Florida schools struggle to find teachers, substitutes

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
The Hillsborough County school district is exploring whether to continue outsourcing its substitute teacher system. [Times (2000)]
The Hillsborough County school district is exploring whether to continue outsourcing its substitute teacher system. [Times (2000)]
Published May 19, 2021|Updated May 19, 2021

Floridians for years have heard about the state’s shortage of applicants for teaching jobs, particularly in critical areas such as math and special education. Even with some efforts to improve wages, difficulties filling classrooms remain. Read on for the latest on that story and other Florida education news.

Substitute teachers have been hard to come by during the pandemic. Hillsborough County district officials are considering whether to stick with Kelly Services to provide the subs, or take the effort back in house.

The Bay County school district is seeing a large number of teachers resign. Exit interviews indicate they’re upset with their salaries, after voters rejected a tax referendum aimed at boosting pay, the Panama City News Herald reports. Superintendent Bill Husfelt said he is looking for other ways to bolster paychecks.

Hop topics

‘Unmask the children.’ Another Tuesday, another round of anti-mask protests. More than 60 people rallied outside the Broward County School Board, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The Miami-Dade County school district made masks optional for outdoor activities, the Miami Herald reports. • Mask supporters and opponents are expected to flood the Palm Beach County School Board’s next meeting, WPTV reports. • The Sarasota County School Board decided to keep its mask rule intact through the end of the semester, the Herald-Tribune reports.

The Osceola County school district has been studying ways to improve policing in schools. The chairman of the effort blasted the School Board for failing to take an in-depth look at the recommendations, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Florida’s ‘parents bill of rights’ bill has more opposition. Several physician groups urged a veto of the measure that focuses on education and health care, saying it could criminalize some of their work, Florida Politics reports.

A Board of Governors member has called for a halt to Florida State University’s president search. He argues the process was tainted by the interference of the school’s accrediting agency, Florida Politics reports.

Other school news

The University of South Florida continues to explore development possibilities for forested land north of its Tampa campus. Opponents criticized the school’s lack of consultation with key school groups before embarking on major decisions.

Florida Atlantic University faculty members worry gaining tenure might become more political. The school’s Board of Trustees has talked about making the decisions instead of the campus president, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

‘Giving more student choice.’ Pensacola State College announced plans to open a new dual enrollment charter school focused on military families, WKRG reports.

The Palm Beach County school district’s superintendent wants to overhaul his top administrative staff. He faces a reluctant School Board, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Lee County’s superintendent is leaving at the end of the year. His board gave him a worse than usual final performance evaluation, WINK reports.

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From the police blotter ... A former officer of the Port St. Joe High band boosters was arrested on allegations of stealing more than $9,000 from the organization, the Port St. Joe Star reports.

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

Before you go ... We’ve heard for years about the importance of computer coding as a skill students need. Educators continue to look for ways to make the topic approachable. The University of Florida College of Education is looking at reaching third through fifth graders through comics. Check out their plans.