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Florida teachers want raises. They’re not always getting what they want.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Contract negotiations between the Hillsborough County Public Schools and the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, Nov. 15, 2021.
Contract negotiations between the Hillsborough County Public Schools and the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, Nov. 15, 2021. [ MARLENE SOKOL | Times ]
Published Jul. 21|Updated Jul. 21

The top story: The Hillsborough County school district has hundreds of teaching vacancies just two weeks before classes resume.

Like so many other Florida school districts, it’s scrambling to fill the jobs. Pay is part of the calculus, with the School Board asking voters to increase their property taxes to support raises as a way to attract more candidates.

In contract talks, though, the district offered teachers one-year supplements instead. And union leaders were having none of it. Read more here.

In other teacher pay news, Martin County teachers supported the School Board’s decision to use the same amount of property tax revenue to boost salaries, even though it represented a smaller percentage of the total, TC Palm reports. The board plans to expand other services with the remainder.

Hot topics

School leadership: A Pasco County elementary school lost its principal after receiving an F grade from the state. It prompted a flurry of last-minute principal changes. • Fourteen of 51 Marion County schools are getting new principals, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. • At least 21 Palm Beach County schools will have new leaders in the new academic year, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Teacher shortage: Florida lawmakers made it easier for military veterans and their spouses to teach without certification. Critics argue the plan undermines the teaching profession, the Gainesville Sun reports. • Some educators say Florida’s controversial new laws are exacerbating the state’s teacher shortage, The 19th reports.

Sex education: The Miami-Dade County School Board rejected the use of two sex ed books that include details about abortion, WPLG reports. The board previously had approved the books, and reversed course after complaints from a conservative organization invoking Florida’s new law on teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation, the Miami Herald reports.

Armed teachers: They’re in Okeechobee County schools, and the superintendent won’t identify who they are or where they teach, WPEC reports.

Moms for Liberty: The group’s national summit tapped into fears and frustrations of parents and others who don’t trust their local schools, the USA Today Florida Network reports.

School board politics

Endorsements: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, seeking the Democratic nomination for Florida governor, got into the school board candidate endorsement business. He did it to counter Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to get more conservatives onto school boards.

Pinellas County: The race for Pinellas County School Board District 6 features three candidates who span the political spectrum. They’re angling to fill the spot left open by the retirement of incumbent Bill Dudley.

Santa Rosa County: Santa Rosa County Republicans aren’t saying whether they will continue backing a School Board candidate who called for hanging doctors who prescribe hormone blockers to transgender children, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

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Lake County: One Lake County School Board incumbent escaped a challenge and won reelection unopposed, the Daily Commercial reports.

Orange County: A candidate for Orange County School Board is complaining that the local elections office distributed misinformation that might lead no-party voters to skip the August election, WESH reports.

Lee County: A Lee County School Board candidate explained his criminal past, which prevented him from being hired by the Sheriff’s Office, WBBH reports.

Other school news

Two Flagler County School Board members questioned continuing the district’s youth orchestra program. The board agreed to continue funding after parents pushed back, Flagler Live reports.

A Broward County teacher was accused of sexual harassment. Some residents are dissatisfied with the disciplinary action taken against the teacher, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Sarasota County students will have to start paying for school breakfast and lunch again. The prices are going up, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Santa Fe College will open a new charter school in Alachua County. Students will be able to graduate with a diploma and an associate’s degree, WCJB reports.

The Okaloosa County Commission agreed to issue bonds on behalf of a local charter school. The $14 million issuance will allow Destin High School to build a 25,500-square-foot expansion, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

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

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