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Florida education news: Teacher workload, superintendent search, and active shooter drills

A roundup of stories from around the state.
This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
Published Sep. 19, 2019

TEACHER PAY: How much extra work are teachers willing to take on for a pay raise? The Pasco County school district will soon find out, as it places a controversial two-year salary plan on the negotiating table. The School Board has included 3 percent raises in its budget.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: Hillsborough County parents and other residents begin to offer their input on what they’d like to see in the district’s next chief executive. Will former leader MaryEllen Elia be a contender? Not likely, as she’s just taken a new consulting job with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

‘SCARED TO DEATH’: Some Florida parents and lawmakers call for a reduction in school active shooter drills, Florida Phoenix reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A Leon County charter school that almost didn’t get approved now has a location and a principal, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

COLLEGE CHANGES: Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran pushes for funding and other changes in the state’s college system as a way to heighten their success, the News Service of Florida reports.

HELPING HAND: A community foundation establishes a new grant to support Duval County teachers, the Florida Times-Union reports.

TAX FUNDS: Added revenue from the Manatee County school district’s new local-option property tax increase will pay for more than teacher raises, the Bradenton Herald reports.

STUDENT ATHLETES: The House PreK-12 Innovation committee talks about health concerns for student athletes, without reaching any conclusions, Florida Politics reports.

SUPERINTENDENT EVALUATION: Palm Beach County superintendent Donald Fennoy gets a ‘highly effective’ rating from his board, putting him in line for a raise, the Palm Beach Post reports.

VIRTUAL SCHOOL: Florida Virtual School, recently taken over by the state, hires new executives with little education experience but strong ties to the Republican party, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: Plans for a new K-8 school to serve a growing part of St. Johns County run into siting problems, the St. Augustine Record reports.

ARRESTED: Two Osceola County students are arrested on accusations of plotting to shoot up a middle school, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • Ten Hillsborough County students are arrested after a series of fights at Lennard High School, Fox 13 reports.

TODAY: House PreK-12 Appropriations, 9:30 a.m. On the agenda: Budget priorities. • House Higher Education, 9:30 a.m. On the agenda: Educational reform in the college system.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. School employees Jarvis Delon West, left, and Dontae Antonio Thomas, right, were both arrested in connection with the assault and injury of a 12-year-old boy who attended AMIkids in Pinellas Park. The state shut the school down.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.