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Florida education news: Armed guards, school grades and teacher pay

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Pinellas Sheriff's trainers line the back of the room as more than 100 school security officers, or "guardians," began training.
Published Sep. 17

ARMED GUARDS: Florida lawmakers ask the state Department of Education to detail how many classroom teachers have volunteered to participate as armed school guardians. So far, 11 districts allow the practice, but the state has not tracked that aspect of implementation. • A Broward County charter school fights its takeover by the school district over its failure to hire a full-time armed guard, the News Service of Florida reports.

SCHOOL GRADES: School districts receive word on their appeals of individual school state grades. Pasco County has three approved and one rejected.

PAY RATES: Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran is the highest paid statewide official, the News Service of Florida reports.

REQUIRED INSTRUCTION: A Democratic state senator proposes legislation to require schools teach students about cancer awareness, Florida Politics reports.

ON VIDEO: Southwest Florida parents raise questions about who can make video recordings in their schools after learning of a controversy in Pasco County, WZVN reports.

TAX BATTLE: A group of Duval County parents sues the Jacksonville City Council over its refusal to allow the Duval School Board to hold a sales tax referendum in a November special election, the Florida Times-Union reports.

GETTING IN: Orange County high school seniors applying to colleges struggle to get their transcripts as the district changes student data systems, WKMG reports.

IN THE SUNSHINE: The State Attorney’s Office rejects an accusation by the Marion County superintendent that her School Board met in private, violating the state open meetings law, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

TEACHER PAY: Brevard County teachers make new salary demands of the district as they return to the bargaining table, Florida Today reports.

MAKEUP DAYS: Lake County students will not need to make up time missed because of Hurricane Dorian, the Daily Commercial reports.

CLASSROOM CUTS: Marion County School Board members fret that the district is reducing the number of teacher aides in the primary grades, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

BELL SCHEDULES: The Orange County school district offers three options for changing start times to allow high school to begin later daily, and will seek public input, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TODAY: House Education Committee, 10:30 a.m. On the agenda: A review of early education programs.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Melissa Snively and Steve Cona III are the new chair and vice chair of the Hillsborough County School Board. MARLENE   |  Times staff
    Steve Cona III is vice chair.
  2. Hillsborough County School Board member Karen Perez MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    School board member Karen Perez sees student stress in her social work practice.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.