Florida lawmakers aim to give control over high school sports to DeSantis

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
The Palm Harbor University High School varsity football team settles into warm ups during a rain storm prior to the start of the game with Tarpon Springs High School and Palm Harbor University High School on Friday, Sep 16, 2022, at Sponger Field in Tarpon Springs.
The Palm Harbor University High School varsity football team settles into warm ups during a rain storm prior to the start of the game with Tarpon Springs High School and Palm Harbor University High School on Friday, Sep 16, 2022, at Sponger Field in Tarpon Springs. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published March 30|Updated March 30

The big story: Floridians have seen Gov. Ron DeSantis exert his executive power to gain influence over school and university boards, state attorney offices and the taxing authority for Walt Disney World.

Are Florida high school sports next?

Proposals moving through the state Legislature would give the governor authority to appoint all members of the Florida High School Athletics Association board of directors, which lately has run into disputes over issues such as prayer at state championship games and collecting information about female students’ periods.

If he were to gain that power, Florida would be unlike any state except Delaware. Read more here.

Today in Tallahassee ... The House convenes for session at 11 a.m. HB 733 on school start times, HB 1069 on sex education and HJR 31 on partisan school board elections are among several education-related bills on the special order calendar. • The Senate meets in session at 1:30 p.m.

Hot topics

Teachers: A special magistrate sided with Hillsborough County teachers in their months-long pay dispute with the school district. • The Lake, Marion and Sumter county school districts are ramping up teacher recruitment efforts as they prepare to open more schools, the Villages Daily Sun reports. • The state Senate approved a bill that would place new restrictions on teacher and public employee unions, the USA Today Florida Network reports.

Superintendents: Brevard County School Board members revealed more information about why they dumped their interim superintendent, WKMG reports.

Sex education: The Leon County School Board ended months of delay over adopting a sex education curriculum, reaching a consensus after editing out challenged material, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • Broward County educators called for changes to the district’s current sex education curriculum, but opposed a proposed replacement, WPLG reports. More from WLRN.

Lottery funding: A bill moving through the Florida Legislature would take millions of dollars in lottery funding away from education and redirect it to lottery ticket sellers, WFLA reports.

Choice: The Palm Beach County school district plans a marketing blitz to convince students to attend district schools as voucher eligibility expands, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • Universal vouchers are popular among politicians, but support from the public is varied depending on the details, FiveThirtyEight reports.

Book challenges: The Duval County school district is explaining why it removed certain books from its shelves, Jacksonville Today reports. Some were unordered, while others didn’t fit its understanding of what’s allowed under state law.

Board eligibility: The full House will consider legislation changing the residency requirements for school board candidates, Florida Politics reports. The measure was prompted by the struggles of a Pasco County board candidate during the 2022 election.

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Bathrooms: The state Senate is considering legislation that would require schools to provide restrooms that are exclusively for males or females, the News Service of Florida reports.

Other school news

Drag and donuts: Students at an Orange County high school offered support to the LGBTQ club after the state pressured it to cancel its drag and donuts event, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

A Collier County foundation is raising money for children who can’t afford school uniforms. Nearly 100 people have donated so far, the Naples Daily News reports.

Parents at an Alachua County elementary school are seeking crowding relief for their children. They’ve asked the district to draw new attendance zones for the school, WCJB reports.

A Flagler County principal has lost his pay grievance with the school district. The issue had become entangled in board politics, but ended with a unanimous vote, Flagler Live reports.

The Hendry County school district is crafting a new logo. Officials have asked members of the public for ideas on how to refresh the district’s image, WBBH reports.

In higher education

Faculty tenure: The State University System Board of Governors will require professors to have post-tenure reviews every five years, despite heavy opposition, the News Service of Florida reports. More from Florida Phoenix, Tallahassee Democrat.

Leadership: St. Petersburg developer Deveron Gibbons was named to the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees.

New College: Students and faculty at the school are trying to figure out how to cope with the political upheaval of their school, the Associated Press reports.

Scholarships: Dozens of Palm Beach County teens who received college scholarships from a local foundation were surprised to learn the money was no longer there for expected renewals, the Palm Beach Post reports.

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

Before you go ... Who wouldn’t want a sword-fighting dog?

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