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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.
Scene from a Hillsborough County School Board meeting. The board makes videos of regular sessions, but not of its workshops.
Published Aug. 20, 2019

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. First Lady Casey DeSantis talks with students during the Hope for Healing a mental and substance abuse initiative held Roland Park K-8 School in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said state officials worked closely with DeSantis to craft the new rule. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
  2. In this Feb. 14, 2018, photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after a shooter opened fire on the campus.
  3. Pinellas County School Board member Carol Cook, left, celebrates her reelection to her fifth term in 2016. If ultimately approved, a term limits proposal would force Florida's school board members out after two consecutive terms.
  4. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini fields questions on the House floor on Feb. 19, 2020, about his proposal to ask voters to limit school board member terms.
  5. Chicken and vegetable dumplings with soy sauce were offered to students to test during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste-testing, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Pinellas Technical College. Twenty-eight new food items were tested and rated.  Some will be added to next year's school menus.
  6. Patrick Suiters, 10, left, and Gabriel Stanford, 9, both fourth-graders at San Jose Elementary School in Dunedin, fill out a survey after tasting falafel tots and nuggets during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste test at Pinellas Technical College. About 120 students tasted and rated 28 new food items that could be added to school breakfast and lunch menus next year.
  7. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  8. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  9. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  10. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  11. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
  12. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)