Contract talks progress amid teacher shortage across Florida

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Negotiators for the Pinellas County school district and the teachers union discuss salaries and benefits during bargaining on Sept. 27, 2023.
Negotiators for the Pinellas County school district and the teachers union discuss salaries and benefits during bargaining on Sept. 27, 2023. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times ]
Published Oct. 2

The big story: When speaking about the shortage of applicants for positions, teachers across Florida have pointed to the state’s level of pay compared to other states.

With average salaries near the bottom, according to various sources, attracting educators to work here can be a task — particularly when paired with high costs to live here and the politics that can demoralize even the most dedicated professionals.

Representatives for teachers have taken that scenario into this year’s contract negotiations, where they’ve asked for compensation that values their work and their expertise. They’ve said it would be nice to afford to live in the communities where they teach. In the Tampa Bay area, they’re making some progress. Read more here.

Hot topics

School board elections: A Hillsborough County incumbent has drawn the wife of a conservative state senator with ties to Gov. Ron DeSantis as a challenger in her 2024 election.

Hurricane response: A Flagler County School Board member questioned whether the district should stop allowing schools to be used as hurricane shelters, Flagler Live reports.

Hispanic heritage: Eight Palm Beach County educators shared how their Hispanic identity influences their work, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Construction projects: Students at a Broward County school where the roof collapsed two years ago continue to take classes in portables, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The Palm Beach County school district has four new schools planned to cope with growth, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Campus security: Duval County schools are increasing security at high school football games in response to recent shooting scares, WJXT reports. • A Broward County private school has stepped up security after being accused of having ties to the Chinese Communist Party, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Book challenges: A Flagler County parent’s objection to the Bible in schools has highlighted inconsistencies in the school district’s challenge process, Flagler Live reports.

Attendance: Orange County school district leaders are seeking solutions to increased chronic student absenteeism, WFTV reports.

From the police blotter ... An Orange County middle school teacher was arrested on accusations of purchasing child sex abuse material, WKMG reports.

In higher ed

Presidential searches: New College trustees are scheduled to meet Tuesday to select a permanent president for the school, with interim leader Richard Corcoran widely expected to land the job, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Broward College trustees are set to select an interim president, with some familiar names on the list of potential choices, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Name game: School leaders want to give the college a new name after adding new bachelor’s degree programs, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

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Tenure: Faculty members reached an agreement with the administration over how to handle post-tenure performance reviews, Jacksonville Today reports.

In-state tuition: A Democratic state senator has filed legislation to protect in-state tuition eligibility for prisoners, Florida Politics reports.

From the court docket ... Lawyers for New College of Florida have threatened to sue former students and faculty members who launched the online Alt New College, the Associated Press reports. • Some students have filed a federal lawsuit to halt implementation of a law restricting restroom use at state colleges and universities, News Service of Florida reports.

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

Before you go ... The terrific guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela has not put out new music in four years. Until now. Here’s their latest release from the CD, “In Between Thoughts ... A New World.”

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