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Florida education news: A superintendent’s contract, teacher shortages and school security two years after Parkland

A roundup of stories from around the state.
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) [MIKE STOCKER | AP]

CONTRACT TIME: It’s no small job running the nation’s seventh largest school district, which also happens to be one of Hillsborough County’s top employers. And Addison Davis, the next man to hold the superintendent post there, has negotiated a contract that officials say reflect the importance of the role — including a salary that’s $85,000 more than retiring Jeff Eakins earned.

TEACHERS NEEDED: Florida’s teacher shortage has been well documented over the past few years. In Osceola County, the school system averages 60 vacancies at any given time. That’s prompted the district to get creative to fill the void, WFTV reports.

SCHEDULING NIGHTMARE: A Palm Beach County teen thought she had done everything necessary to earn a specialty AICE diploma and free university tuition. Then she found out that a class scheduling error took it all away, the Palm Beach Post reports.

SECURITY: Two years after the Parkland high school shooting massacre, Florida school districts continue their efforts to bolster security measures to keep students and staff safe. The Manatee and Sarasota county districts have made significant strides, but many challenges still remain, the Herald-Tribune reports.

NOT SO FAST: Some state lawmakers have proposed stripping away the independence of New College and Florida Polytechnic University. They’ll face a ‘hell of a fight,’ one U.S. congressman vows, the Bradenton Herald reports. More from the Herald-Tribune.

SCHOLARSHIP DEBATE: Some Florida Democratic lawmakers continue to press for rules barring discrimination by private schools that accept state tax credit scholarships. But Republican leaders don’t seem to be interested, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

REZONING: School board members will tell you that redrawing attendance zones is one of the most painful things they have to do. Moving students from schools is never easy. Communication is key. That in mind, the Lake County school district has launched a new rezoning website as it prepares to create new maps, the Daily Commercial reports.

EXTRA DAY OFF: More than half of a Volusia County high school’s students don’t attend classes the day after three ninth graders are arrested for setting off firecrackers on the campus, and another is arrested for threatening to shoot the school, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

CONTRACT TALKS: The Polk Education Association negotiates extra weekly planning time for teachers, and the end of time consuming lesson plan paperwork, as it nears conclusion of collective bargaining, the Ledger reports. • Sarasota County teachers overwhelmingly support their contract offer with raises of up to 4.25 percent, the Herald-Tribune reports.

STILL RALLYING: About 100 teachers rally in Orlando over the weekend to call for improved pay and working conditions, WOFL reports.

BAKER ACT: The Duval County school district continues to investigate why a six-year-old student was involuntarily sent to a mental health facility for observation, as new information becomes available, the Florida Times-Union reports.

TAXES: The Monroe County School Board will ask voters to renew a half-mill property tax rate that helps pay for general operations, Keys Weekly reports. The district would reduce its capital projects tax rate by the same amount if approved.

CASE CLOSED: The Alachua County school district settles a discrimination lawsuit with a former high school coach for $25,000, the Gainesville Sun reports.

HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: A bill that would require the state to provide schools with curriculum standards on Holocaust lessons continues to move through the state House, Florida Politics reports.

NEW SCHOOL: A south Florida developer plans to build a 1,000-student charter school in Osceola County, the Orlando Business Journal reports.

TODAY: It’s Presidents Day, and most school districts are closed. But the state government rolls on. There’s an Education Estimating Conference on PreK-2 Enrollment at 9 a.m. And the Senate Education Committee meets at 1:30 p.m., when it will discuss a bill about parents’ rights that has some privacy advocates concerned.

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