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Struggling to make ends meet, teachers look to leave Florida

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
Pinellas County English teacher Philip Belcastro is one of several Florida teachers looking to leave the state.
Pinellas County English teacher Philip Belcastro is one of several Florida teachers looking to leave the state. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Nov. 30, 2023

The big story: Florida lawmakers have pushed in recent years to increase salaries for public school teachers.

Many teachers, however, say the state’s effort — with a focus on base pay — has not done enough to help them afford living in the communities where they work.

Their love of teaching hasn’t been enough to overcome other stark realities. Limitations on how districts may allocate raises, combined with rocketing inflation and state restrictions on how what they can say and do in classrooms, have pushed several to consider new jobs or less expensive places to live.

“I got tired of looking at my paychecks and then barely covering bills,” Nicole Amica, a former Hillsborough County teacher who moved to Mexico, told WUSF. “And, when your foundational needs are not met, I mean, how are you going to really be good for anything else?” Read more here.

Hot topics

Students from Monarch High School in Coconut Creek have walked out of the classes on two days in support of a transgender student who plays on the girls volleyball team.
Students from Monarch High School in Coconut Creek have walked out of the classes on two days in support of a transgender student who plays on the girls volleyball team. [ JOE CAVARETTA | South Florida Sun-Sentinel ]

Transgender student athletes: Students at a Broward County high school walked out of classes for a second day in support of a transgender student who was allowed to play on the school’s volleyball team, and the employees who face discipline for allowing her to play, WTVJ reports.

Technology: There’s a push across Florida and the nation to remove cell phones from the school day. Three Tampa Bay area superintendents say it’s a laudable goal, but suggest parents and students often stand in the way.

Superintendents: Russell Hughes of Walton County was named 2024 Florida superintendent of the year, WMBB reports.

School safety: A Hillsborough County charter school is trying to keep a privacy fence as a security feature, fighting the county’s order to remove it, Bay News 9 reports. • The Miami-Dade County school district has a new police chief, WLRN reports.

Public records: The Florida Citizens Alliance has sued the Collier County school district over its refusal to provide parent email addresses to the group, the Naples Daily News reports. The district says it does not keep a list of email addresses.

New College: Officials have selected an architect to redesign the New College campus dorms with an athletics theme, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Legal advice: The Flagler County School Board is at odds over how to handle its legal counsel as its lawyer’s contract runs down, Flagler Live reports.

Construction projects: The Santa Rosa County school district is looking to build another new high school to help alleviate crowding, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • The Palm Beach County School Board approved $25 million for improvements at five of its 24 high schools, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Branding: Tallahassee Community College leaders are promoting plans to rename the school as Tallahassee State College, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Attendance zones: City of Newberry officials weighed in on Alachua County’s lengthy school boundary debate, urging the school board to draw zones that align with city limits, Main Street Daily News reports.

From the police blotter ... A Pinellas County ninth grader was arrested on accusations of having a gun on campus, WFLA reports. • A Bay County teacher was arrested on allegations of possessing child pornography, the Panama City News Herald reports.

From the court docket ... Prosecutors described allegations of fraud perpetrated by a Palm Beach County nursing school during opening statements of a federal trial, the Miami Herald reports.

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

Before you go ... Happy holidays, early, with a little help from Blue Man Group.

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