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Florida education news: Teacher pay, student discipline, testing limits and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Scene from a Hillsborough County School Board meeting. The board makes videos of regular sessions, but not of its workshops.
Published Aug. 20

POLICY REVIEW: The Hillsborough County School Board plans to discuss weighty issues such as teacher incentive pay and community schooling, but not at a regular meeting. Members instead will review the topics at a workshop, which the district stopped televising.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE: A national teacher survey echoes Pinellas County educators’ concern that schools are ignoring student behavior problems to get their referral numbers down.

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES: The Florida School Boards Association looks to reduced testing and improved teacher pay as it prepares its list of goals for the 2020 session.

OPEN ARMS: A Sarasota Jewish day school sees its enrollment triple after establishing a more inclusive mission statement, Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.

HOLDING FIRM: The Jacksonville City attorney refuses to rescind his binding legal opinion that has stopped the Duval County School Board from calling a special sales tax referendum, the Florida Times-Union reports. Duval County has a unitary government system unlike others in the state.

COACH SUPERINTENDENT: The superintendent of Taylor County schools takes over as interim football coach at Taylor County High, WCTV reports. The team had big problems with the coach who resigned, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

TESTING: Central Florida schools work to keep student testing to a minimum, but still face criticism for their assessment practices, WUFT reports.

PRINCIPAL CONCERNS: Manatee County School Board members raise yellow flags over the selection of an interim principal for the charter school that the district recently took over, the Bradenton Herald reports. They note the choice has a long discipline file, but district administrators said they had little time to find someone else.

SECURITY: State lawmakers call for changes in statute after learning a man who made threats against a Citrus County school cannot be prosecuted, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

SCHOOL CLOSING? The Polk County school district proposes shutting down aging Frostproof Elementary, saying the costs of repairs would be too high, the Ledger reports.

ACCUSATIONS: Sarasota County superintendent Todd Bowden accuses the woman who accused him of ignoring sexual harassment complaints of working with the teachers union to push him out, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
  2. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    School security and early learning get top billing in the first committee meetings of the looming 2020 session.
  3. This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.
  5. Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia holds a back-to-school press conference at Rampello K-8 School, [TIMES files]
    MaryEllen Elia, who led the Hillsborough district from 2005 to 2015, has been an educator since 1970.
  6. Jeff Eakins and MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough's last two superintendents, were hired from inside the school system. So have all others since 1967. [TIMES FILES] Times staff
    Two more public meetings are planned, and the online survey is up until Saturday.
  7. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    The board’s 2019-20 budget totals $1.39 billion.
  8. The DeLucio family of Trinity toured the Mitchell High School campus and showed the visit on their YouTube channel, which has more than 1 million subscribers. Many parents, students and school officials were not amused. YouTube
    The proposed policy comes up for a vote on Oct. 1.
  9. United School Employees of Pasco president Don Peace denounces the school district's pay raise proposal in a YouTube video sent to all district employees Sept. 9, 2019. United School Employees of Pasco
    The local teachers union already has denounced the idea.
  10. Goodwill's BookWorks preschool literacy program strives to instill a love of reading and helps provide children books.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.