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Florida prepares for heated school board election season

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Candidates wait to answer questions from the audience during the Tiger Bay candidate forum for the Hillsborough School Board on Friday, June 17, 2022, at The Cuban Club in Tampa.
Candidates wait to answer questions from the audience during the Tiger Bay candidate forum for the Hillsborough School Board on Friday, June 17, 2022, at The Cuban Club in Tampa. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Jun. 20

The big story: It’s officially school board election season.

Candidates qualified for the Aug. 23 ballot through noon on Friday. Many of them had started campaigning months before, with interest high amid increased attention to the politics of issues such as library books, teacher pay and gender lessons.

Across the Tampa Bay region, hopefuls who span the spectrum of viewpoints lined up to run in races that could see some of the boards with new majorities. Who’s in the hunt? Get the details here.

The slate running for Hillsborough County School Board took to the stage at the Tiger Bay Club just shortly after the filing deadline passed. They were cautions in their comments.

The philosophical direction of several school boards across Florida hangs in the balance. Among them:

The Miami-Dade County School Board has four of nine seats up for election. They drew several conservative candidates supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ education agenda, the Miami Herald reports. • Fourteen candidates are seeking four seats on the Palm Beach County board, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Four of five seats on the Alachua County board are up for grabs, with two incumbents not seeking reelection, the Gainesville Sun reports. • Six of nine Broward County board seats are up for election, drawing 22 candidates, the Miami Herald reports. • Two Marion County board incumbents decided not to seek new terms, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

On leadership

Kevin Hendrick, a finalist for the job of Pinellas Schools Superintendent chats with guests during a meet and greet at Pinellas County School District headquarters on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in Largo.
Kevin Hendrick, a finalist for the job of Pinellas Schools Superintendent chats with guests during a meet and greet at Pinellas County School District headquarters on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in Largo. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

The Pinellas County school district is making the transition from one leader to the next. Incoming leader Kevin Hendrick faced his first official controversy on the day his board approved his three-year contract.

Hillsborough County superintendent Addison Davis is up for a contract extension. School Board members are talking positively about the idea, but some employee groups have their doubts.

Steve Currall stepped down as University of South Florida president two years ago. He’s kept a low profile since then, lately spending time as a visiting scholar at Harvard University.

Hot topics

School lunches: Inflation and rising worker wages are driving cafeteria prices up for some central Florida schools, WMFE reports. Other factors also are affecting the cost, WJXT reports.

Classroom lessons: Florida school districts are finding it difficult to prepare for implementing new law on classroom instruction, lacking guidance from the state, WFSU reports.

Student data: Broward County school district officials kept secrets from the public about a 2021 ransomware attack, but shared the information with a private group, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

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Career education: The Hernando County School Board approved a new apprenticeship program for adult students, Hernando Sun reports.

Before you go ... So who showed up to wish Paul McCartney a happy 80th on the final night of his U.S. tour? Glory days indeed.

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