The big story: Who’s in charge of Florida’s school districts?
Nearly two thirds of them have new superintendents, with another seven still looking. And at least one other might have its hand forced.
On Tuesday, the Florida House advanced legislation that could require Hernando County voters to decide whether they want to dump their appointed superintendent in favor of an elected one. Some district officials have opposed the idea, which failed in 2021, but the political stars appear more aligned for this to happen.
“I do believe it’s absolutely time for a change in Hernando County,” said bill sponsor Rep. Jeff Holcomb, a former county commissioner who has sparred with the school board in past years. Read more here.
Also Tuesday, The Escambia County School Board rejected one member’s call to return to an elected superintendent, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. The district moved to an appointed leader in 2018. And the Martin County School Board named deputy superintendent Michael Maine to replace John Millay, who abruptly resigned earlier this year, TC Palm reports.
Student discipline: A Pinellas County mom raised concerns about increasing violence and discipline problems in her son’s middle school. She says school and district leaders aren’t listening.
Gender lessons: The State Board of Education is poised to consider a rule in April that would extend a prohibition on teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation through 12th grade, beyond what lawmakers have approved or are currently proposing, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Book challenges: The Escambia County School Board decided to return four challenged books to district shelves after hearing hours of public comment, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. The novels were among 176 titles a teacher wanted pulled over issues such as “indoctrination of LGBTQ” and “anti-whiteness.” The four are “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier, “The Nowhere Girls” by Amy Reed and “New Kid” by Jerry Craft. • Dozens of parents turned out to offer opinions to the Martin County School Board over the removal of about 80 books from the shelves, WPTV reports. The board took no action.
High school sports: Some successful Florida high school football coaches are finding it more lucrative to leave the state, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • A proposal to increase penalties for people who interfere with high school sporting events would not penalize fans who storm the field after a game to celebrate, the News Service of Florida reports.
Vouchers: Brevard County’s interim superintendent floated the idea of creating a district-run charter school system to compete with an anticipated expansion of private school vouchers, Florida Today reports.
Education funding: Lawmakers unveiled their initial proposals for higher education budgets that would give Gov. Ron DeSantis some, but not all, of what he’s asked for, Politico Florida reports.
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Teacher shortage: The state Senate advanced a measure that would create teaching apprenticeships for potential educators who have associate degrees, Florida Politics reports. The bill, which does not have a House companion, also would establish new incentive bonuses.
Term limits: While the Florida House seeks to shorten term limits for school board members, the Senate has proposed adding county commissioners to the officials subject to term limits, Florida Phoenix reports.
Year-round education: A Florida House subcommittee supported a bill to create a limited year-round schools program, suggesting the model could help some children overcome learning time lost during the pandemic, the News Service of Florida reports.
Today in Tallahassee ... The State Board of Education meets at 10:30 a.m. at Tallahassee Community College. • The Senate Education Postsecondary Committee will take up four bills when it meets at 11 a.m. • The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposed committee bill to revamp the education funding formula when it meets at noon. • The full Senate convenes at 2:30 p.m., with SB 202 on vouchers on the special order calendar. The House companion bill (HB 1) has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. • The House Education Quality Subcommittee will consider eight bills when it meets at 4 p.m.
From the police blotter ... An Alachua County high school student was arrested on accusations of threatening to shoot up her school, Main Street Daily News reports. • A St. Lucie high school teacher was arrested on allegations of inappropriate lewd conduct with a student, TC Palm reports.
From the court docket ... The Hillsborough County school district has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against vaping manufacturer Juul, WTVT reports.
Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.
Before you go ... Can you believe this is the same guy who makes Family Guy?
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