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Who controls Florida school sales tax referendums?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Several Florida school districts are asking residents to vote for local tax increases. Some have struggled to convince county commissioners to place their initiatives on the ballot.
Several Florida school districts are asking residents to vote for local tax increases. Some have struggled to convince county commissioners to place their initiatives on the ballot. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]
Published May 27

The big story: Florida school districts increasingly are depending on local-option tax referendums to boost their revenue, despite rising state funding.

But it’s not always as easy as just putting a question on the ballot.

In several instances, county commissioners have attempted to change their school boards’ plans. That happened in Clay and Duval counties in 2019, and surfaced in Broward County earlier this year before fading away.

Now the Hernando County board and commission are at odds over election dates. The outcome could affect school systems across the state. Read our story here.

Other hot topics

School security: Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who led the state’s school safety commission after Parkland, says Floridians have placed a higher priority on campus security in the past four years, but more work remains. • Two Central Florida sheriffs called for added school guards after this week’s Texas school shooting, WOFL reports. • The Santa Rosa County school district is looking into implementing a guardian program this fall, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • The idea to arm classroom teachers has resurfaced. South Florida teacher union leaders panned the concept, WPLG reports.

Graduation season: Meet Hernando County’s valedictorians and salutatorians. • An Orange County teen with cancer was granted his dying wish to graduate from high school, WESH reports. • A Lee County parent was arrested on accusations of attempting to attend a graduation ceremony with a fake bomb because her child would not graduate, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. • The crowd at an Okaloosa County high school’s graduation provided lighting to end the ceremony after a nearby transformer blew, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Book challenges: A state education professional practices investigator has ordered the Orange County school district to report which employee authorized the purchase of the graphic novel “Gender Queer” for school libraries, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The move has drawn criticism from at least one School Board member.

Career training: An 11-year-old Pinellas County boy became the nation’s youngest student to earn drone industry certification, WFTS reports. • A Collier County hospital is giving about 50 teens the opportunity to get hands-on training in a new summer program, the Naples Daily News reports.

Growth: The booming St. Johns County school district announced plans to build two more new schools in the next two years, WJXT reports.

Math textbooks: The Lee County School Board made a decision on its math book adoption, after waiting for the fallout to die down over state rejections of several materials, WFTX reports.

Race relations: The Martin County students who were photographed at school spelling out a racial slur have apologized, TC Palm reports.

Teacher pay: Lee County school employees ratified contract agreements that bring the base teacher salary to $47,500 and provide bonuses up to $5,000, WFTX reports.

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

Before you go ... Memorial Day comes Monday. Here’s what the holiday is all about — it’s not just another day off.

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