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Florida teacher pay national ranking in dispute

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Pinellas County teacher union and school district representatives found few areas of agreement while negotiating pay on Dec. 8, 2021, at the union headquarters.
Pinellas County teacher union and school district representatives found few areas of agreement while negotiating pay on Dec. 8, 2021, at the union headquarters. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times ]
Published Sep. 19

The big story: Teacher pay has been a big deal in Florida for the past several years.

State lawmakers have directed millions of new dollars into educator salaries, saying they want Florida to be able to compete for the best available. The effort hasn’t always been enough, with veteran teachers noting that most of the new money went into introductory pay levels, and younger teachers saying the pay isn’t enough to stay on the job.

The Florida Republican Party recently claimed that the state under Gov. Ron DeSantis moved from 26th nationally in teacher pay to 9th. The Associated Press looked into that statement and found it false.

Hot topics

Teacher shortfall: 20 applicants in Lake County have taken advantage of Florida’s new program making it easier for military veterans to become teachers, the Daily Commercial reports.

School board politics: A campaign finance expert says newly elected Polk County School Board member Rick Nolte appears to have made an illegal donation to his own campaign, Lakeland Now reports. • Sarasota County School Board member Tom Edwards faces an ethics complaint that he lied on his 2020 financial disclosure forms, the Herald-Tribune reports. • National political action committees have begun trying to influence local school board races in Florida, Politico reports.

Budgets: The Hernando County school district will collect an additional $16.7 million in local tax revenue despite a decrease in the property tax rate, Hernando Sun reports. • The St. Lucie County School Board is asking voters to approve a property tax referendum to help cover expenses including teacher pay raises, TC Palm reports.

Materials challenges: Some Escambia County parents expressed anger over a test question that referred to nude photos and suicide, calling the material inappropriate, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. School district officials said some students face such issues, but added the presentation could have been better. • A man who sued to have several books removed from Sarasota County schools has dropped his effort, WUSF reports.

Other school news

The State Board of Education chairperson suggested Broward County’s superintendent needs to go. Some Broward County School Board members didn’t share his view, the Miami Herald reports.

Collier County is building a new high school. It will be named after a former sheriff who helped bring armed resource officers into the school district, the Naples Daily News reports.

The Broward County school district is looking at new attendance zones to ease crowding. Parents are raising concerns as a decision nears, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Charlotte County schools have seen an increase in families for whom English is not their primary language. The district will offer free English lessons to parents of students in the English language learner program, the Charlotte Sun reports.

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Some Polk County teens could get free formalwear for homecoming. They signed a pledge to avoid risky behavior at school events to qualify, WTVT reports.

From the police blotter ... A Seminole County school resource officer was fired after his arrest on allegations of child pornography, Spectrum 13 reports.

From the court docket ... Lawyers defending the Parkland school shooter have asked for the judge in the case to be removed, the Associated Press reports.

Before you go ... Why? Because everyone needs a laugh.

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