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Politics threaten tax revenue for Hillsborough schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
The Hillsborough County Commission is considering whether to include local schools in its proposal to extend a community investment sales tax. Schools have benefited from the original tax, which is expiring after 30 years.
The Hillsborough County Commission is considering whether to include local schools in its proposal to extend a community investment sales tax. Schools have benefited from the original tax, which is expiring after 30 years.
Published April 1

The big story: Schools were a critical selling point when Hillsborough County officials asked voters to approve a special community investment sales tax nearly 30 years ago.

Now as the County Commission considers seeking a renewal, leaders are divided over whether to include schools as a recipient of future tax revenue. Some don’t like that the School Board is planning to pursue its own separate referendum for a local property tax at the same time.

Board members noted the two taxes would fund different items, and urged the county to keep the district in the mix for the sales tax. A decision could come this week. Read more here.

In other taxing news, the Broward County school district faces the likelihood it will have to pay $80 million to charter schools to share revenue from its 2018 local tax referendum. District officials had received warnings for years that such a bill might be coming due, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Hot topics

Book challenges: The American Library Association said Florida faced more book challenges in schools and libraries in 2023 than any other state, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Chaplains: Florida is one of a dozen states advancing proposals to allow religious chaplains to counsel students in public schools. While some tout the idea as a “rescue mission,” others call it dangerous, Associated Press reports.

In memoriam: A St. Lucie County school community gathered to create a memorial for one of its beloved teachers, who was killed Friday night, WPTV reports.

Social media: Groups opposed to Florida’s law restricting children’s access to social media argue the measure could compromise all users’ data privacy, NPR reports.

University research: The amount invested in research projects at Florida’s public universities hit an all-time high, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Vermont bound: Vermont’s governor is defending his choice of a Florida charter school executive to serve as his state’s education commissioner, Bennington Banner reports.

From the police blotter ... Two Palm Beach County school employees were arrested in separate allegations of inappropriate relations with students, WPTV reports.

From the court docket ... A federal judge heard arguments Friday in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Florida law that limits teachers’ use of personal pronouns and titles in public schools, News Service of Florida reports. The judge said he would attempt to get out a ruling as quickly as possible.

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

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