DeSantis endorses school board candidates who back his agenda

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks moments before signing the Parental Rights in Education bill in March. He has based his first round of school board endorsements on candidate support of this bill and other parts of his agenda.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks moments before signing the Parental Rights in Education bill in March. He has based his first round of school board endorsements on candidate support of this bill and other parts of his agenda. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published June 21, 2022|Updated June 21, 2022

The big story: Anyone wondering how far Gov. Ron DeSantis might go to influence school board elections around the state got an answer on Monday.

Just days after issuing his education agenda, which included a questionnaire for board candidates seeking his support, DeSantis released his first round of endorsements. The move followed on the heels of his efforts to affect state Senate races during ballot qualifying week.

His list included 10 board hopefuls from across Florida, including Sarasota incumbent Bridget Ziegler, who co-founded Moms for Liberty, and Alachua incumbent Mildred Russell, a DeSantis appointee who led the ouster of the district’s pro-masking superintendent.

Soon after the list appeared on DeSantis’ campaign Twitter account, other GOP leaders joined him in backing the same 10, indicating their organized push to sway local governance of the schools. Read more from the Herald-Tribune and Florida Politics.

Want to register to vote in these races? Click here. The deadline is 29 days before the election date. School board races are nonpartisan, so all eligible voters may participate.

Hot topics

Race lessons: Palm Beach County educators gathered for an annual conference to discuss how to teach African, African American and Caribbean studies. Leaders said teachers need to find ways to affirm all students despite new Florida law restricting how some issues may be described, WLRN reports.

Culture wars: Some Monroe County residents representing Moms for Liberty started bringing their complaints to the local school board, Keys Weekly reports.

Leadership: The president of Florida Atlantic University announced he will step down at the end of the year, WPTV reports. • The Orange County School Board will interview two finalists for its superintendent post today, WFTV reports.

Construction funding: The Flagler County school district will ask voters to approve a half-percent sales tax to bring added revenue for school improvements, WKMG reports. • The city of North Port is considering a school impact fee increase to cope with growth and its effect on the local schools, the North Port Sun reports.

Other school news

The Escambia County school district started offering additional social services in 34 schools using pandemic relief funds. The model has been successful enough for officials to look for ways to maintain it even after the money runs out, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

The Brevard County school district’s budget picture is looking better than expected. The district still faces challenges in inflation, insurance costs and raise demands, Florida Today reports.

Follow what’s happening in Tampa Bay schools

Follow what’s happening in Tampa Bay schools

Subscribe to our free Gradebook newsletter

We’ll break down the local and state education developments you need to know every Thursday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Collier County school district officials say they face a hiring crisis. The district has more than 150 teaching vacancies, WINK reports.

A Palm Beach County teacher has lost her state teaching certification. She was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old student, the Palm Beach Post reports.

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

Before you go ... Looking for a nice pick-me-up movie? Check out this one, which is streaming on Paramount. There’s even a higher education story line (though not Florida).

• • •

Sign up for the Gradebook newsletter!

Every Thursday, get the latest updates on what’s happening in Tampa Bay area schools from Times education reporter Jeffrey S. Solochek. Click here to sign up.