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Funding proposals emerge for Bright Futures, teacher pay

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Before the pandemic, teachers rallied in Tallahassee for better pay and financial support of public education. Some are still waiting to see their salaries boosted to the minimum level that Gov. Ron DeSantis called for.
Before the pandemic, teachers rallied in Tallahassee for better pay and financial support of public education. Some are still waiting to see their salaries boosted to the minimum level that Gov. Ron DeSantis called for. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Mar. 30
Updated Mar. 30

There’s been a lot of passion aroused by the Florida Senate’s proposal to revamp Bright Futures scholarships. Social media groups have burst into existence with thousands of members, many of whom have taken to email and letter writing campaigns advocating against any changes. Even after the Senate got rid of language tying awards to degree choices, activists focused on the part that would set the amounts in the annual budget rather than guaranteeing 100 percent and 75 percent levels currently in law. House leaders have said they’re not currently considering the Senate’s ideas on financial aid. But they have some other ideas of their own. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news.

House budget writers note that times are tight and cuts must come. They called for cutting the Bright Futures textbook stipend, and scaling back tuition assistance to Floridians who attend private colleges and universities. • Meanwhile, parent opposition to any Bright Futures changes continues to grow, WPTV reports.

Gov. DeSantis asked for an extra $50 million to further boost teacher pay. The House and Senate budget proposals do not include the money, Florida Phoenix reports.

Who wants to be a university president? The Florida House is set to vote on legislation that would keep private the applicant files for those jobs, Florida Politics reports.

Try, try again. Florida lawmakers are again debating a proposal to restrict the use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities, WPEC reports. • A bill to require daily moments of silence in public schools made it through a second Senate committee, Florida Politics reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The Senate Education Committee will take up a major education-related pandemic relief bill when it meets at 8:30 a.m. • The House Secondary Education subcommittee will consider legislation on graduation requirements for English language learners when it meets at 12:30 p.m. • The House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee will review a measure relating to early learning when it meets at 4 p.m.

Coronavirus concerns

With live remote classes, many teachers have been required to teach in-person and online students at the same time. More than 90 percent of Palm Beach County teachers want to stop that practice, WPTV reports.

‘We’re not going to force them.’ Manatee County school officials said they’re doing what they can to make parents of online learners feel comfortable with in-person testing, but they also plan to be understanding, the Bradenton Herald reports.

High schools want to provide seniors traditional graduation experiences despite the pandemic. Lake County schools are working to make events memorable and safe, the Daily Commercial reports.

The Miami-Dade County school district held a food drive to provide meals to families during spring break. It ran out of food, the Miami Herald reports.

Bus drivers have faced added health-safety requirements in the pandemic. Palm Beach County drivers held a protest rally to highlight their concerns about work conditions, WPEC reports.

School news

Disinformation has run rampant in the past year. The University of South Florida is working with Tampa area schools to create a new digital literacy “cyber citizenship” program to push back, NPR reports.

‘It’s like our bodies are sexualized.’ Students at a St. Johns County high school are petitioning against the way the dress code is being used against girls, WJXT reports.

Watch what you eat. Law enforcement say marijuana edibles that look like candy are surfacing in Florida schools, WFLA reports.

‘A promise is a promise.’ St. Lucie County high school students can sign an agreement that guarantees them a teaching job in the district after they complete their college degree, WPTV reports.

A Sarasota County high school needs a new principal. Parents and staff have started submitting opinions about what type of leader they’d like to see, the Venice Sun reports.

Horses are a big thing in Marion County. The district is about to resume its “Black Stallion” reading project in conjunction the Ocala Horse Alliance, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

She’s back. The principal of a Duval County school is returned to duty after attending mandatory diversity training, the Florida Times-Union reports. She was removed after proposing parent town hall meetings separated by race.

Surprise! It started out as a normal staff meeting at an Okaloosa County school. Then one of the teacher’s boyfriend showed up, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

From the court docket ... A Clay County school janitor accused of videotaping girls changing in the locker room got a 20-year sentence, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

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

Before you go ... It’s still Women’s History Month, and also the time when seniors are making their college decisions. In that spirit, here’s a brief history of women gaining access to higher education at the University of Florida.