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Florida school districts set tax votes for August amid criticism

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
Several  Florida school districts including Hillsborough and Pasco counties have called tax referendums for the Aug. 23, 2022, primary election day. They've received criticism that voter turnout is traditionally lower in primaries.
Several Florida school districts including Hillsborough and Pasco counties have called tax referendums for the Aug. 23, 2022, primary election day. They've received criticism that voter turnout is traditionally lower in primaries. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published May 5, 2022

The big story: This spring, Florida lawmakers approved a measure requiring all school district special tax referendums to take place during general elections only. The goal was to have the votes take place when the most people participate.

The bill passed the House with two dissenters, and won unanimous backing in the Senate. It has yet to go to the governor’s desk and, if signed, it would take effect on Oct. 1.

In the meantime, school boards are taking the opportunity of calling referendums for new taxes or extensions during the upcoming Aug. 23 primary election. The Pasco County board changed its planned initiative from November to August earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Commission authorized its School Board’s primary referendum, despite some strong opposition. Two commissioners voted against the item.

“I just don’t understand why this request isn’t for the general election,” commissioner Ken Hagan said. “Essentially you’re disenfranchising a big portion of the electorate.”

Read the story here.

Hot topics

Book challenges: The Brevard County school district canceled student access to an online library and an online game amid concerns officials could not guarantee all material meets new state regulations, Florida Today reports. • A Duval County parent has called on the school district to remove any references to the Bible, saying he wants his daughter growing up in a place “where we are tolerant of everything and everyone,” WTLV reports.

Public comment: After an hours-long meeting where hundreds of people signed up to speak, the Duval County School Board is contemplating revisions to its public commenting policy, WJXT reports.

Teacher pay: Two Hillsborough County teachers discussed their concerns about the future of their profession and how long they and others might remain, Bay News 9 reports. • The Brevard County school district and teachers union kicked off negotiations for their 2022-23 contract, Space Coast Daily reports.

Rising insurance costs: The Clay County school district is examining a move to self-insurance as a way to insulate itself from increasing premiums, Clay Today reports. Officials heard a presentation that the move could save about $1.8 million a year.

Other school news

Hillsborough County teens will have more access to advanced courses. The school district announced it will expand the Cambridge AICE program to several more high schools, WTSP reports.

It’s that time of year when school districts announce leadership changes. The Osceola County district announced nearly a dozen moves, WFTV reports. • Nine Manatee County schools will get new principals, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Student-athletes often make good leaders. A South Florida organization visits high schools to help prepare teens for tough situations on and off the field, WPTV reports.

I love my kids.’ A Brevard County charter school bus driver saved 40 students from a bus fire, WKMG reports. No one was injured, Florida Today reports.

Getting there is half the battle. Five Broward County graduating high school seniors never missed a day of classes since kindergarten, WTVJ reports.

From the police blotter ... A parent was arrested and six students were cited after a brawl at a Miami-Dade County middle school, the Miami Herald reports.

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

Before you go ... On Wednesday, Star Wars fans across the galaxies celebrated the force. The reward? A new trailer for the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which debuts later this month.

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