

What will the next school year look like? St. Johns County district leaders projected that safety protocols might remain in place, but remote learning won’t, WJXT reports.

Manatee County high school seniors have been offered limited tickets for graduation. More than 100 of them protested for more, the Bradenton Herald reports.

In other school news

One of Broward County’s longest-serving district administrators is calling it quits. He’s had a checkered history, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

About that Seminole County superintendent selection ... One resident has asked for an injunction against the School Board’s reversal, contending the board violated its own rules, WKMG reports.

There’s one student-run satellite radio station in the nation. It’s based at the SLAM charter school in Little Havana, the Miami Herald reports.

Prom dresses can be expensive. A Bay County charter school partnered with a district high school to collect hundreds of outfits for students who can’t afford them, the Panama City News Herald reports.

From the police blotter ... A Polk County substitute teacher was arrested on allegations of having physical altercations with two students, the Ledger reports.

Want to see that story again? Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... It’s still Women’s History Month. WKMG put together a list of 10 women who played key roles in the development of Florida. Have you heard of them?