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Florida education news: USF consolidation, student data, GPA rigging and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
The USF St. Petersburg Campus, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Published Sep. 16

TRY AGAIN: Florida lawmakers don’t like what they see in the University of South Florida’s consolidation plan. They say it violates state law by taking authority away from the school’s St. Petersburg and Sarasota campuses.

GUNS ON CAMPUS: A Pinellas County parent is arrested on accusations of bringing a gun to his child’s elementary school.

SCHOOL SAFETY: Okaloosa County schools will receive more than $1 million in security upgrades, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • Questions and concerns surround Florida’s new school safety database, WLRN reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie gets his worst ever job evaluation, with some board members giving him ‘unsatisfactory’ ratings, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The Duval County legislative delegation will look into proposed changes to how the school district selects its superintendent, Florida Politics reports.

EXODUS: Many students never returned to their Panhandle school districts after Hurricane Michael, the News Service of Florida reports.

LET THE MUSIC PLAY: Disney donates $20,000 to help a Lake County high school replace musical instruments destroyed by a fire, WKMG reports.

GUARDIANS: The Florida Department of Education is not tracking which school districts will allow teachers to volunteer as armed guardians, the News Service of Florida reports.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The Polk County school district has no tracking system to ensure student education plans are being followed, the Ledger reports. Several complaints have been filed.

START TIMES: The Orange County school district continues its discussions over whether to change the hours that high schools operate, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TERM LIMITS: State Rep. Anthony Sabatini revives legislation seeking to limit school board members to two consecutive terms in office, the News Service of Florida reports.

GPA RIGGING: A Volusia County high school, where the principal was removed amid allegations she offered fake classes for athletes, is forced to stop labeling all core courses as “honors” to give students a GPA boost, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

OUSTED: An Alachua County principal with a history of turning around struggling schools is forced out of her elementary school because of its state grade, the Gainesville Sun reports.

WALKING AWAY: A Broward County assistant principal decides to retire rather than fight allegations she struck a student, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

ACQUITTED: Two Sarasota County school district employees are acquitted in trials accusing them of child abuse, leaving the parents and students who brought the allegations confused, the Herald-Tribune reports.

BAD ACTS: A Clay County high school janitor is arrested on allegations that he placed a camera in the girls locker room to record students undressing, the Florida Times-Union reports.


  1. [SKIP O'ROURKE   | Times]
    It’s unclear if there will be any proposed changes to this method for measuring teachers’ impact on their students’ performance, despite complaints.
  2. A deputy's Sig Sauer P320, similar to this Glock 19, discharged in the cafeteria of a Wesley Chapel school April 30. The bullet lodged in the wall behind him. The deputy has been fired.
    Cpl. Jonathan Cross was lifting his pistol up and down out of its holster when it went off, Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
  3. Shirley Joseph is named superintendent of Madison County public schools. Madison County school district
    The previous superintendent resigned amid conflicts with the School Board.
  4. In this image from a Pinellas County school district video, former School Board member Lee Benjamin motions to someone he knows while sitting with family members during at 2013 ceremony to name the Northeast High School gymnasium in his honor. Mr. Benjamin was the school's first basketball coach in 1954 and later became Northeast's principal in a long career with Pinellas schools that included 14 years on the School Board. He died Wednesday at age 92. Pinellas County Schools
    A teacher, coach and principal at Northeast High, he rose to district administrator and served on the School Board. Mr. Benjamin died Wednesday at age 92.
  5. Hillsborough County School Board member Melissa Snively Times staff
    Board member Melissa Snively wanted to honor a community pioneer.
  6. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri chairs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which is preparing its second round of recommendations for lawmakers.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. Toby Johnson is the new principal of Martinez Middle School. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    The School Board also suspended former Martinez principal Brent McBrien.
  8. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  9. 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 sides have not set a time to resume discussions on teacher pay.
  10. Census forms have to be printed soon. [AP photo by Michelle R. Smith]
    Citizenship controversy could be a psychological barrier.