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Florida education news: School police, teacher contracts and a Common Core debate

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 Oct. 10

SCHOOL SECURITY: Hernando County school district officials are divided in their opinions over whether to create a district police force. The administration proposed the idea as a way to bring more officers into the schools. • The Clay County School Board directs its superintendent to find security solutions for the county’s two charter schools, Clay Today reports.

CONTRACT TALKS: Hillsborough County teachers reach a tentative agreement with the district, including a proposal to increase starting teacher pay to $40,000.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Incumbent Pasco County School Board member Colleen Beaudoin announces her reelection bid.

SIDELINES: The FHSAA reduces its suspension of Plant High School football coach Robert Weiner, accused of providing special treatment to a player. Weiner received praise statewide for helping a player find a temporary home, even as the FHSAA penalized him for doing so. • The Pasco County school district immediately closes some bleachers at two high schools because of structural concerns.

COMMON CORE: Teachers at a public hearing in Seminole County tell Florida Department of Education leaders that the standards proposed to replace the Common Core in the state’s schools would represent a step backward, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • Some speakers at a Highlands County hearing on the standards warn against adopting vague replacements, and say schools will need time to prepare for whatever emerges, the Highlands News-Sun reports. • The next public session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Alachua County school district office.

TEACHER PAY: Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie says the state should focus whatever teacher pay plan it devises on all teachers and not just on the entry level positions, Florida Politics reports.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: The Escambia County School Board works on setting criteria for selecting its first appointed superintendent, WUWF reports. • The Volusia County School Board asks its seven remaining candidates for superintendent to write some essays, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

IN COURT: A federal court approves a settlement allowing Collier County students turned away from school because of limited English skills to appeal the refusal, Florida Politics reports.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The Lake and Seminole county school districts continue to not adopt a policy governing medical marijuana use in schools, WFTV reports.

PRINCIPAL NEEDED: An Alachua County elementary school whose principal was forced out because of poor student results struggles to get by and wants its leader back, WUFT reports.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL: Manatee County’s School Board chairman stands behind embattled superintendent Cynthia Saunders even as the state Education Practice Commission rejects a settlement offer to Saunders over a graduation rate inflation scandal, SRQ reports.

CLOSING SCHOOLS: The Broward County school district looks into closing and combining under-enrolled schools, as it seeks ways to combat a loss of students to charter schools, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

HOLOCAUST DENIER: The Palm Beach County former high school principal who was removed after controversial comments about the Holocaust remains a district employee, despite the superintendent’s stated plans to terminate him, the Palm Beach Post reports.

TAXES: The Clay County Commission places the school district’s sales tax referendum on the 2020 ballot, Clay Today reports. The School Board had wanted a vote this year, but the commission refused.

TACO TIME: Students at five Lee County high schools will compete in a taco cookoff, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

BRANDING: Leon County School Board members debate the need to hire a marketing firm to help improve the district’s public image, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

WHISTLEBLOWER? An ousted Flager County teacher says his contract was not renewed after he reported what he considered inappropriate acts by a colleague. The district disputes his allegation, Flagler Live reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    Steve Hegarty spent 10 years as Hillsborough schools public information officer before taking the police department post.
  2. Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, left, looks on while school board chair Tammy Shamburger speaks on newly raised concerns of a undiscovered cemetery for indigent African Americans that may be within the vicinity of King High School in Tampa, Florida on Friday, October 18, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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