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Florida education news: School supplies, bus rides, turnarounds and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Published Aug. 14

GETTING READY: A Hernando County family makes some tough decisions in the shopping aisles while purchasing school supplies — a cost that keeps rising across Florida and the nation.

REPORTING BAD ACTS: The Florida Department of Education seeks to decrease the amount of time schools have to report educator misconduct, from 30 days down to 24 hours.

TURNAROUNDS: Students, parents and teachers at Pasco County’s Hudson Elementary welcome a spate of changes they hope will lead their school to better results.

READING LESSONS: The Hernando County School Board approves $350,000 for new early literacy initiatives, after seeing the district’s state reading scores decline.

BUS RIDE RAP: A Pasco County school bus driver sends up “Old Town Road” with his own music video, the new lyrics based on his experiences behind the wheel.

BUH-BYE: A group of central Florida moms go viral with their social media photo celebrating the departure of their 18 children for the first day back to school, the NY Daily News reports.

SECURITY: A task force of Broward County civic officials says the school district isn’t ready to begin classes, and offers recommendations to improve, WPLG reports. • The Lee County school district investigates its first threat of the new year, WBBH reports. • The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission continues its efforts to find ways to make schools safer, WLRN reports. • Monroe County schools add security to their entrances and enhance their visitor system as they prepare for students to return, the Miami Herald reports.

FINDING TEACHERS: Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran urges school districts to place a high priority on recruiting and retaining top teachers, Spectrum News reports.

TAX BATTLE: The Jacksonville City Council asks Florida’s attorney general to weigh in on its authority to reject the Duval County School Board’s request to place a sales tax referendum before voters, the Florida Times-Union reports. The city has denied the district’s request to this point. The Times-Union offers a timeline of events in the battle. • A Clay County judge is expected to rule by Friday on whether the Clay School Board may hold a special sales tax referendum, Clay Today reports.

PUBLIC MEETINGS: The Manatee County School Board adds security checks for people attending its meetings, and limits the audience size, after a raucous session regarding the district takeover of a charter school, the Bradenton Herald reports. The dispute over that charter school continues, the Herald reports. More from the Herald-Tribune.

ENROLLMENT FIGHT: An Escambia County charter school denies an ex-teacher’s children entry, citing concerns over threats by the former employee, even after a judge rules the school should enroll the children, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

NEW SCHOOL: A planned new charter high school in the Okaloosa County beach community of Destin takes strides toward reality, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

SNARLED: Traffic outside a new Martin County charter school ties a neighborhood in knots, prompting the school to change its pickup and dropoff plans, TC Palm reports.

CONSTRUCTION FUNDS: The Broward County school district’s $800 million school renovation program is now estimated to run $436 million over budget, with few of the 234 projects completed five years after voters approved the spending, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

DENIED: The Volusia County school district denies the appeal of a high school principal who was removed amid allegations she gave hundreds of students fake AP exams, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

DEMOTED: A Santa Rosa high school’s athletic director is demoted over allegations that he misappropriated funds and failed to adequately supervise volunteers, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

SETTLED: The Okaloosa County school district and its former director of community affairs reach a deal ending lawsuits between them, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

GETTING THERE: A Sarasota County kindergartner gets on the wrong bus to go home, causing his grandmother to panic, the Charlotte Sun reports. He mistakenly went to his after-school care center rather than to grandma’s house. • Leon County parents demand answers after the school district’s bus system breaks down, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: The Indian River County School Board hires a national search firm to help find candidates for its superintendent vacancy, TC Palm reports. • Jacksonville’s mayor calls for an elected Duval County superintendent, Florida Politics reports. The City Council’s vice president, a former mayor, calls the idea a non-starter, Florida Politics reports.

STILL GROWING: St. Johns County schools see record numbers of students, the St. Augustine Record reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco, on the left, present their latest pay request to the district's bargaining team during talks on Oct. 24, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Teachers have yet to reach a deal on their contract.
  2. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. It has met just once more since then. The Florida Channel
    Lawmakers have yet to set an aggressive agenda beyond talk of teacher pay as the 2020 legislative session nears.
  3. FILE - In a Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 file photo, transgender teen Drew Adams, left, leaves the U. S. Courthouse with his mother Erica Adams Kasper after the first day of his trial about bathroom rights at Nease High School, in Jacksonville, Fla. The transgender student's fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling in 2018 ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP, File) WILL DICKEY  |  AP
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. A bird's-eye view of USF St. Petersburg, which this week announced a new member of the Campus Board. She is Melissa Seixas, a Duke Energy executive who earned her master's degree at USF.
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  5. An LGBTQ Pride march participant walks under a large rainbow flag in New York earlier this year. School Board policy regarding LGBTQ students has been a frequent topic of discussion in recent months in Pasco County. CRAIG RUTTLE  |  AP
    The discourse is more civil and respectful, two weeks after a session that many deemed hate-filled and vile.
  6. The Florida Legislature so far has has left Gov. Ron DeSantis to set most education policy priorities for 2020.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. "Miss Virginia," a film about school choice, will be screened at the Tampa Theatre on Dec. 10.
    “Miss Virginia” will be playing at the Tampa Theater on Tuesday.
  8. Florida Senator Tom Lee, R- Thonotosassa. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES
    The Senate Education Committee will tackle some high-profile issues in its final meeting before session.
  9. Jennifer Dixon, Pasco County's 2020 Teacher of the Year, thanks her students for making her job 'the job that I love.' JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Jennifer Dixon ‘lives and breathes teaching,’ her principal says.
  10. Third grade teacher Genevieve Beaumier, center, helps Venicia Joanis, 9, left, and Tobias Watkins, 8, with their reading skills at Forest Hill Elementary School in Tampa. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.