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Florida education news: Transgender rights, student awards, and an Election Day error

A roundup of stories from around the state.

TRANSGENDER STUDENT RIGHTS: The debate over transgender student rights in Pasco County schools takes a turn toward civility, just two weeks after a public confrontation that many deemed hateful and vile. Conservative activists have been pressing the district for changes in its rules for more than a year. Officials said they plan no new direction unless the courts change the legal landscape. A key Florida case gets its hearing in federal appellate court on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

STUDENT AWARDS: Miami-Dade County School Board member Steve Gallon III comes under fire from former Florida Board of Education chairman T. Willard Fair over his monthly awards to area students, Miami Times reports. Fair says Gallon should not recognize children with low reading levels, while Gallon retorts that achievement is about more than reading.

TOP EDUCATORS: Citrus County schools superintendent Sam Himmel is named Florida’s 2020 Superintendent of the Year, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. • Five Duval County school teachers are surprised with the news they are district finalists for their Teacher of the Year honor, the Florida Times-Union reports.

ON THE RADIO: The Miami-Dade County School Board delays action on a proposal to hire a new manager for WLRN, its public radio station, WLRN reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: The Palm Beach County school district forgot to account for the presidential primary when setting its 2020 calendar, forcing it to consider shortening spring break by a day, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

CAREER EDUCATION: Prologis, a San Francisco-based real estate logistics and supply chain company, brings a training program to a Miami-Dade County high school to target the labor shortage in its field, the Miami Herald reports.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Clay County superintendent Addison Davis says an election challenge for his seat compels him to perform even better for the district, Clay Today reports.

‘BEST AND BRIGHTEST’ BONUSES: Lake County school district and teacher union leaders reach an agreement on how to award any bonus funds that remain after state-defined amounts are distributed, the Daily Commercial reports.

CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION: The national Freedom From Religion Foundation accuses two Flagler County high schools of violating the First Amendment by allowing staff to attend an annual prayer service with students, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS: The Miami-Dade County School Board publicly discusses a report detailing problems with a Jewish center’s after-school programs at district campuses, the Miami Herald reports. Officials say the shortcomings could have put children at risk of danger.

TAX DISPUTE: Duval County school district lawyers say they were unaware the City Council sought an Attorney General’s Office opinion on the sides’ disagreement over when the district could hold a tax referendum, as their court case on the issue continues, the Florida Times-Union reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: A housing developer donates 30 acres to the St. Johns County school district for a future K-8 school, the St. Augustine Record reports.

LEGAL FEES: A circuit judge hears arguments over whether the Okaloosa County school district should be required to pay $283,000 in legal fees incurred by former superintendent Mary Beth Jackson in her fight against being removed from office, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

BAD ACTS: The principal of Manatee County’s Palmetto Elementary is removed amid allegations she ‘thrust’ a student with special needs out of a chair and onto the floor, the Bradenton Herald reports. • A Duval County elementary school librarian is arrested at school on charges of grand theft, the Florida Times-Union reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup