1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Florida education news: Teacher pay, scholarship support and one school’s fancy new kitchen

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Marian Phillips, president of the Nassau County Educational Support Professionals, wears a customized hat as she listens to a bill on teacher pay Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in a committee meeting during the Florida Education Association's "Take on Tallahassee" rally in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) [PHIL SEARS  |  AP]
Marian Phillips, president of the Nassau County Educational Support Professionals, wears a customized hat as she listens to a bill on teacher pay Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in a committee meeting during the Florida Education Association's "Take on Tallahassee" rally in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) [PHIL SEARS | AP]
Published Feb. 10
Updated Feb. 11

WHAT’S BEHIND THE PUSH FOR RAISES? The push to give Florida teachers raises — to the tune of $500 million or more — has gained steam in unusual places this year. The backers include big business and leading Republicans. Business leaders say the proposal simply makes sense, because schools need to pay educators well if they hope to keep them. And a strong education system is key to a vibrant economy. Some cynics, though, see election-year politics at play, GateHouse reports.

SCHOLARSHIP DONATIONS: Fifth Third Bank was one of the first companies to announce it would stop contributing to Florida’s tax credit scholarship program amid concerns it left room for discrimination against LGBTQ youth. After a backlash from scholarship supporters, who said Fifth Third officials didn’t understand the way the program actually works, the bank reversed course. More on the dispute from the Bradenton Herald.

‘YOU’RE GONNA GET SHOT’: A Pasco County high school resource officer is caught on video threatening to shoot a student who is attempting to leave campus without permission, if the student drives any closer to him. The student is expelled. The officer’s actions remain under review. Of course, there’s more to the story than that. But at the very least, the student’s mom wants the officer to receive a similar punishment to her son’s.

PROJECT PRIORITIES: Some Broward County parents are raising eyebrows as their school district fast-tracks a high school’s state-of-the-art new culinary arts kitchen while other schools wait for roof and air conditioning repairs, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

TEACHER TIME: The people negotiating a new contract for Polk County teachers say they’ve come to accept that the district has little money to pay for raises. But the district can afford to return some planning time, they argue, and they want it back, the Ledger reports.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE: Lake County school district officials say their move to positive alternatives to suspension is yielding strong results, the Daily Commercial reports.

TOP BRASS: Indian River County’s new superintendent begins to remake his leadership team, hiring two new top administrators to key posts, TC Palm reports.

GREEN THUMBS: Some Polk County students with special needs learn to garden as a lesson in self-sufficiency, the Ledger reports.

DRUG DEALING: A Duval County elementary school teacher faces felony charges after she allegedly tried to buy meth from an undercover officer while at school, CNN reports.

TODAY: Senate Education, 1:30 p.m. • House PreK-12 Appropriations, 1:30 p.m. ​​​​​​​


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
  6. Clay County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis (wearing a pink tie), center, takes photos with the  Hillsborough County Public Schools board members after being voted unaminous as the new incoming superintendent in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
  7. University of Florida students walk through Turlington Plaza in between classes on Thursday afternoon, February 13, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla.
  8. Chikara Parks, right, along with her children in front of their home in St. Petersburg. In the back is Kamijah Laswon, 14. In front of Kamijah is her sister Tanijah Clark, 12. Their brothers are 7-year-old Tai'jon Carter, left, and Dai'quan Carbart, 9. The four children used to attend Pinellas public schools. Now they are in private schools, using Florida's tax credit scholarship program. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  9. Florida Board of Education member Michael Olenick speaks during a July 17, 2019, board meeting in Polk County. [The Florida Channel]
  10. A new house under construction in Waterset on Big Bend Road in Hillsborough County's Apollo Beach area. Developed by Newland Communities, which also developed Fishhawk Ranch  in Hillsborough, Waterset has had more housing starts in the past year than any other new-home community in the Tampa Bay area. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]
  11. Janiyah, left, and Stephanie Davis of Philadelphia, stand as they are recognized by President Donald Trump during his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
  12. School buses line the parking lot of the Hernando County Schools Transportation Center earlier this month. Detailed bus route information is expected to be available July 31, and can be found on the district website, (select "District," then "Transportation". [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]