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Florida students return to school today. Are you ready?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Children arrive for classes at Skycrest Elementary School during first day of school in 2021. Schools are starting the 2022-23 academic year this week.
Children arrive for classes at Skycrest Elementary School during first day of school in 2021. Schools are starting the 2022-23 academic year this week. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Aug. 10

The annual story: Summer break officially ends for millions of children across Florida, as 62 of 67 school district reopen their doors to resume classes.

Certain messages have come through loud and clear throughout the state:

• Buses will be running late to and from campuses, with drivers in short supply. The superintendent of St. Johns County schools is asking for patience, WJXT reports. So, too, are Leon County district officials, WCTV reports.

• Upon arrival, many students will not have permanent teachers, as districts struggle to find enough qualified applicants for their numerous vacancies. South Florida districts, for instance, still have hundreds of open teacher jobs, WPLG reports. Schools are getting creative in their efforts to have adults in front of students, WKMG reports. More from the Bradenton Herald.

• Children in several counties will see their cafeteria prices rise, after two years of federally subsidized meals for all. A political battle over free lunches and federal rules regarding gender discrimination also has some families concerned about their children’s meal status, WZVN reports.

• Classes will be working their way through new standards attached to new testing, while teachers and parents feel their way through newly state laws relating to their roles and responsibilities. The head of the Orange County teachers union said confusion abounds over the laws’ effect, WKMG reports.

With so much going on, communication will be key. The Monroe County school district has launched a new mobile app to better inform parents about the latest news and activities, Key West Citizen reports.

Hot topics

Housing costs: Rising rents are forcing families to move out of their children’s central Florida school districts, Spectrum 13 reports.

School board politics: Someone is posting illegal campaign signs accusing Brevard County School Board incumbent Misty Belford of illegally requiring student masks during the pandemic, Florida Today reports. • Okaloosa County School Board incumbents repeatedly are skipping candidate forums, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • A candidate for Seminole County School Board has challenged the eligibility of her opponent over state residency requirements, WKMG reports.

Campus security: Lee County schools are adding new technology to their safety efforts, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. • Brevard County school resource officers will be carrying rifles on campus this year, WKMG reports.

Tax referendums: The Hernando County School Board canceled a special meeting to determine next steps toward a sales tax referendum. It cited member illness, Suncoast News reports.

Other school news

A Christian school in Tampa continues to fight for its right to pray at state football tournaments. Cambridge Christian filed another appeal in its 2015 lawsuit, citing new U.S. Supreme Court precedent as a mitigating factor, the News Service of Florida reports.

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The Flagler County School Board made some last minute changes to its rules. It loosened up its dress code restrictions on t-shirts, and it decided middle schools will start 10 minutes earlier than planned, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Alumni of an Alachua County high school want to bring back a traditional HBCU style to the school’s marching band. They’re protesting the school administration’s refusal to allow the change, WUFT reports.

The Palm Beach County school district is opening a new school in Boca Raton. Officials expressed hope it will help ease classroom crowding that has plagued the growing community, the Palm Beach Post reports.

In higher education

K-12 educators are not the only ones angling for better wages. The adjunct faculty at St. Petersburg College, who make up 70% of the school’s instructors, have lost another round in their effort to negotiate pay for preparation time.

Hundreds of Flagler College students are being bumped from their dorms. Sprinkler systems went off unexpectedly, flooding their rooms, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Professors at Florida’s universities are feeling the pressures of new laws on instruction, academic freedoms and tenure. Many are considering leaving the state, the Miami Herald reports.

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

Before you go ... Maybe there’s not really 104 days of summer vacation. Even so, there was plenty of time for an adventure or two. Did yours match up to those of Phineas and Ferb?

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