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School board candidates seek ways to get views before voters

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
School board races across Florida come to voters in just over a month.
School board races across Florida come to voters in just over a month. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]
Published Jul. 6, 2020
Updated Jul. 6, 2020

Elections are closer than you might think. The primary comes on Aug. 18, with the final day to register or change party affiliation just two weeks off. Vote by mail ballots go out shortly afterward. School races might get lost in the debate over major national issues — not to mention the relative dearth of a campaign season. But don’t forget, school boards face many of those same topics, with dealing with COVID-19 and responding to concerns about racism just two of many on the front burner. Be sure you know what the hopefuls stand for before you cast your vote.

Decisions, decisions. Eighteen candidates are seeking four seats on the Hillsborough County School Board. How to choose? We’ve compiled their positions on key issues for you. District 1, District 3, District 5 and District 7 are up for grabs in the nation’s seventh largest school system.

Some candidates are working hard to get their message out. Manatee County board incumbent Dave Miner was a no-show to a virtual debate for his seat, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Getting graduations done still remains a thing. Indian River County high schools now plan drive-thru ceremonies, TC Palm reports. • Jackson County high schools postpone their commencements, WJHG reports. • At least eight staff members tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a Polk County high school’s in-person graduation, the Ledger reports.

School districts continue to serve free meals this summer. The Lake County district is shifting sites to keep service where demand is highest, the Daily Commercial reports.

Hillsborough County school employees pass out free school meals to families, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at Brandon High School in Brandon, Fla.
Hillsborough County school employees pass out free school meals to families, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at Brandon High School in Brandon, Fla. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]

We’re a month out. Do you know what your back-to-school plan looks like? Flagler County families get two options for when classes resume Aug. 10, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • The Volusia County School Board buys enough masks for everyone, but still won’t say whether they’ll be mandatory, the News-Journal reports. • The St. Johns County district has added school-based distance learning to the mix of its choices, the St. Augustine Record reports. • Duval County’s teachers aren’t so sure about their district’s approach, the Florida Times-Union reports.

There’s one thing some families aren’t doing since the onset of COVID-19. School vaccinations have declined, Florida Today reports.

The CDC has new guidelines for in-person classes. Universal testing is not among them, Education Week reports.

Simply the BEST. Another think tank has something to say about Florida’s new academic standards.

Let’s make a deal. The Polk County school district offers a financial settlement to its fired chief academic officer, the Ledger reports.

Auditors took a look at the Palm Beach County school district’s police department spending. Get a load of how much the department spent on overtime, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Escambia County is seeking its first appointed superintendent. Its advisory committee is nearly as large as the 27-candidate pool, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Before you go. With Independence Day just behind us, and the ongoing discussion about what American society means, it’s perhaps the perfect time for you to consider the proposed revisions to Florida’s civic education standards. The deadline to submit comments to the Department of Education is Aug. 5. Maybe you’d like to give them a read and have your say? Click here to get started.

Protesters react as fighter jets fly over the White House during an Independence Day celebration during ongoing protests on a section of 16th Street that's been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza, Saturday, July 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
Protesters react as fighter jets fly over the White House during an Independence Day celebration during ongoing protests on a section of 16th Street that's been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza, Saturday, July 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo) [ MAYA ALLERUZZO | AP ]

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. What do you want your school board candidates to talk about? Send an e-mail to jsolochek@tampabay.com. - Jeff