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Florida school districts deal with superintendent turnover

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
Pinellas County schools superintendent Mike Grego is retiring after 10 years on the job. Nineteen candidates applied to succeed him.
Pinellas County schools superintendent Mike Grego is retiring after 10 years on the job. Nineteen candidates applied to succeed him.
Published April 15, 2022|Updated April 15, 2022

The big story: The Pinellas County school district is conducting its first superintendent search in a decade.

The deadline to apply has passed, and one internal candidate — chief academic officer Kevin Hendrick — put in for the job. Fewer than two dozen others submitted paperwork to seek the position running Florida’s eighth largest district (which also is one of the nation’s biggest).

School Board members have said they’d prefer to see continuity in the progress started by retiring leader Mike Grego. But they haven’t committed to choosing an insider, suggesting their review over the coming weeks will help the best person rise to the top.

The board is scheduled to whittle the list down to semifinalists next week, with the goal of picking the superintendent on May 17. So, who applied? Read about the candidates here.

Pinellas is not the only district looking for a new leader. The Volusia County School Board appointed human resources director Rachel Hazel to serve as interim superintendent after dismissing Scott Fritz, who had announced he would not ask for a contract renewal, the Ormond Beach Observer reports.

Manatee County superintendent Cynthia Saunders has come under fire because of a 2014 grading scandal, but board members there said they expect her to remain in her post, WWSB reports.

Hot topics

An unidentified Gulf High School student looks at a school bus during dismissal Friday, April 1, 2022 in New Port Richey. Pasco County Schools has told parents it will be eliminating what it called "unfunded busing" to middle and high school students who live 2 miles or closer and have safe walking conditions available.
An unidentified Gulf High School student looks at a school bus during dismissal Friday, April 1, 2022 in New Port Richey. Pasco County Schools has told parents it will be eliminating what it called "unfunded busing" to middle and high school students who live 2 miles or closer and have safe walking conditions available. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]

School bus rides: Pasco County government officials called for increased spending on new sidewalks after the school district announced it will cancel several bus routes in the fall.

Tax referendums: If the Brevard County School Board asks voters for a property tax increase, it could have a fight on its hands, Florida Today reports.

School prayer: A Miami-Dade County School Board member caused a stir by saying “God and Jesus Christ” are the only God, prompting apologies to people of other faiths, the Miami Herald reports. The situation occurred as the board was recognizing National Day of Prayer.

Race lessons: Florida colleges and universities face a loss of funding if they violate new regulations on instruction about race issues in a bill Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign into law, the Miami Herald reports. The measure also would affect private employers’ training practices.

Gender lessons: A group of parents told the Monroe County School Board that it would be monitoring compliance with Florida’s new law on teaching gender identity and sexual orientation, Keys Weekly reports. Several people called for school-based advisory panels that include parents and watchdogs.

Elections: Manatee County voters are preparing to elect School Board members to single-member districts for the first time, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Crowding: The Palm Beach County School Board approved new attendance maps aimed at relieving three crowded campuses in the Boca Raton area, the Palm Beach Post reports. The plan includes the opening of a new school.

Other school news

North Florida Technical College is closing its cosmetology program. Students are scrambling to find alternatives to finish their programs, WJXT reports.

Hope Rural School in rural Martin County caters to the education needs of farmworkers’ children. It was founded to provide services the county school district did not offer, WPTV reports.

A new Council on the Status of Men and Boys is launching in Leon County. School district officials want questions answered before they’ll commit to providing any financial support, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

From the police blotter ... Nine students were arrested and 13 suspended after four fights at a Marion County middle school, WKMG reports.

From the court docket ... T-Mobile has sued the St. Lucie County school district in an effort to stop the district from selling two licenses related to the company’s 5G service, Light Reading reports.

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

Before you go ... Can you believe the Judds hadn’t performed together on TV in 20 years? Looks like it’s reunion tour time! (No Florida dates yet.)

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