Florida schools alter schedules amid weather woes

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Pinellas County students will have a shortened spring break after their schools closed for several days during hurricane season. Schools served as evacuation shelters for some of those days off.
Pinellas County students will have a shortened spring break after their schools closed for several days during hurricane season. Schools served as evacuation shelters for some of those days off. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Dec. 1, 2022

The big story: Hurricane season officially ends today. Some school districts still are trying to figure out how to make up time missed because of the storm that hit Florida less than a month ago.

Even though Tropical Storm Nicole prompted only brief closures, it’s the one that pushed many schools over the edge in terms of meeting the annual requirement for required instructional minutes.

Pasco County schools announced they’d be adding the minutes to their daily schedule to make up the difference. Hillsborough County cut short its winter vacation. Pinellas County, meanwhile, is looking at shortening spring break. Read more here.

In other weather related news, several Okaloosa County schools lost power during a major storm. At least one closed early as the problems continued, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Hot topics

Teacher pay: St. Johns County teachers headed back to the negotiating table after rejecting an earlier contract offer, the Florida Times-Union reports. • A Palm Beach County School Board member wants the school district to play a more active role in helping teachers and other employees find affordable housing, WPTV reports.

Religion in schools: A Pasco County mom offered to make a presentation about Hanukkah for children at her children’s elementary school, as she had done for years. A teacher and principal were reticent at first, suggesting new Florida law did not permit teaching about holidays. District officials later reviewed the law and state standards, and approved the presentation, saying everyone was “trying to be careful” in the new political environment, Florida Politics reports. More from WFTS.

Gender issues: The Duval County school district ended a long-standing relationship with an organization that provides resources for the LGBTQ community, contending the group posted material inappropriate for children, WJXT reports. • The Miami-Dade County School Board is poised to consider banning flags representing Pride and other topics that are not part of classroom instruction, WPLG reports. • Incoming University of Florida president U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse did not vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, which aims to protect same-sex and interracial marriages. Sasse has faced criticism at UF over his statements against same-sex marriage.

Election controversy: A newly elected Escambia County School Board member says he lives in the district he was elected to represent, despite a challenge made by the former member he defeated, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Community schools: Manatee Elementary School in Bradenton has seen a transformation since it began offering added services to students and the community, the Bradenton Herald reports.

From the court docket ... The family of a Volusia County student accused of groping a guidance counselor notified the school district of its intent to sue, alleging racial discrimination and a violation of the student’s due process rights, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

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