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One superintendent is on the ropes, another is out the door

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Hillsborough County School Superintendent Addison Davis, on left, addresses the board during a School Board retreat at the Hillsborough County Public Schools' Instructional Service Center, 2920 N. 40th St., on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 in Tampa. Also pictured is School Board Chair Lynn Gray, district 7, on right.
Hillsborough County School Superintendent Addison Davis, on left, addresses the board during a School Board retreat at the Hillsborough County Public Schools' Instructional Service Center, 2920 N. 40th St., on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 in Tampa. Also pictured is School Board Chair Lynn Gray, district 7, on right. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Apr. 28
Updated Apr. 28

The school boards for two of Florida’s (and the nation’s) largest school districts continued to cope with leadership struggles. One attempted to work through its troubles with its superintendent. The other received its leader’s resignation. Read on for those stories and more Florida education news.

The Hillsborough County School Board has two major issues to resolve. A morning meeting didn’t provide enough time to fully tackle either district finances or their plan for superintendent Addison Davis’s improvement.

They’re out. Both Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie and general counsel Barbara Myrick announced their resignations, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The sides will negotiate a separation agreement, the Miami Herald reports. The decision came soon after Runcie put out a video saying he would be vindicated from his arrest on perjury charges, the Associated Press reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel.

Other leadership news

The Pasco County school district’s sharing of student data with law enforcement has come under attack. A coalition of 30 groups joined forces to oppose the practice.

Polk County schools have a new superintendent. He’s Frederick Heid, a superintendent from Illinois, the Ledger reports.

Lee County’s superintendent has announced his retirement. The School Board will let him finish his contract as it seeks a replacement, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Pasco County residents complained about the school district’s flip-flops on masks. The superintendent apologized.

A Seminole County 8-year-old has started a petition to make masks voluntary in his school district. ‘I think a lot of people agree with me,’ he told WOFL.

Some districts have started down that path. Indian River County schools will make masks optional beginning with summer classes, TC Palm reports.

Gov. Ron DeSantis extended his pandemic state of emergency another 60 days. He signaled the emergency won’t continue much longer, Florida Phoenix reports.

Need to quarantine? The Miami-Dade County school district shortened the period students and staff will have to stay home after an exposure, WLRN reports.

Teaching summer school? The Martin County School Board is considering $1,000 bonuses for teachers who take on the task, WPTV reports.

Remote learning is quickly disappearing. The Seminole County school district is the latest to announce it won’t continue the model in the fall, WKMG reports.

Tallahassee action

Lawmakers reached agreement on higher education legislation. It includes some tuition breaks and protections against COVID-19 lawsuits, but notably doesn’t diminish Bright Futures scholarship awards.

Want to carry a gun at a religious institution with a school attached? The Legislature has approved that concept, sending a bill to the governor, the News Service of Florida reports.

The budget has landed. Bolstered by federal funds, it’s at $101.5 billion. And it includes extra pay for some teachers and principals, the USA Today Network reports.

The governor’s office has a new communication director. It’s Taryn Fenske from the Department of Education, Florida Politics reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. • The House convenes at 10:30 a.m. Bills up for final consideration include SB 1108 on testing and civics, SB 1028 on charter schools and school board term limits, and SB52 on dual enrollment.

School news

Better safe than sorry. Orange and Volusia county schools will begin requiring heart screenings for student-athletes, WKMG reports.

Sue you. The St. Johns County school district will join a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, WJXT reports.

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

Before you go ... Earlier this year, the Hillsborough County school system had a virtual “read-in” for Black History Month. It doesn’t look like it got much attention online, but it’s worth some time to have your kids hear some of these stories they selected. Here’s board member Karen Perez reading a Maya Angelou poem. There are 35 videos in all.