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Florida education news: Hurricane Dorian, turnaround schools, roofing deals and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
School buses will return to the roads across the Tampa Bay region as classes resume following time off for Hurricane Dorian.
Published Sep. 4

HURRICANE DORIAN: As the devastating storm finally begins to move, with most of Florida outside its cone, schools around the Tampa Bay area and state begin to reopen for classes. District leaders will begin discussing how to answer the question of whether kids will have to make up the missed time. Many parents and school employees expressed support for the decision to stay closed while Dorian threatened, though a few found reason to complain. To those who questioned the closures, Marion County’s sheriff had a simple response: Stop whining, WKMG reports. More from the Ocala Star-Banner, Sun-Sentinel, Florida Times-Union.

TURNAROUNDS: The Florida Department of Education proposes new rules to give the state more control over the operations of schools working under approved turnaround plans. One change would require a district to get state permission to change principals at a turnaround school.

BID RIGGING: A former Pasco County purchasing director resigns under pressure amid investigations and lawsuits into allegations that she had an intimate relationship with a prominent local roofer and helped him win district work. No criminal charges have been filed.

MORE REQUIRED INSTRUCTION: Two Florida lawmakers revive legislation to require schools teach students about human trafficking, Florida Politics reports.

EXTRA SUPPORT: The Citrus County Education Foundation builds its donor base to offer greater help to local schools, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

RETIREMENT BENEFITS: Having beaten back charges against her, former Okaloosa County superintendent Mary Beth Jackson begins receiving her state retirement benefits, Florida Phoenix reports.

SPEAKING OUT: The Sarasota County school district employee who has accused a top administrator of sexual harassment brings her complaint directly to the School Board, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Hillsborough County School Board member Karen Perez MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    School board member Karen Perez sees student stress in her social work practice.
  2. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  3. Pasco school bus drivers are among those school-related employees who would get a 3.25 percent raise under a tentative contract agreement for 2019-20.
    District, union attention now turns to teacher contracts.
  4. Teacher Kate Newell watches seventh graders Aaron Roxberry and Jacob Iovino practice the slope-intercept formula in one of her weekly visits to their Bayonet Point Middle algebra class, which Newell usually teaches remotely. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. eSchool teacher Kate Newell holds a discussion-based assessment with eighth-grader Ariana Toro during a recent visit to Bayonet Point Middle School. Newell leads the math course remotely most days, but comes to campus at least once weekly to give her students some extra attention. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Principals increasingly turn to virtual instruction to fill their vacancies.
  6. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School in 2018.  [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Reading proficiency, however, continues to be a challenge.
  7. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
  8. Damian J. Fernandez, center, is introduced Monday as the new president of Eckerd College. He will succeed longtime president Donald R. Eastman III on July 1. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Damian Fernandez, 62, will succeed president Donald R. Eastman III, who steps down June 30 after leading the school for 19 years.
  9. The Florida Department of Education has approved another alternate assessment for third graders to demonstrate they read at or above grade level.
    The state also reminds schools to let those who struggle that scholarships for help are available.
  10. Trump supporters yell and show the middle finger at hecklers during Kimberly Guilfoyle's speech in the University Auditorium at the University of Florida on October 10, 2019. Guilfoyle spoke about her childhood as a first-generation American, her experiences as a lawyer and her support for the Trump family.  CHRIS DAY  |  Chris Day
    Student senator Ben Lima explains why he’s pursuing the charges against Michael Murphy.