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Florida education news: School threats, spending plans, security and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Hillsborough County school officer Obed Gerenastands in front of Cahoon Elementary School in Tampa in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings.
Published Sep. 12

THREATS: As school threats and lockdowns seem to increase in Hernando County schools, with regular messages going out to parents, concerns rise over whether students are safe. • Volusia County parents express frustration that information about school emergencies doesn’t come quickly enough from their district, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

LONG-RANGE VISION: The Florida Council of 100, an influential non-profit group of business and civic leaders, issues its recommendations to improve the state’s education system. Among its ideas: increased teacher pay and expanded prekindergarten programs.

ON LEAVE: State law requires Florida school districts to protect the jobs of teachers who transfer to charter school jobs. Some Pasco County School Board members want to know how long those positions must be guaranteed at a specific location.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Hillsborough County’s School Board chairwoman doubles down on her stance that some public comments should not be aired on the internet.

BUDGETS: The Hernando County School Board adopts its 2019-20 spending plan with a decreased property tax rate. • The Gulf County School Board completes its budget, the Port St. Joe Star reports. • Palm Beach County property owners will see a 14 percent increase in school tax payments, the Palm Beach Post reports. • The Sarasota County School Board narrowly approves its budget, with two members opposed because of changes in the level of reserves, the Herald-Tribune reports.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Former Hillsborough County School Board member Sally Harris will seek a new term. Harris lost her reelection bid in 2018.

TEACHER PAY: Orange County teacher and district administration representatives prepare to return to contract negotiations, with salaries the top concern, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Teachers rejected the district’s previous offer.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS: Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran credited the state’s accountability model with continued strong academic results, the Herald-Tribune reports. In separate remarks, Corcoran explained his reasons for intervening in the struggles of a troubled Manatee County charter school, the Bradenton Herald reports.

MAKEUP DAYS: Collier County students will not have to make up time missed because of Hurricane Dorian, the Naples Daily News reports.

SECURITY: Top Florida Senate leaders say they intend to amend the state’s school guardian law with an eye toward improving the training provided, the News Service of Florida reports. • The Clay County school district’s new police force won’t be in charter schools for at least a month, Clay Today reports.

BEST PRACTICES: Five Florida school districts join forces to share successful ideas for improving instruction, Florida Politics reports.

TAXES: The Clay County School Board officially asks the County Commission to place a tax referendum on the 2020 ballot, Clay Today reports. The commission had refused to hold a special election for the board in 2019.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: Indian River County interim superintendent Susan Moxley won’t say whether she will seek the permanent position, TC Palm reports. • The Monroe County school district begins planning for the departure of superintendent Mark Porter, the Key West Citizen reports.

HOT TIMES: Several Brevard County schools experience air conditioning breakdowns that could take weeks to fix, Florida Today reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Joanne Glenn, Pasco eSchool principal, addresses the eSchool faculty on opening day of teacher preplanning week in 2018. Pasco eSchool is launching its first online dual-enrollment courses in conjunction with Pasco-Hernando State College in the second semester.  GAIL DIEDERICH | Special to the Times
    Students will have access to two sections of two courses — microapplications and public speaking.
  2. Challenger K-8 School students, from left, Jeremy Gonzalez, 13, Jackson Hoyt, 12, Benjamin Harper, 12, and Gianni Labdar, 12, finish meals consisting of fresh salads, quesadillas and nachos during a lunch service on Oct. 15 at the school in Spring Hill during the county's Fresh from Florida Plate Day event. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Starting a farm-to-school initiative has been more complicated than district officials expected.
  3. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
    Legislators who were critical of the original plan say a new approach revealed Thursday is more in line with their expectations.
  4. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  5. Meaghan Leto, (center facing street), a speech therapist from Twin Lakes Elementary, protests over pay with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of a School Board meeting.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. 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
    As expected, the union rejected the district’s plan to add work for middle and high school teachers in exchange for more money.
  7. Pinellas County teachers and their allies rallied at major intersections in 2012 to protest legislative proposals. [Jim Damaske, Times]
    Details are still scant, but the House’s tone was one of being fiscally cautious as they evaluate DeSantis’ pitch to raise base teacher pay.
  8. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2018) Hernando County School District office, 919 N Broad St., Brooksville
    Hernando County debates the pros and cons of superintendent John Stratton’s recommendation.
  9. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
    A new proposal also aims to strengthen programs at the university’s St. Petersburg and Sarasota locations.
  10. Fifth grade teacher Michelle Brandon is one of four Hudson Elementary School teachers to be removed after two weeks of classes because of her state VAM score. Here she reviews classroom rules with students on the first day of school 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.