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Florida education news: School names, term limits and a cafeteria taste test

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Chicken and vegetable dumplings with soy sauce were offered to students to test during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste-testing, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Pinellas Technical College. Twenty-eight new food items were tested and rated. Some will be added to next year's school menus. [SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES]

BIRTHDAY CAKE APPLESAUCE, ANYONE? Florida has plenty of weighty, divisive education issues to grapple with these days. But inside schools, a tasty, healthy lunch can make or break any day. So why not ask the kids what they like on the cafeteria menu? The Pinellas County school district gathered about 100 students for a taste test. Would you choose what they did?

ADMISSIONS HALTED: Speaking of heavy issues, kids shouldn’t have to be worrying about being body slammed by school employees three times their size. It happened at AMIKids, a Pinellas County alternative school. And now the state is stepping in.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Should a new school honor a respected educator with its name? A civic leader? Maybe it should signal its location. The Pasco County School Board got to make its decision for a planned technical high school. Guess what it chose. • Like the name game? Guess what the Santa Rosa County School Board picked for its next school, too, as the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

TERM LIMITS: Some Florida lawmakers have been trying for years to limit the terms of school board members. Eight is enough, they say. They’re getting closer, Florida Politics reports.

CONSTRUCTION FUNDS: After a protracted battle over timing, the Jacksonville city council appears ready to place a sales tax referendum on the ballot for the Duval County school district, WJXT reports. The two governments have been fighting over the referendum for nearly a year, the Florida Times-Union reports.

GET OUT: The Polk County teachers union president accused the school district’s chief academic officer of threatening her in a drunken rant. He denied it. The superintendent has had enough, the Ledger reports.

PARTY CHANGERS: Florida’s school board seats are nonpartisan by law. But in reality, everyone knows which party the office holders belong to. And in Sarasota County, they now know that two veteran board members have left the GOP, Florida Politics reports. Or did the party leave them, as some like to say?

JOB CHANGERS: The Manatee County school district’s chief finance officer resigns to take a similar position in the Polk County school system, the Bradenton Herald reports. • The Lee County School Board is getting closer to hiring a new attorney. The search has taken several months and lots of money, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

COMMUNITY SERVICE: The Martin County school district agrees to lease land to the Boys and Girls Club, allowing it to expand into a needing East Stuart community, TC Palm reports.

SCHOOL CHOICE: Marion County school enrollment trends indicate that families are taking advantage of a plan allowing them to transfer out of low-performing schools, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

GETTING THERE: No more courtesy bus rides for Martin County students living closer than 2 miles to school. The School Board has eliminated the program, saying it will save money, TC Palm reports.

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT: An Alachua County high school teacher is under investigation after a video surfaces showing him saying the N-word, WCJB reports.

YOU CAN’T SHOW THAT: A Broward County high school art teacher showed explicit nudes to her students for a lesson. She’s facing a three-day suspension, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

BAD ACTS: A Volusia County elementary school teacher is arrested on accusations of kicking a 6-year-old student, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • A Volusia County high school teacher loses his teaching license after allegations of inappropriate behavior with his students, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

TODAY: If you care about school security, you might pay attention to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has SB 7040 to implement recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School public safety commission on its agenda. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. • The full House heads to the floor at 1:30 p.m., where it could hold final votes on bills including HJR 157 to establish school board term limits and HB 37 increasing penalties for passing a stopped school bus. • U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Frank Brogan (remember him?) is visiting three schools in Tampa today with Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup