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Bonus checks to come from state, not schools. Teachers want to know why.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Joyce Vitraelli, teacher at Paul B. Stephens Exceptional Student Education Center in Clearwater, center, shares stories of her classroom experiences during the pandemic moments after being introduced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at right, during a press conference on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Palm Harbor University High School. DeSantis held the press conference to announce his proposal to give $1000 bonuses to school principals and teachers in Florida.
Joyce Vitraelli, teacher at Paul B. Stephens Exceptional Student Education Center in Clearwater, center, shares stories of her classroom experiences during the pandemic moments after being introduced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at right, during a press conference on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Palm Harbor University High School. DeSantis held the press conference to announce his proposal to give $1000 bonuses to school principals and teachers in Florida. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD ]
Published Jun. 22
Updated Jun. 22

The Florida Legislature put $215 million into the state budget to pay $1,000 bonuses to public school classroom teachers and principals. Some of those workers thought they might have received the money already, as the lawmakers allocated federal funding currently available for use. The checks haven’t arrived. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news.

Officials are working out details to send the bonuses directly from the state, rather than through school districts. The move smacks of politics to some people. The administration says it’s just a way to thank the workers.

Tallahassee action

It’s all about saving lives. The Legislature has sent Gov. DeSantis a bill that would require high school students to learn CPR, WKMG reports.

Safety first. The governor signed into law a measure limiting school use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities, Florida Politics reports.

Florida juniors could get tree college entrance testing. Lawmakers have proposed state-funded SAT and ACT exams for all eleventh graders, Florida Phoenix reports. The recommendation comes as a growing number of universities and colleges outside the state drop the test requirement.

Leadership issues

Two months remain in Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie’s tenure. He said he wants to remain in education, though perhaps not in district leadership, after he leaves, WFOR reports. • Former Broward superintendent Jim Notter has applied for the interim leadership job, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

The Lee County school district needs a new superintendent. The School Board interviewed search firms on Monday, WFTX reports.

Lake County’s superintendent wants to fire a high school football coach amid rising community concerns. She said the coach falsified his application to win employment, the Daily Commercial reports.

Hot topics

“COVID slide”: Volusia and Flagler counties have amped up their summer school offerings as pandemic learning losses remain a primary target, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Enrollment in Hillsborough County’s VPK summer programs has bounced back after a pandemic-year decline, Bay News 9 reports. • Educators are examining which pandemic teaching initiatives should remain once schools get back to more normal times, WLRN reports.

Race lessons: Some Indian River County parents protested the district’s proposed language arts curriculum selections, saying they objected to lessons about race, equity and gender, TC Palm reports. • Educators are raising concerns that the state’s ban on “critical race theory” and similar approaches to teaching about race will have a chilling effect in classrooms, Florida Phoenix reports.

Dress code: Volusia County schools have required student uniforms since 2016. The district is considering a shift back to a less restrictive dress code, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Vouchers: A new study shows Florida families use Gardiner Scholarship funds on expenses other than tuition the longer they stay in the program, Redefined reports.

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