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Will Ron DeSantis listen and keep the schools closed?

A roundup of Florida education stories from around the state.
Florida Education Association president Fed Ingram, right, is calling on state officials to let schools remain closed while the covid-19 pandemic plays out. Here, he's watching Al Sharpton talk during a January 2020 rally for improved funding for public education.
Florida Education Association president Fed Ingram, right, is calling on state officials to let schools remain closed while the covid-19 pandemic plays out. Here, he's watching Al Sharpton talk during a January 2020 rally for improved funding for public education. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Apr. 15, 2020

The idea that Florida schools might reopen some time in May has stuck in the craw of many Floridians since Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested a week ago it might be possible. The reactions continue, and they’re mostly negative. Read on for that and more Florida education news.

‘Listen to the medical experts.’ The Florida Education Association has some pointed advice for Gov. DeSantis if he’s considering letting schools reopen. There’s even an online petition urging that campuses remain shuttered. Thousands have signed. (And no, that’s not them in the photo, which is from a pre-pandemic rally.)

Some districts already are planning as if remote learning will continue through May. Count Volusia County among them, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Money matters. As schools remain closed, they’ll need some added funding to cover their costs in a shrinking economy. Millions in federal assistance could be on the way, though how it will be used remains a question.

Really matters. Just look at what one credit rating service has said about the Hillsborough County school district’s finances.

The need still exists. So the Duval County School Board will hold a sales tax referendum to support capital projects despite the tanking economy, the Florida Times-Union reports. It won’t be a slam dunk, Florida Politics reports.

Want more coronavirus news? The Tampa Bay Times is providing all its latest stories about the pandemic online free of charge as a public service. You always could subscribe, too.

Officials throughout Florida continue to hold out hope that they can have some type of recognition for graduating seniors.
Officials throughout Florida continue to hold out hope that they can have some type of recognition for graduating seniors. [ Times (2006) ]

Graduation day is almost here. But just in case, the Volusia County school district has scheduled a backup date, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • The Lake County School Board approved using money originally set aside for grad bash — now canceled — for other senior celebrations, the Daily Commercial reports.

Learning loss is real. Florida schools are seeing the signs already, Florida Phoenix reports.

Look at some of the state’s most rural counties. Gadsden County is just now beginning to provide new content, as it hands out more laptops, WTXL reports.

And even some of the richest counties. The percentage of low-income Palm Beach County students logging in is well below that of their wealthier classmates, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Pandemic vs. public access. Some Brevard County School Board observers are critical of the board’s plan to meet without live public participation, Florida Today reports. • St. John’s County residents were able to call in comments to their board meeting, the St. Augustine Record reports. (They suggested keeping schools closed longer.)

Just say no to vaping. The Pinellas County School Board discussed joining a growing lawsuit against vape makers. Did they go for it?

Marion County has a new superintendent. She’s Diane Gullett, most recently from Clark County (Nev.) schools, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Who will run the charter school? While the founders of a controversial Manatee County charter fight to retake control, a new group stands in the wings ready to try something new at the school, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Did you miss yesterday’s roundup? Here’s the link.

Before you go ... Maybe you’ve seen their videos before, or maybe, like me, you’ve not. But the Bored Teachers site is pretty darn funny. And the videos they’re doing about life during Covid-19 don’t seem too far from reality.

What It's Like To Be a Remote Teacher

Navigating the waters of remote learning has been...interesting. Every day is a new learning experience! 🤣

Posted by Bored Teachers on Friday, April 10, 2020

To keep up on the latest stories from around Florida, visit the Tampa Bay Times Gradebook. Join our daily Facebook conversation to share your views. And be sure to share this roundup with your friends and colleagues. Know someone who might want to sign up for the Gradebook newsletter? Share this link. We want to hear your remote learning survival stories. Send an e-mail to jsolochek@tampabay.com. - Jeff

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