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Florida education news: Teacher pay, early education and the Skull Breaker Challenge

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Teacher Dequita Parker guides youngsters to lunch from the playground Sept. 20 at the PromiseLand Early Childhood Education Center in Tampa.

ARE THEY STILL TALKING ABOUT TEACHER PAY? For months, it seemed like everyone in education was touting raises for teachers. The governor pushed for the idea. Lawmakers put money into their budgets for it. Teachers rallied. Then, radio silence. Is it still the ‘Year of the Teacher’?

EARLY EDUCATION: Children begin learning well before kindergarten. Many don’t get the access to educational programs that could help. A Pinellas County group wants to do something about it.

‘DON’T DO SOMETHING STUPID LIKE THAT’: South Florida school districts are warning students and parents about the dangers of the Skull Breaker Challenge. Apparently, kids have been landing in the hospital after trying it at school, WPTV reports.

SCHOOL CHOICE: Florida lawmakers are working to make one of the nation’s largest voucher programs even larger, Florida Politics reports.

BAKER ACT: The Florida law, originally intended to help treat people deemed a threat to themselves or others, increasingly is being used inappropriately in schools, Education Dive reports.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL: Representatives for the city of Jacksonville and the Duval County school district met behind closed doors to seek closure on their lawsuit related to placing a sales tax referendum on the ballot. Did they finally get over it? WJXT reports. More from the Florida Times-Union.

MAKING PROGRESS: Pinellas County’s Lakewood Elementary School has been among the state’s lowest performing schools for years. So why were state and federal education officials visiting the campus during a tour of success stories? St. Petersburg Catalyst reports.

SCHOOL MEDICINE CABINET: A state lawmaker wants to see Narcan available in every school. It’s already made a difference in Pasco County, WFTS reports. A group of Miami teens came up with the idea, WLRN reports.

SUPERINTENDENT’S SEAT: The Clay County School Board won’t have to worry about making an interim appointment for superintendent while waiting for the next election. Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed an assistant superintendent to run the district until then, the Florida Times-Union reports.

CHARTER DISPUTE: An administrative law judge rules that a shuttered Manatee County charter school should repay the school district $300,000 for legal fees and costs related to fighting its contract termination, the News Service of Florida reports.

‘DISGUSTING’: Volusia County School Board members are very unhappy with their custodial service, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Will they trash it?

ENROLLMENT FIGURES: The state has updated its student enrollment projections. Where does your county stand? The News Service of Florida reports.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Leon County superintendent Rocky Hanna draws a primary challenge from a former district administrator, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

TEACHER DISCIPLINE: An Alachua County high school teacher is reassigned to a different school after being caught on video using racial slurs in his classroom, the Gainesville Sun reports. The teacher says it was just a lapse in judgment that ‘backfired,’ WUFT reports.

IN COURT: A former St. Johns County student sues the district, alleging nothing was done as a teacher ‘groomed’ her to develop an inappropriate relationship, the St. Augustine Record reports.

BAD ACTS: A Brevard County teachers aide is arrested on accusations of sending sexually graphic messages to a 16-year-old student with special needs, Florida Today reports.

TODAY: Senate Education Appropriations, 9 a.m. (SB 70 panic alarms, SB 1644 restraint and seclusion) • House Appropriations, 3:30 p.m. (HB 7067 vouchers, HB 7087 university mergers)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup