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High hopes for strong leadership at fast rising USF

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Scenes at the University of South Florida campus on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 in Tampa.
Scenes at the University of South Florida campus on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Jul. 26

Steve Currall surprised many in the Tampa Bay area with his sudden resignation as University of South Florida president. But many in the know were not shocked. To some, the move was long in coming. The terms of his severance package offer some telling hints. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

The University of South Florida has big ambitions for its future. Community and civic leaders say the school deserves a leader who can make good on the goals.

Coronavirus concerns

Several school districts expect to reopen with masks being optional. Some Leon County parents say that’s not good enough, and they plan to keep their children home for another year, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • A group of Duval County parents, physicians and others rallied to urge their district to mandate masks again, WJXT reports. • Sarasota and Manatee county school districts will have vaccines and masks be optional, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Many families are on the fence about whether school will be safe enough, given the recent coronavirus resurgence. Deadlines are fast approaching to register for Florida Virtual School, WKMG reports.

Edward Waters University had planned to require students be vaccinated to attend on-campus classes. It reversed course after hearing from the community, WJXT reports.

Many school officials are finding it tough to settle on protocols for the next school year. The questions are coming fast, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Leadership news

President Biden has created an advisory board for discussing how stimulus funds are used in schools. Osceola County superintendent Debra Pace was named to the panel, WFTV reports.

Gov. DeSantis has named a new trustee for USF. It’s Senate President Wilton Simpson’s daughter, Florida Politics reports.

The Florida Association of District School Superintendents has a new leader. Citrus County superintendent Sam Himmel will be the new president, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Alachua County’s new superintendent has been trying to get a reorganization plan passed. Her School Board rejected it for a second time, the Gainesville Sun reports.

School news

Broward County’s Rickards Middle School will be replaced after its roof collapsed. The project will cost millions, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

The Polk County NAACP hosted a town hall forum on “critical race theory” and its role in the schools. Hundreds tuned in, the Ledger reports.

The Sarasota County School Board will discuss whether to allow parents to record IEP meetings. The issue can be divisive, as parents can wonder why educators wouldn’t want them to record, while educators question why they would want to, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Reading is key. The Escambia and Santa Rosa school districts have launched a new tutoring program to help children who struggled in reading over the past year, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

Who’s protecting the kids? The Fort Myers City Council will have a special meeting to discuss whether to continue providing police officers to serve in the area schools, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Before you go ... Have you ever seen a glass octopus before?

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