More Florida school districts consider tax referendums to boost their budgets

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
The Hillsborough County School Board is contemplating a local-option property tax referendum to raise more money to pay teachers.
The Hillsborough County School Board is contemplating a local-option property tax referendum to raise more money to pay teachers. [ AYA | Times ]
Published Apr. 13, 2022

The big story: It’s school district property tax referendums.

Citing the need for money beyond what the state provides, several districts across Florida are turning to voters for help.

A week ago, Pasco County’s School Board signaled its intention to place an item on the November ballot. This week, the Martin County School Board unanimously moved to seek renewal of its tax in August, TC Palm reports.

On Tuesday, the Hillsborough School Board headed down the same path.

The board sounded divided over superintendent Addison Davis’s request for $1 per $1,000 of taxable value. But members agreed to decide the issue next week, after receiving additional information from the administration and from members of the public.

“We are asking the community to step up and really commit to public education,” Davis said. Read more here.

Employee issues

Teacher pay: Pinellas County teachers will see extra money in their April 22 checks after the School Board approved raises averaging 3.25 percent. • An education company that said it was teaching south Florida students through virtual programs disappeared without paying any of its employees, WSVN reports.

Bus driver shortages: Osceola County schools face the possibility of some students at their bus stops without rides because of a lack of drivers, WKMG reports.

Superintendent turnover: The Volusia County School Board voted to dismiss superintendent Scott Fritz, who had announced he would not seek a contract extension, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Tallahassee action

College tuition: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure that provides additional college assistance to children in foster care.

Gender lessons: Schools in Florida and a growing number of states are grappling with how to teach about issues such as gay rights in the aftermath of new restrictions in law, Chalkbeat reports. • Passage of the law has some south Florida teachers talking about leaving the profession, WLRN reports. • LGBTQ activists are attempting to have the law thrown out, Education Week reports.

Rating lawmakers: Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future didn’t consider three hot-button bills when it issued its annual education report card for lawmakers, Florida Phoenix reports.

Other school news

Enrollment growth: Hundreds of St. Johns County students could see their school routines changed as the district changes bus routes along with attendance zones, the St. Augustine Record reports. • St. Johns district officials recommended rejecting all bids to build a needed new school, saying they are too high, WJXT reports.

Charter schools: Charter Schools USA is looking to open its 61st Florida school in Sarasota County, the North Port Sun reports.

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Educator discipline: The Leon County School Board upheld a two-week suspension for a high school principal who gave extra pay to employees without documenting their work, WFSU reports.

Student discipline: Charlotte County students who racially or sexually harass other students will face mandatory discipline, the Charlotte Sun reports. Punishments had been optional previously.

From the police blotter ... A Lake County teen was arrested after allegedly threatening to shoot up a school, WESH reports.

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

Before you go ... Do you pay attention to NPR’s Tiny Desk series? It’s quite the eclectic mix of music. Here’s pianist Abdullah Ibrahim from a couple of weeks ago.

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