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Florida education news: Teacher pay, school crowding and a special ed investigation

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Third grade teacher Genevieve Beaumier, center, helps Venicia Joanis, 9, left, and Tobias Watkins, 8, with their reading skills at Forest Hill Elementary School in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
Third grade teacher Genevieve Beaumier, center, helps Venicia Joanis, 9, left, and Tobias Watkins, 8, with their reading skills at Forest Hill Elementary School in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Dec. 3, 2019

TEACHER PAY: Florida schools districts stand to receive millions of dollars in added funding to support Gov. Ron DeSantis’ teacher pay proposals. The state has broken down the amount by county, the News Service of Florida reports. Part of the money could come from deleting the current Best and Brightest bonus system. The state Senate Education Committee is slated to hold the first hearing on ending the model next week, the News Service of Florida reports. Of course, the governor does not intend to do away with bonuses completely, as they a different form of the same idea remains in his $900 million plan, WFSU reports.

OVERFLOW: Pasco County’s Odessa Elementary school grows so large that the school district needs to secure added parking and classroom space to hold all the students.

LEADERSHIP: Pasco’s Mittye P. Locke Elementary gets a new principal.

UNDER SCRUTINY: The Sarasota County school district’s special education program comes under state review amid allegations students were improperly placed into programs to avoid using their test scores in accountability ratings, the Herald-Tribune reports.

FUTURE TEACHERS: The Lee County school district gets added funds to support scholarships for students who plan to attend local colleges and return to teaching in the district, WINK reports. The program helps the district combat its teacher shortage, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

MISSED MESSAGE: Turnout is low for four Palm Beach County school district parent town halls on the dangers of vaping, sexting and bullying, WPEC reports.

SECURITY: Students at Duval County’s Terry Parker High School will face added security measures after a schoolmate is arrested on allegations of bringing a loaded gun to campus, the Florida Times-Union reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A new charter middle-high school is poised for approval by the Lake County School Board, the Daily Commercial reports.

OVERDOSE RESPONSE: A Florida lawmaker proposes providing schools with a drug to reverse opioid overdoses among students, whom he says are the most overlooked victims of the national opioid crisis, WLRN reports.

BAD ACTS: A Brevard County high school teacher is arrested on accusations of having sexual contact with a student in school, Florida Today reports. • A Sarasota County student is arrested on allegations of stabbing another student on a school bus, the Herald-Tribune reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Miranda Harwood, a fourth-grade math teacher at Brooker Elementary School, is the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year. [Hillsborough County Public Schools]
    The self-described “data queen” uses humor to keep her students engaged.
  2. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Five girls and one boy will face charges after lunchtime fights disrupted the Pasco County campus, according to the school district.
  3. State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, presents legislation to create a new chapter of Florida law dedicated to parents' rights when dealing with government and other agencies, during a committee meeting Jan. 23, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Parents have been marginalized by bureaucracy, and need to be empowered in law, sponsor Rep. Erin Grall says.
  4. Kurt Browning, left, is seeking a third term as superintendent of Pasco County schools. Addison Davis, right, is negotiating a contract to become Hillsborough County's next superintendent. [Tampa Bay Times (2016, 2020)]
    A Hillsborough search and Pasco election offer insights into the job and its importance.
  5. This time last year, Nicole Kenngatt, holding hands with student Lilly Crandall, was announced as Teacher of the Year. The award for the 2019-20 school year will be given Wednesday in a ceremony at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. [JAY NOLAN  |  Special to the Times]
    The winner for 2019-20 will be announced Wednesday during the Pinellas Education Foundation’s annual “Evening of Excellence.”
  6. An empty classroom at Bloomingdale High School in Hillsborough County. [Skip O'Rourke | Times] [SKIP O'ROURKE  |  Skip O'Rourke]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. State Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Jacksonville Republican, presents his bill to create a "do not hire" list for any school employee who has been terminated, or resigned in lieu of termination, from employment as a result of sexual misconduct with a student. [The Florida Channel]
    The measure would apply to district, charter and private schools.
  8. Students grieve at Pine Trails Park, near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., one month to the day since 17 students and staff were shot dead there, March 14, 2018. [SAUL MARTINEZ  |  New York Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. Addison Davis, the superintendent of Clay County District Schools, was chosen Tuesday as the new Hillsborough County school superintendent. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The School Board’s vote is unanimous for Davis, who calls himself “an accelerator.”
  10. In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File) [MIKE STOCKER  |  AP]
    But this year’s bill may provoke fewer fireworks than the bitter debates seen in the past two sessions.