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Florida education news: Public meetings, school zones and inaction after a student’s injury

A roundup of stories from around the state.
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. [JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ  |  Times]
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. [JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ | Times]

PUBLIC COMMENT: Florida’s colleges are subject to the same open meetings laws as other government entities and agencies. Yet you might be hard pressed to know that if you attended Pasco-Hernando State College trustees sessions. The college’s board had restrictive rules severely limiting public input. But then the school’s newly unionized faculty stepped in.

NO ONE CALLED FOR HELP: A 12-year-old boy attending a Pinellas County alternative school skipped to the front of the lunch line. A staff member grabbed the boy and slammed him to the ground. Things only got worse from there.

REASSIGNED: Families complain, but the Hillsborough County School Board approves new attendance zone boundaries for southeast-county middle schools. Crowding is to blame.

BEYOND THE SPIN: Florida education department officials celebrated the state’s high number of students taking Advanced Placement exams in 2019. They didn’t talk so much about the low passing rate, Florida Phoenix reports.

NEW STANDARDS: Florida’s newly approved academic standards in language arts and math don’t take effect for more than a year. Some Tampa Bay area school districts have already begun preparing, WFTS reports.

IT’S A HOLIDAY. RIGHT? Many Florida school districts gave students the day off for Presidents Day. Palm Beach County wasn’t one of them. That didn’t stop students from staying home, though, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: The Sarasota County school district’s superintendent resigned in disgrace. The chief finance officer is running the show, for now. School Board members want to get someone permanent in charge by July, the Herald-Tribune reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Florida is among the leading states in the nation when it comes to the number of charters schools. It’s also near the top when it comes to charter closures, with poor finances being the leading reason, WTSP reports. • A new Leon County charter school, which faced opposition to its opening, offers insight into its education vision, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

DON’T PANIC: A state Senate committee postponed its scheduled vote on a bill to require panic alarms in all public schools. Leaders want to work out some language and finance concerns. But it will be back, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

FIGHTING BACK: The Polk County school district’s chief academic officer denies having threatened the local teacher union president, after an internal investigation found him at fault. The superintendent is weighing her options, the News Chief reports.

NOW HIRING: The Palm Beach County school district’s human resources director has a sense of urgency as he seeks ways to bring more high quality job candidates to the system, Education Week reports.

PREFERRED PRONOUNS: The fight over transgender student rights continues at the Flagler County School Board, where groups on both sides of the equation turn out to express their views, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS: A Duval County judge says the Duval School Board can hire its own attorney to fight the city’s attempts to stop a school sales tax referendum. City leaders disagree, so they’re appealing the ruling, the Florida Times-Union reports.

LABOR NEWS: Broward County teachers have reached an impasse with the district over contract terms. Now they’re planning a protest, Florida Politics reports.

IN COURT: A former Collier County school administrator sues the district, alleging disability discrimination, the Naples Daily News reports.

TODAY: Full House, 1:30 p.m. (On special order: HJR 157 school board term limits, HB 37 school bus safety, HB 523 mastery based education) • Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs, 1:30 p.m. (SB 1696 student athletes) • Full Senate, 4 p.m.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

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