UF joins two other state universities looking for new presidents

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
In this image from a University of Florida video, school president Kent Fuchs is seen with one of the many students he photobombed during a recent commencement day.
In this image from a University of Florida video, school president Kent Fuchs is seen with one of the many students he photobombed during a recent commencement day. [ University of Florida ]
Published Jan. 6, 2022|Updated Jan. 6, 2022

The big story: The University of Florida needs a new president. Kent Fuchs, who has led the state’s flagship university since 2015, announced Wednesday his decision to step down so he can enter the final phase of his career as a research faculty member.

Fuchs said he informed trustees back in August about his plans, and held off on publicizing his intention until the start of the spring semester at their agreement. As a result, the news comes amid ongoing reviews and lawsuits over accusations that his administration violated faculty members’ academic freedoms.

In his video statement, he focused on more positive aspects of his tenure, such as boosting UF’s national ratings and instilling artificial intelligence concepts across the campus.

Now UF joins the University of South Florida and the University of North Florida in seeking chief executives. Fuchs said he will stick around until his replacement is selected. University officials expected a strong pool of candidates to emerge. More from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In other school news

Florida educators are required to report child abuse when they learn about it. A Hillsborough County elementary school principal was arrested for failing to do so.

Schools are feeling stretched over staffing. Growing numbers of Palm Beach County teachers and staff called in sick, prompting school leaders to get creative to keep classes running, the Palm Beach Post reports. More from WPTV. • The Collier County school district put out an urgent plea for people to become substitute teachers, no teaching certificate required, WINK reports.

About that five-day quarantine period ... The Leon County school district said it expected students to stay out 10 days — not five — if infected with the coronavirus, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Florida finally has an approved plan for using the latest round of federal pandemic stimulus money. With all states approved, the U.S. Department of Education will release the funds, K-12 Dive reports. Florida was one of the last states to apply for the grant.

A Florida lawmaker has proposed allowing school boards to place video cameras in classrooms. Teachers are raising questions about how the videos would be used if this measure were approved, WTSP reports.

It’s the first anniversary of the 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol while Congress certified Joe Biden’s election. A University of Central Florida research institute has created materials for schools to use when teaching about the polarizing incident, Spectrum News reports.

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What is a hate group, really? The Flagler County School Board on Tuesday considered a statement denouncing hate groups. One board member objected to the term, arguing poor behavior comes from “all groups in our community,” Flagler Live reports.

Show them the money. Frustrated by the district’s $25 raise offer, Orange County teachers declared their contract talks were at an impasse. They made their case before the School Board on Wednesday, Spectrum 13 reports. More from WESH.

Shifting school attendance zones is often controversial. Alachua County’s superintendent is trying to make some changes to balance enrollment, after an earlier attempt raised community hackles, the Gainesville Sun reports.

No guns allowed. Not even plastic toy ones, a Duval County high school student has learned the hard way, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Going, going ... Alberto Carvalho will spend his last day as Miami-Dade County schools superintendent in early February, the Miami Herald reports. Carvalho, who has led the district since 2008, announced a month ago he would be leaving to take over the Los Angeles school system.

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

Before you go ... The Go-Go’s were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month. The Go-Go’s! They still have it.

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