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Florida education news: Campaign politics, impact fees and a different view on teacher raises

A roundup of stories from around the state.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Former Hillsborough County School Board member April Griffin wins endorsements from several of her former colleagues, including departing superintendent Jeff Eakins, in her bid to become county tax collector. Political rivalries heat up as folks who supported former superintendent MaryEllen Elia, whom Griffin helped oust, back Griffin’s primary opponent.

FOLLOW THE RULES: Representatives for Pasco County teachers tell school district officials they plan to more strictly monitor whether schools follow contract requirements for winning contract waivers to add programs or change course schedules.

CONSTRUCTION COSTS: Hernando County commissioners approve an impact fee increase on new construction, with the revenue going toward schools.

RETIREMENT PLANS: Teacher unions in Florida and elsewhere pitch retirement fund investments to their memberships, pushing fees higher for teachers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

CONTRACT TALKS: South Florida teachers negotiate record high salaries with added money available from voter approved tax increases, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

WHAT ABOUT US? State government workers protest a lack of raises in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget proposal, which focuses instead on teacher pay, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

NEW TEACHER: A Florida Gulf Coast University graduate has overcome life’s obstacles, including having a third-grade reading level after high school, to become a middle school reading teacher, the Naples Daily News reports.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: Martin County School Board members debate whether they need brochures, websites and other materials to bolster their search for the district’s first appointed superintendent, TC Palm reports.

INSURANCE COVERAGE: Polk County school district employees will soon be required to provide proof their spouses and dependents are eligible to use their health insurance benefits, the Ledger reports.

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING: A Palm Beach County middle school student is arrested for having a gun on campus, after other students report the weapon, the Palm Beach Post reports.

TAX FUNDS: An independent oversight group blesses the Brevard County school district’s uses of revenue from a voter-approved sales tax increase, Florida Today reports.

REBUILDING: The Bay County School Board borrows $35 million to pay for renovations to campuses still damaged by Hurricane Michael, WMBB reports.

TEACHING AWARD: Art teacher Samantha Hower is named Lee County Teacher of the Year, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

NEW HIRE: The Brevard County school district hires a new chief financial officer after the previous one resigned amid criticism, Florida Today reports.

VAPING: The Seminole County School Board decides to join a growing lawsuit against e-cigarette makers, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The Monroe County School Board resists state law requiring a medical marijuana usage policy, raising concerns it would violate federal law, the Key West Citizen reports.

BAD ACTS: A recently retired Broward County school custodian is arrested on accusations of accepting bribes from a vendor, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • A Santa Rosa County school bus aide is arrested on accusations of showing photos of naked men to young students, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

TODAY: Florida Board of Education, special meeting on its legislative budget request, 10:30 a.m Conference Call: 1-800-353-6461, Confirmation Code: 9132047 (also webcast on The Florida Channel)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup ​​​​​​​

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