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Florida education news: Adjunct teachers, charter schools and a superintendent scandal

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Rachael O'Dea, principal of Forest Hills Elementary School, interviewed a prospective teacher during a hiring fair in 2018. Some of the 50 long-struggling schools have battled teaching shortages. [MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times]

TEACHER SHORTAGE: Florida’s school districts long have struggled to fill all their classroom vacancies with qualified teachers. The State Board of Education is poised to give them a new source of faculty — full-time adjunct instructors.

TIME TO GROW: Saying west Pasco families need more high quality education options, the county’s oldest charter school proposes to increase its enrollment by one third.

FEDERAL AID: Lawmakers from Florida and Connecticut seek added federal support for schools that have welcomed hurricane refugees from Puerto Rico, Education Week reports.

SARASOTA SCANDAL: The Sarasota County School Board puts superintendent Todd Bowden on notice that he faces disciplinary action that could include termination over his handling of a sexual harassment complaint, the Herald-Tribune reports. Bowden had offered to step down in exchange for a guaranteed 10-year job as a department director, the Herald-Tribune reports.

BOMB SCARE: All nine Taylor County schools are evacuated and searched after the county receives a threat that bombs will go off in them unless an inmate is paid $1 million, the Miami Herald reports.

MAKING PROGRESS: Manatee County’s Rogers Garden-Bullock Elementary School celebrates moving out of the state’s turnaround system for the first time since it opened, the Bradenton Herald reports.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The Collier County School Board takes steps toward adopting a state-mandated medical marijuana usage policy, the Naples Daily News reports.

CONTRACT TALKS: The Manatee County school district reaches an agreement with its teachers and paraprofessionals, the Bradenton Herald reports. • Bay County teachers would get 3 percent raises under a tentative deal with the district, the Panama City News Herald reports.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: The Volusia County School Board prepares to interview three finalists for superintendent so they can select their next chief executive on Nov. 12, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: The Lee County school district sets its 2020-21 student calendar to include a week off for Thanksgiving, acknowledging high absenteeism if it holds classes for part of the week, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A proposed new Destin charter high school can begin working toward a fall 2020 opening as the Okaloosa County school district formally approves its contract, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

SETTLED: A former Flagler County teacher who claimed his contract was not renewed after he reported harassment of students by others wins a $30,000 settlement with the district, Flagler Live reports.

BAD ACTS: A former Pasco County high school assistant principal is sentenced to 35 years in prison in a plea agreement over child pornography and sexual abuse charges. The prosecutor called Kyle Ritsema a “super predator.” • A Broward County school resource officer is arrested on accusations he slammed an elementary school student to the ground, Fox News reports. • A Duval County school safety guard is fired after allegations he pointed a fake gun at a student, the Florida Times-Union reports. • A Broward County private school principal is arrested on charges of domestic violence, WPLG reports.

TODAY: House Higher Education Appropriations, 3:30 p.m.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup