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Florida school board races draw partisan interest from both sides

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Candidates for Pinellas School Board District 7, Karl Nurse (far left) and Caprice Edmond (far right) are pictured on Election Day at The Coliseum on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in St. Petersburg. School board races across Florida have become more partisan just two years later.
Candidates for Pinellas School Board District 7, Karl Nurse (far left) and Caprice Edmond (far right) are pictured on Election Day at The Coliseum on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in St. Petersburg. School board races across Florida have become more partisan just two years later. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Jun. 27|Updated Jun. 27

The big story: It’s been no secret that this year’s school board races would draw outsized attention across Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis made sure of that when he endorsed 10 candidates — something no previous governor has done in the nonpartisan elections — with promise of more to come.

Sensing the growing importance of local school politics, Charlie Crist also got in on the action. Crist asked Brevard County board member Jennifer Jenkins, who’s received many personal attacks from the right, to consider being a potential running mate in Crist’s bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, Florida Phoenix reports.

“I was super humbly grateful and — you know, if I’m being honest, I legitimately responded with ‘Why?’” Jenkins told the Phoenix.

Candidates espousing “parental rights” have emerged in school board races across Florida, with money flowing in from Republican sources, Politico Florida reports. Palm Beach County features one such challenge, the Palm Beach Post reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel.

Hot topics

Gender lessons: Disagreements between federal and state officials over LGBTQ student rights have become a centerpiece of growing national culture wars, Bloomberg Law reports. • Duval County LGBTQ activists rallied and said they will continue to fight Florida’s new law limiting instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation, WJXT reports.

Campus security: After hearing criticisms of the police response to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, law enforcement offices across Florida are honing their responses. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office held an active shooter drill at a local high school, WPTV reports. Sarasota County officers participated in similar exercises at a local elementary school, WFTS reports.

Parent involvement: Pensacola’s nonprofit Parent University held its first graduation of participants who sought ways to better help their children, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Free lunches: Congress extended the pandemic program providing free cafeteria meals to millions of children, but cut back on eligibility, CNN reports.

School naming: The Hernando County School Board will name its new technical school after state Sen. Wilton Simpson, who helped secure funding for the project, Hernando Today reports.

Before you go ... Baz Luhrmann’s new Elvis biopic features a lovely version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” from Kacey Musgraves. But that song now always conjures memories of the wedding scene from “Crazy Rich Asians” for many of us. Enjoy.

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