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Florida education news: Student-athlete safety, pay raises and rejection of the four-day week

A roundup of stories from around the state.
DIRK SHADD   |   Times
DL Tre'von Riggins (98) on the field during spring football practice at Lakewood High School in in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
DIRK SHADD | Times DL Tre'von Riggins (98) on the field during spring football practice at Lakewood High School in in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Dec. 12, 2019

SPORTS SAFETY: A bill to provide more protections to high school student-athletes training in Florida’s heat wins unanimous support at its first House committee. The legislation also would apply to other outdoor student activities, such as marching band.

PAY RAISES: Pasco County school district employees who don’t have collective bargaining soon could see raises in their paychecks. • Some Miami-Dade County lawmakers question Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pay raise proposal, noting teachers in their county already make the proposed minimum, Florida Politics reports. They could qualify for bonuses, the education commissioner’s chief of staff replies. • The Manatee County School Board approves raises for teachers and paraprofessionals, the Herald-Tribune reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: The Hernando County School Board rejects the idea of moving to a four-day week as a way to save money. • The Lake County school district sets its 2020-21 calendar after surveying the community for its preferences, the Daily Commercial reports. • The Palm Beach County school district shortens its spring break and moves one day off to the primary election date, so students won’t be in school during voting, the Palm Beach Post reports.

ARMED TEACHERS: Key Florida lawmakers who pushed to allow teachers to serve as armed school guardians say they do not know or need to know how many teachers are participating in the program, the News Service of Florida reports.

SCHOOL SAFETY: A special grand jury says Florida schools remain at risk of violence unless they fully comply with state security laws, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

CIVICS LESSONS: Some Leon County educators question the need to add more civics instruction to their schools, as Gov. Ron DeSantis has requested, WTXL reports.

SCHOOL BELLS: The Palm Beach County School Board agrees to explore the possibility of starting classes later in the day, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

TEACHER SHORTAGE: The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is struggling with a nationwide shortage of Braille teachers, WJXT reports.

MENTAL HEALTH: The Citrus County School Board approves adding more therapists on its campuses, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

OUTBREAK: The health department confirms a case of norovirus at a St. Johns County high school, where about 1,600 students called in sick, WTLV reports.

DESEGREGATION: Volusia County school district officials will look into whether to end a decades-old forced busing system aimed at desegregating schools, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. They question whether the effort has been successful.

HIRING CONCERNS: The Marion County School Board denies superintendent Heidi Maier’s request to conduct an employment audit to determine whether employees have been properly vetted and hired, even though some agree the process has been problematic, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

TERM LIMITS: State Sen. Joe Gruters files a resolution seeking to limit school board members to three four-year terms, Florida Politics reports. Gruters calls the option more palatable to voters than past proposals for two-term limits.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: A Volusia County private school is under investigation after allegations that a teacher allowed girls to be video recorded while they changed clothing, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

FACING TERMINATION: A Manatee County school bus driver could be fired in connection with an accident that injured a student crossing the street to get to her bus, the Herald-Tribune reports.

TODAY: House Higher Education, 9 a.m. • House PreK-12 Appropriations, 9 a.m. • Education Estimating Conference - Student Financial Aid, 2 p.m.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.
  5. Rep. Anthony Sabatini presents his bill to create school board term limits to the Florida House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee on Jan. 21, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    The idea would require a three-fifths vote in each chamber before it could appear on the ballot.
  6. Left to Right: Ryan Petty and Andrew Pollack talk about the death of their daughters during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland before a meeting in the Capitol in Tallahassee. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times] [Scott Keeler]
    Ryan Petty replaces Andrew Pollack, both Parkland parents. Pollack recently moved to Oregon.
  7. Pat Hall of the League of Women Voters speaks with Addison Davis, a finalist for Hillsborough Schools Superintendent, on Jan. 16 at Rampello K-8 School in Tampa. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff]
    In a last-minute push, members of the League of Women Voters want the School Board to explore Addison Davis’ possible ties to Charter Schools USA.
  8. Michael Maine is the Hernando County School District senior recruiter. [Hernando County School District]
    The district has on average 39 teacher openings.
  9. Carrie Wilson, a counselor at Challenger K-8 school, was named the 2020 teacher of the year for the Hernando County School District. [Hernando County School District]
  10. Children participate in a sorting exercise during activities in a pre-K  class in Tampa.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.