Board actions: The Florida Board of Education approves a budget request of $20.9 billion for the state’s K-12 schools. The request, which now goes to Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature, calls for a 3.4 percent increase in overall spending and a 2.5 percent boost in per-pupil spending. News Service of Florida. Politico Florida. The board approves a proposal to end the $49 million Best and Brightest teacher bonuses plan. In its place would be a $43 million recruitment and retention program. Tampa Bay Times. Orlando Sentinel. The board also approves rules that tie charter school facilities funding to the types of students they serve. redefinED. Politico Florida. Board members are enthusiastic about the Department of Education’s strategic plan that sets a goal of a 6- or 7-point increase in state test scores by students by 2020. Gradebook. Politico Florida. Turnaround plans for eight struggling Polk County schools are tabled by the board while 40 others are conditionally approved. Members say the Polk plans were submitted too late for proper review, and will be considered at the Oct. 26 meeting. Lakeland Ledger. Politico Florida.
Mediation for Duval: The Duval County School Board is considering hiring a mediator to resolve its differences with Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. Board chairwoman Ashley Smith Suarez has accused Vitti of being untruthful with the board and not being aggressive enough in trying to close the achievement gap between white and minority students. Florida Times-Union. Can mediation work after a year of crumbling relationships? Experts say it could, but everyone involved has to buy in to the process. Florida Times-Union.
School elections: A TV ad attacking his opponent is creating problems for Alachua County Superintendent Jackie Pons. The ad focuses on a 2013 paternity lawsuit filed against Pons’ opponent, Rocky Hanna. Several prominent members of Pons’ re-election team have resigned over the ad, which they call an embarrassment. Tallahassee Democrat.
Opt-out promotions: Nine-year-old Broward County twins who opted out of the Florida Standards Assessments testing are promoted to fourth grade. Their mother, Brandy Paternoster, was one of the parents suing the state and several school districts over retention policies for students who choose not to take the tests. Sun-Sentinel. Continue Reading →