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Florida education news: Teacher pay raises, HB 7069 lawsuit and Florida’s latest ‘education governor’

A roundup of stories from around the state.
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.
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.
Published Oct. 18, 2019

TEACHER PAY: The Florida House begins its discussions on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to put $603 million into teacher salaries, to boost the minimum pay to $47,500. Members say they like the idea, but wonder where the money will come from to cover the cost. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

CONTRACT TALKS: The United School Employees of Pasco rejects the school district’s proposal to have middle and high school teachers teach an extra period each day so that all district workers can get a bigger raise. The union makes a counter economic proposal instead.

CONSOLIDATION: The University of South Florida’s president unveils a new campus consolidation plan that offers more autonomy to the satellite campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota.

STORM’S PATH: Santa Rosa and Escambia county schools cancel after-school activities as anticipated Tropical Storm Nestor approaches, the Pensacola News Journal reports. Area school districts will remain open for classes, though, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

‘EDUCATION GOVERNOR’: Some Floridians wondered whether Ron DeSantis even had much of an education agenda as he ran for office. He’s quickly made the issue a signature piece of his tenure, Education Week reports. SCHOOL THREATS: A state appellate court upholds a ruling that a student’s online threats of violence against a school violate Florida law, Law. com reports.

HB 7069 CHALLENGE: Nine Florida school districts ask the state Supreme Court to consider their constitutional challenge to the 2017 law that created new types of charter schools and directed some local tax money to them, the News Service of Florida reports. Read the districts’ brief to the court for more details.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The Lee County school district makes minor adjustments to its medical marijuana usage policy, allowing parents to administer it on campus, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

STANDARDS REVIEW: About 70 people attend a session in Collier County to express their views on proposed new academic standards, the Naples Daily News reports.

READING WITH DOGS: Some Polk County struggling readers get some support from dogs, the Ledger reports.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: A Manatee County education advocate is inspired to run for School Board after the state Education Practices Commission rejects a settlement for superintendent Cynthia Saunders, who was accused of doctoring graduation rates, the Herald-Tribune reports.

NEXT STEPS: Sarasota County School Board members ponder how to proceed in the wake of a damning investigation report against two of their top district administrators, the Herald-Tribune reports.

IN COURT: Former employees of a Manatee County charter school recently taken over by the school district sue for unpaid wages, the Herald-Tribune reports.

BAD ACTS: A Volusia County teacher is arrested on charges of having sex with a minor student, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

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.