Florida teachers seek better pay from their districts’ booming budgets

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
A bargaining session in August at the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association headquarters in Tampa.
A bargaining session in August at the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association headquarters in Tampa. [ MARLENE SOKOL | Times ]
Published Sept. 8|Updated Sept. 8

The big story: It’s time for school boards around Florida to consider final adoption of their budgets for the fiscal year that started July 1.

Most districts are projecting spending more than a year earlier, as revenues rise even while tax rates decline. As they examine the numbers, teachers are asking why more of the money isn’t being made available for pay raises.

In Hillsborough County, for example, the board included a 19% reserve within its approved $4.4 billion budget. Teacher representatives have asked during negotiations for $100 million more in total compensation from the amount, while district officials have so far not agreed.

Lee County teachers have suggested the opportunity for better pay lies within their district’s newly approved $2.7 billion budget, too, the Lehigh Acres Citizen reports. Board members there have said they want to put as much money into teachers’ checks as possible, with negotiations ongoing.

Hot topics

Attendance: The Pasco County school district is one of many focusing its attention on improving student attendance rates, amid concerns that absenteeism is on the rise nationally. The district has been confronting this issue for years.

Growth: The St. Johns County school district is holding workshops as it prepares to redraw attendance zones to accommodate growth, WJXT reports. • The Lee County school district has several construction projects under way to provide more space for its rising student population, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Makeup days: Citrus County students will have two makeup days to replace time missed because of Hurricane Idalia, WTSP reports.

Race relations: The principal of a Flagler County elementary school who held a segregated student assembly targeting Black students’ test scores has resigned, WJXT reports. She did not express regret for the incident or the resulting fallout, Flagler Live reports.

Security: Fans attending Alachua County high school football games will be allowed to carry clear bags only, WCJB reports.

Superintendent searches: Some Duval County residents say they want the district’s next superintendent to pay greater attention to Black students and their communities, Jacksonville Today reports.

Teacher training: The principal of Hillsborough County’s Adams Middle School has implemented daily teacher coaching sessions, Bay News 9 reports.

Other school news

Flagler County’s Youth Orchestra came under fire from several school board members. It now has new leadership, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Five people were arrested in relation to a Martin County High School football recruiting scandal. Three more warrants have been issued in the investigation, which has not affected any current players or coaches, TC Palm reports.

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The conservative transformation of New College continues to receive scrutiny. The U.S. Department of Education has received a civil rights complaint alleging discrimination and a hostile working environment at New College of Florida, the Herald-Tribune reports.

The University of Florida is embarking on a new strategic plan. President Ben Sasse worked on the proposal privately, and it has yet to be released publicly, the Gainesville Sun reports.

From the police blotter ... A Volusia County teacher was arrested on accusations of hitting a 4-year-old student with autism, WESH reports.

Happening today ... The State University System Board of Governors will hold a 2 p.m. conference call on Zoom. The agenda includes several high profile items including the consideration of Classic Learning Test as an alternate entry exam, the financing of a new football stadium for USF, and updates on presidential searches for New College and Florida Atlantic University.

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

Before you go ... New Rolling Stones!

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