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Florida education news: Teacher pay, charter schools, football referees and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Hillsborough schools employee relations manager Mark West, human resources chief Marie Whelan, deputy superintendent Chris Farkas and assistant superintendent  Tracye Brown at teacher union negotiations. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Hillsborough schools employee relations manager Mark West, human resources chief Marie Whelan, deputy superintendent Chris Farkas and assistant superintendent Tracye Brown at teacher union negotiations. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Published Aug. 8, 2019

TEACHER PAY: Negotiators for the Hillsborough County school district and teachers union inch closer to an new salary schedule, but differences remain as the latest district offer appeared to do more for new hires than veteran educators.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A proposed new charter school in Pasco County is angling to locate at a site already dedicated to a future district school, setting up a potential dispute.

REF STRIKE: The Florida High School Athletic Association says it has a fallback plan if football referees refuse to work games this fall, TC Palm reports. Palm Beach County refs indicate they might continue to sit out, WPBF reports. More from the Orlando Sentinel, Tallahassee Democrat.

TEACHERS NEEDED: Alachua County school district officials say their shortage of qualified teacher applicants is worse than in the past, the Gainesville Sun reports.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: The Flagler County School Board prepares for its third superintendent search in five years, Flagler Live reports.

STILL TEACHING: A former Duval County teacher barred from teaching in Florida public schools after sending inappropriate messages to students is set to begin a new job at the University of North Florida, the Florida Times-Union reports.

STUDENT REWARDS: A University of South Florida education professor says offering children rewards such as cash for good grades can have some positive benefits, but also some undermining effects, Fox 13 reports.

BUS STOP SAFETY: Some Orange County parents raise concerns that their children’s school bus stop is too close to the home of a registered sex offender, WESH reports.

TEACHER TRAINING: The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee guarantees jobs in the Manatee County school system to new teachers who graduate from the campus, the Bradenton Herald reports. More from the Herald-Tribune.

TAX DISPUTE: A Clay County judge has arguments in hand and must decide whether to allow the school district to proceed with its proposed sales tax referendum, which the county government has blocked, Clay Today reports.

HELPING HANDS: Volunteers at several Lake County churches step up efforts to support F-rated Beverly Shores Elementary, the Daily Commercial reports. • The Lake school district adds several measures to improve educational offerings to its most struggling students, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

FOR THE BEES: Students at a Polk County elementary school will study the lives of bees with a new clear hive, the Ledger reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: Nineteen Palm Beach County elementary schools add 35 minutes of instruction to their daily schedules, after landing on the state’s list of low-performing schools in reading, the Palm Beach Post reports. • An Escambia County charter school delays its first day of classes so its leaders can attend a court hearing seeking to block a former teacher from enrolling her children there, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

CONNECTIONS: Questions remain over whether the relationships among former Florida Virtual School officials and some vendors crossed ethical boundaries, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: The Sarasota County school district will add more therapists to schools as the system moves to a “trauma informed” care model, the Herald-Tribune reports.

SCHOOL SAFETY: The St. Johns County school district proposes permanently closing a road that bisects the campus of one of its schools, the St. Augustine Record reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Florida lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at improving the outcomes of the state's prekindergarten program. Some critics suggest the proposed solutions, such as added testing, go too far.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  2. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    The 148-page bill would lead to a new ‘grading’ system for prekindergarten providers, so parents can better choose programs for their toddlers.
  3. Pasco County's Fivay High School has added new security measures to keep the peace on campus. [JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
    Parents want to see more control of the campus.
  4. Hillsborough County Chief of Schools Harrison Peters, speaking with students here at Potter Elementary School, is a the choice to become superintendent of Providence, R.I., schools. [Times file (2016)]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools in Hillsborough County, has landed a job as superintendent in Providence, R.I. [HCPS  |  Handout]
    Peters will become a turnaround superintendent at a troubled district.
  6. Gov. Ron DeSantis. [STEVE CANNON  |  AP]
    Florida students will read more classical literature and learn math differently, according to summary documents.
  7. Janessa Horsford, 5, says goodbye to her parents, Julytsa and Nigel Horsford, on her first day of kindergarten at Lake Magdalene Elementary School.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. Miranda Harwood, a fourth-grade math teacher at Brooker Elementary School, is the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year. [Hillsborough County Public Schools]
    The self-described “data queen” uses humor to keep her students engaged.
  9. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Five girls and one boy will face charges after lunchtime fights disrupted the Pasco County campus, according to the school district.
  10. State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, presents legislation to create a new chapter of Florida law dedicated to parents' rights when dealing with government and other agencies, during a committee meeting Jan. 23, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Parents have been marginalized by bureaucracy, and need to be empowered in law, sponsor Rep. Erin Grall says.