The big story: After families and schools aired public complaints about not getting their state voucher money on time, scholarship funding organization Step Up For Students began distributing some of the awards.
Parents and school leaders who got a share said the influx would stave off the financial struggles they had been facing. But not everyone received deposits into their education savings accounts.
Step Up officials said they were working as fast as they can to review the requisitions, but some required additional attention. They expected a majority of the funds to be distributed by next week. Then they’ll take a look at waiting lists that are keeping some families from getting any money at all. Read more here.
Meanwhile, some critics of the state’s move to suspend four private schools from the voucher program over alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party are calling the decision a political stunt, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Bid rigging: Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged to look into allegations of bid rigging within the Florida Department of Education. It didn’t happen. The federal government is now investigating.
Book bans: Charlotte County school district leaders told educators to remove all books that include LGBTQ+ characters and themes, Popular Information reports. “These characters and themes cannot exist,” the district told librarians in a memo.
Free lunch: A Pasco County community group is working to pay off students’ old cafeteria debts, WFTS reports.
Testing: Florida’s acceptance of the Classic Learning Test as a college admission exam continues to stir controversy, The Guardian reports.
Transportation: The City of Newberry is exploring safe options for children to get to school after the Alachua County school district ends courtesy bus rides in January, Main Street Daily News reports.
From the police blotter ... A Hernando County student was arrested on accusations of threatening to shoot teachers, Suncoast News reports.
In higher ed
Free speech: Advocates are urging Daytona State College to allow a photo exhibit that reflects on police killings of Black men, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The school canceled the art show shortly before it was to open.
FAU leadership: Florida Atlantic University trustees indicated a willingness to explore the idea of appointing interim president Stacy Volnick to the job permanently, the Palm Beach Post reports. The board also moved to prevent the automatic elevation of its vice chairperson if the chairperson departs or is removed, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Broward College’s resignation: Broward College trustees accepted the resignation of president Greg Haile and said they will soon name a temporary replacement, the Miami Herald reports. Inside Higher Ed examines the atmosphere that led to Haile’s decision.
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Before you go ... In the middle of college application season? Here’s a satiric take on what it takes now, compared to not so long ago.
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