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Florida schools shift from classrooms to shelters

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Headed to a school-based hurricane shelter? Be sure to bring your bedding, food and other basic supplies, as these evacuees from Hurricane Irma did in 2017.
Headed to a school-based hurricane shelter? Be sure to bring your bedding, food and other basic supplies, as these evacuees from Hurricane Irma did in 2017.
Published Sep. 27|Updated Sep. 29

The big story: Hurricane Ian is on its way, making steady progress toward the Tampa Bay area.

Many low-lying and coastal areas already face mandatory evacuations. Families without anyplace else to go likely will land at a school-based shelter.

These aren’t the Hilton.

“Usually, there are only basic facilities available, like a floor and a roof,” the Pasco County emergency management team advised potential users.

What should folks seeking respite from the storm bring to the shelters? Read about it here.

With the storm threatening, many school districts including Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas have canceled classes for the remainder of the week. (See the updated list from the Florida Department of Education.) That takes away the usual routine for children. Not sure how to talk to your kids about what’s happening? Some experts have advice for you.

Keep up with the latest hurricane news at tampabay.com/hurricane. All coverage on that page is open to all readers. Stay safe.

In other school news

Florida school bus drivers and other support staff are to begin receiving a minimum of $15 an hour, beginning Oct. 1.
Florida school bus drivers and other support staff are to begin receiving a minimum of $15 an hour, beginning Oct. 1. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2020) ]

Employee pay: School support staff across Florida will see a mandatory minimum wage of $15 per hour by Oct. 1. The change can be transformational for some workers, WLRN reports.

Book challenges: The Florida Freedom to Read project identified 581 books that have faced challenges in schools around the state, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

New laws: Florida teachers continue to raise concerns about how the state’s newest education laws threaten the integrity of public schools, WUFT reports.

Home schooling: Parents in rural parts of Florida are finding more freedom and flexibility in home schooling their children, and their numbers are growing, reimaginED reports.

School security: Walton County deputies and emergency responders participated in a real-time live shooter drill, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. “It’s a shame that we have to practice these kinds of measures,” school superintendent A. Russell Hughes said.

From the court docket ... Prosecutors declined to pursue charges against a man accused of disrupting a Miami-Dade County School Board meeting, WLRN reports.

In higher ed

Do university academics have academic freedom? As Florida fights in court over university professors’ First Amendment rights, experts say the law is not clear as to whether a state can dictate what state-employed instructors teach, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Florida Gulf Coast University announced three finalists for its presidency. The board plans to interview the candidates to replace retiring Mike Martin on Oct. 17, FGCU 360 reports.

From the court docket ... A former University of South Florida account manager was sentenced to 10 years in prison for embezzling nearly $13 million from the school.

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Before you go ... Don’t you wish Linda Ronstadt still were able to perform live?

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