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Florida education news: Teacher raises, superintendent finalists, and charter school competition

A roundup of stories from around the state.
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN | AP]
Published Jan. 17

HOW BIG WILL THE RAISES BE? The Florida House officially entered the state’s teacher salary discussion with a first pass budget exercise aimed at determining how much its members can find to give educator raises. By cutting several programs, it uncovered $462.6 million to potentially go into the allocation. There might be more, officials said, but for now, at least, that’s well below what Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked for. • DeSantis is one of a handful of Republican governors calling for higher pay to teachers, NBC News reports. Some teachers want even more. • Florida might have a bit extra to offer, as state economists see an uptick in their revenue forecast, News Service of Florida reports. • The Citrus County School Board has urged lawmakers not to forget other school employees in all the talk about better pay, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE: After all the bickering, politicking and in-fighting, the Hillsborough County School Board has selected three finalists for its superintendent search. And the internal candidate is not one of them. The board will take a closer look at Clay County superintendent Addison Davis, Palm Beach County regional superintendent Peter Licata and St. Vrain Valley (Colo.) superintendent Don Haddad before making an offer, most likely on Jan. 21.

CHARTER CHOICES: Currently in Florida, a charter school operator needs approval from a local school district to open. Some lawmakers say that’s unfair, allowing the competition to decide if you can do business. So they’ve again proposed creation of alternate charter authorizers beyond the districts. Past attempts to set up such a path haven’t gone so well.

BEST AND BRIGHTEST BURN: Three dozen Palm Beach County guidance counselors got a welcome surprise when state bonuses arrived in their bank accounts just before winter break. Then came the bad news. They weren’t actually eligible under state rules. And they have to give the money back, the Palm Beach Post reports.

STAY COOL: A bill to require Florida high schools to provide more protections to student-athletes training and playing in the heat makes its way through its first House committee stop, the News Service of Florida reports.

SALES TAX BATTLE: The Duval County School Board chairman is more hopeful the district will get a sales tax referendum before voters in 2020 after winning a key legal question, WJXT reports.

COME TOGETHER: Bay County and Panama City officials call a joint news conference to say they plan to join forces to improve schools in the city limits, after a rumor circulates that the city intended to establish a municipal charter school organization, the Panama City News Herald reports.

SECURITY: State lawmakers unveil legislation to require improved training of school guardians, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The measure is part of a larger bill that includes several recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission.

REBUILDING IN PARKLAND: New buildings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High should be ready in the fall, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

WET SHOES: The Manatee County school district takes steps to combat regular flooding at Palmetto High School, the Bradenton Herald reports.

SCHOOL LEADERS: A Marion County elementary school gets a new principal as its former leader chooses to focus on high schools instead, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

TRUE COLORS: The city of Destin’s long awaited charter high school announces its school colors and mascot during a town hall meeting, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

GRANT FUNDING: The Gulf County school district relies on grants to support several programs, as it continues to pay for repairs needed after Hurricane Michael, the Port St. Joe Star reports.

TODAY: It’s a relatively quiet day, with most scheduled meetings in Tallahassee called off. Need a fix? You still can check out the Revenue Estimating Impact Conference at 9 a.m.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Patrick Suiters, 10, left, and Gabriel Stanford, 9, both fourth-graders at San Jose Elementary School in Dunedin, fill out a survey after tasting falafel tots and nuggets during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste test at Pinellas Technical College. About 120 students tasted and rated 28 new food items that could be added to school breakfast and lunch menus next year.
  2. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  3. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  4. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  5. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  6. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
  7. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  8. Prekindergarten students at James B. Sanderlin IB World School in St. Petersburg, show the peace sign during an assembly in 2012. New state data show children in prekindergarten are better prepared for kindergarten than those who don't attend.
  9. Leon County fifth-grader Ingrid Hanley asks the Senate Education Committee not to adopt legislation that would get tougher on D-rated schools, during a Feb. 17, 2020, session.
  10. Nadia King, 6, is smiles for a photo. The special-needs student was taken from school Feb. 4 and placed in a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act, and now her mother and a team of attorneys are asking why.
  11. The Voluntary Prekindergarten room is one feature of the new Bardmoor Branch of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg. The location also includes a child-care center and Preschool Academy.
  12. FILE - In this Wednesday, 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. School districts continue to improve their security plans in the aftermath. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)