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Florida schools seek more taxes to raise staff pay. Do they need it?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
A teacher waves a sign in support of the Pinellas school property tax referendum in November 2012. Several Florida school districts are attempting to follow suit in 2022.
A teacher waves a sign in support of the Pinellas school property tax referendum in November 2012. Several Florida school districts are attempting to follow suit in 2022. [ CERRI, LARA | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jun. 1

The big story: Several Florida school districts — including those in Hillsborough and Pasco counties — are seeking support for property tax referendums this fall, as a way to bolster their general operating funds.

It’s not an easy sell, with inflation so severe these days.

Complicating matters is the fact that property values are soaring in the area. As they rise, some reason, tax collections should go up too. Critics want to know why they should have to approve a rate increase if districts should be flush with cash.

But It’s not that simple. There are many other factors at play, several imposed by the state, that can limit districts as their expenses grow. Read on for details.

Hot topics

Classical education: The move is afoot in Florida to instill classical education in schools and universities, as a conservative reaction to what they consider a progressive curriculum, Salon reports.

Book challenges: A St. Johns County school district committee recommended restrictions on access to some library books that have been challenged by a parent group, WJXT reports. • A Brevard County high school teacher has drawn the ire of Moms for Liberty with his online fundraiser aimed at creating a banned book collection for students, Florida Today reports.

School security: A proposal to tweak Florida’s school security laws has landed on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk. It does not address gun issues, but tackles other areas and had bipartisan legislative support. • The Orange County School Board discussed ways to improve its safety policies and procedures, WKMG reports.

Employee pay: Palm Beach County non-instructional staff reached a tentative contract agreement that includes raises and bonuses, WPTV reports.

Gender issues: Without explanation, the Seminole County School Board withdrew consideration of a proclamation supporting LGBTQ students and employees, WKMG reports.

Other school news

The St. Johns County school district is seeing enrollment boom. The School Board approved seven new attendance zones to help ease the crunch, WJXT reports.

Schools are looking for ways to decrease utility expenses. Two net-zero energy middle schools are set to rise in Miami-Dade County, Miami Today reports.

Escambia County’s Warrington Middle School is anxiously awaiting its test score results. If it doesn’t earn a C or better from the state, it faces conversion to a charter school, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

The removal of the words “Good Friday” from a Putnam County school district calendar sparked an outcry. The district added it back, the Palatka Daily News reports.

From the police blotter ... A former Broward County teacher was arrested on allegations of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student, WSVN reports.

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

Before you go ... Bollywood star Krishnakumar Kunnath, frequently referred to simply as KK, unexpectedly died at age 53. “Tadap Tadap” is considered one of his most memorable songs.

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