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Florida education news: Funding decisions, union lawsuit and bad costume choices

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. [MEGAN REEVES | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 8

‘NOTHING IS OFF THE TABLE’: As Florida lawmakers approach their 2020 session, they’re looking for ways to shift millions of dollars so they can increase teacher pay. The GOP leadership doesn’t want to raise taxes, but they are taking a look at all areas of the budget, House PreK-12 Appropriations chairman Rep. Chris Latvala says in our latest Gradebook podcast.

TOP TEACHERS: Three Pasco County teachers are named finalists for the district’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. • Fifteen Duval County educators are semifinalists for their county’s annual award, the Florida Times-Union reports.

UNION LAWSUIT: The Florida Education Association drops its legal challenge to the recent state law forcing teacher union recertification if membership drops below a certain level, the News Service of Florida reports.

HANDS-ON CIVICS: State Rep. Ben Diamond, a Pinellas County Democrat, refiles legislation to boost students’ civics lessons with participatory projects, Florida Politics reports. Improved civics instruction has been a priority of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

LANGUAGE LEARNERS: The number of English language learners in Florida schools is on the rise. Two experts offer strategies for teachers to better help these students achieve in school, WMFE reports.

REPAIR? OR REPLACE?: The Manatee County School Board must decide what to do with a 26-year-old elementary school that has multiple maintenance and structural problems, the Bradenton Herald reports.

CONTRACT TALKS: The Indian River Education Association rejects a tentative contract offer from 2018-19, TC Palm reports. • Orange County teachers resume contract talks with the district, WKMG reports.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: Three finalists for Volusia County superintendent continue to make the rounds as the School Board nears its selection decision, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

TENSIONS MOUNT: The Marion County School Board and superintendent keep fighting, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The Martin County School Board nears completion of a required medical marijuana policy, TC Palm reports.

TEACHER DISCIPLINE: Five Jacksonville area teachers are disciplined by the state for their inappropriate actions, including DUI and sending nude photos, the Florida Times-Union reports.

SARASOTA SCANDAL: Sarasota County superintendent Todd Bowden says he doesn’t think he should lose his job over a sexual harassment investigation, but even some of his supporters are abandoning him, the Herald-Tribune reports.

BAD COSTUME CHOICE: A Broward County school district administrator is on notice after a photo of her in a raunchy Halloween costume she wore to work surfaces on social media, the Miami Herald reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  2. Cotee River Elementary student Darrell Jones waves his American flag during the school's Veterans Day program.
    The School Board is scheduled to vote on the calendar next week.
  3. Pasco eSchool principal JoAnne Glenn is surprised by school district officials who announced she is their 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A discussion with Pasco County Principal of the Year JoAnne Glenn.
  4. An investiture ceremony is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. inside USF’s Yuengling Center in Tampa. Currall and other USF leaders will speak about the school’s future.
  5. Experts are recommending the flu shot as outbreaks pop up in Hillsborough County schools.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. The Pasco County school district is considering an increase in substitute teacher pay to combat its low fill rate for the jobs.
    District officials say more competitive wages could help fill vacancies, which have been rising.
  7. JoAnne Glenn is cheered by her staff as deputy superintendent Ray Gadd and other district officials surprise her with the announcement that she is Pasco County's 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    JoAnne Glenn next will be entered for the statewide honor.
  8. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning briefly blocked a critic from his social media accounts. He has since restored access to the person but says he would rather they have a conversation, “like two grown adults.” [Times (2016)]
    Kurt Browning restored his online nemesis as a Twitter follower and Facebook friend after staffers told him that blocking people was a no-no.
  9. Shawn Tye, left, applies fiberglass to a boat console as Dustin Pirko looks at Marchman Technical Education Center. Hernando’s business development manager says that in creating a technical school an effort would be made not to duplicate Marchman.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Sen. Travis Hutson presents his Job Growth Grant Fund legislation to the Senate Education Committee on Nov. 12, 2019. The Florida Channel
    The original version would have targeted charter schools only.