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Fix your finances, or else, state warns Hillsborough school officials

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho offers the Hillsborough County School Board advice on how to improve its financial situation in Tampa on March 12, 2021. The district received a letter from the state a month later, warning it to fix its finances or face state intervention.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho offers the Hillsborough County School Board advice on how to improve its financial situation in Tampa on March 12, 2021. The district received a letter from the state a month later, warning it to fix its finances or face state intervention. [ Hillsborough County School District ]
Published Apr. 23
Updated Apr. 23

Florida has laws about how much money school districts need to keep in reserve accounts for financial stability. Most adhere to those rules carefully. The Hillsborough County School Board is finding out what happens if they don’t. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent Hillsborough officials a formal letter saying they face a fiscal crisis. He gave them 20 days to submit a recovery plan, with the threat of state intervention as an alternative. • U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor criticized the state for not releasing billions of dollars in federal stimulus money, contending the funds would help Hillsborough overcome its problems, WUSF reports.

Broward County’s top school executives face an uncertain fate. The School Board plans to discuss the futures of superintendent Robert Runcie and general counsel Barbara Myrick on Tuesday, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Runcie and Myrick have a May court date to hear the formal perjury charges filed against them, the Miami Herald reports. Here’s the Sun-Sentinel’s timeline of how the district arrived at this point.

Tallahassee action

More vouchers on tap. The Senate reached a deal with the House for a $200 million expansion of Florida’s private school voucher program. The upper chamber could have its final vote on the measure as early as today.

On the way to the governor’s desk. The Senate sent Gov. Ron DeSantis a bill mandating a daily moment of silence in public schools, after a debate over whether the state would be promoting religion, the News Service of Florida reports. • It also passed legislation creating a “parents’ bill of rights,” TC Palm reports. LGTBQ advocates contend the measure puts LGBTQ youth at risk, WMNF reports.

Safety first. The Florida House unanimously approved legislation to improve school security measures, building off efforts begun after the 2018 Parkland school massacre, the Associated Press reports.

A measure to create safer walking conditions to school showed promise in the Florida House. It didn’t gain traction in the Senate and appears dead, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. Bills available for third and final reading include HB 7045 on vouchers and SB 1028 on charter school authorization. • The House convenes at 10 a.m. Bills available for third and final reading include HB 1635 on Hernando County superintendent selection and HB 429 on Purple Star campuses.

Coronavirus concerns

School’s on for summer. The Martin County school district plans to focus on closing achievement gaps in reading and math during the break, TC Palm reports.

Will students stick around for their vaccines? Palm Beach County health officials raised concerns that college students will leave for summer without getting vaccinated, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Internet access is key. Eleven Palm Beach County community centers are getting free online services to help children with their learning, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Who wants a prom? The number of Duval County high schools canceling the springtime ritual due to low interest is up to 10, WJXT reports.

What to do about masks? Dozens of Palm Beach County parents blitzed their School Board with views about whether to retain a mask requirement. They were split evenly in their views, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Remote online learning is quickly fading away. The Manatee County school district was the latest to announce it will end the option in the fall, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Graduation day is almost here. Marion County seniors learned they might be able to invite up to 10 guests, depending on venue size, WKMG reports. • Most Palm Beach County graduates will get two tickets for guests, because of social distancing requirements, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Other school news

Show them the money. The Duval County school district’s new local sales tax generated $7 million in its first month and a half, the Florida Times-Union reports.

What do they want? Food justice. Protestors said they would occupy the University of Florida’s Reitz Union until they’re happy with the school’s food service contracts, the Gainesville Sun reports.

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

Don’t forget ... Today is the final day to submit public comment on proposed changes to Florida’s civics standards.

Before you go ... A former Florida lawmaker posted this video with the simple label “Legislative Session.” Truth?