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One university down, three to go: USF has picked its next president

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
University of South Florida president elect Rhea Law enters the room to applauds and cheers as she is named the new university president after interviews with the USF board of trustees at the USF Tampa Alumni Center on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 in Tampa. She will become the eighth person to hold the job. The nomination is pending approval next week by the state Board of Governors.
University of South Florida president elect Rhea Law enters the room to applauds and cheers as she is named the new university president after interviews with the USF board of trustees at the USF Tampa Alumni Center on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 in Tampa. She will become the eighth person to hold the job. The nomination is pending approval next week by the state Board of Governors. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Mar. 23, 2022

The big story: The University of South Florida has a new president.

Alumna and former trustee Rhea Law won the Board of Trustees support on Tuesday to serve as the school’s eighth leader. Law had said when she became interim leader upon the resignation of Steve Currall that she wouldn’t seek the job permanently.

After she shifted and decided to pursue the position, the majority of candidates who had been considering whether to apply backed away, according to the board’s search firm. After her formal interview with the members, the high-profile Tampa lawyer sealed the deal.

Read about the board’s decision here. The State University System Board of Governors still must confirm the choice.

The University of Florida, Florida International and the University of North Florida continue their presidential searches. The efforts are expected to take place outside public view after the approval of a new law shielding many of the search records, the UNF Spinnaker reports.

Hot topics

Teacher pay: Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled his approval of $800 million to boost salaries of public school educators. Not everyone benefits equally.

Dress code: An advisory committee has recommended scaling back the Flagler County school district’s decade-old strict dress code requirements, Flagler Live reports.

Financial literacy: Students entering Florida high schools in 2023 and afterward will have to take a financial literacy course to graduate, the News Service of Florida reports.

Gender lessons: DeSantis announced he intends to sign the controversial bill, which critics have called “don’t say gay,” that would restrict school instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation, WPTV reports.

Vouchers: The Leon County school district faces an $11.5 million deficit as a result of costs associated with the state’s expanded voucher programs, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Achievement gaps: Alachua County schools have the largest gap in reading achievement between Black and white students of any district in Florida, WUFT reports.

Security: Escambia County school district officials are looking to close a policy “loophole” that allows students 18 and older to have weapons in their vehicles on campus, WEAR reports.

Crowding: Students in northwest St. Johns County could be reassigned to different schools as district officials consider redrawing attendance zones to ease campus crowding, WJXT reports.

School board term limits: A bill to impose term limits, and revise the way schools approve book selections, landed on the governor’s desk for his consideration. DeSantis has said he supports the measure, Florida Politics reports.

Funding: An appellate court ruled that Miami-Dade County charter schools are entitled to a share of revenue from a 2018 schools property tax referendum, Miami Today reports. • The Flagler County Commission approved the county’s first school impact fee increase in 17 years, after fighting the proposal for several months, Flagler Live reports.

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