Florida roundup: Fundamental schools, parent trigger, school closings & more

Ron Matus

Parent trigger. The House parent trigger bill clears a second committee in face of growing opposition. Coverage from redefinED and The Buzz. The parent trigger is all about privatizing, editorializes the Bradenton Herald (though the piece appears to be word for word the same one that ran in the Palm BeachPost.)

florida roundup logoSchool choice. Once again, there are far more applicants than slots at the “fundamental schools” in Pinellas, meaning lotteries will leave many parents unhappy. Gradebook.

Charter schools. Florida Virtual Academy, a network of online charters run by K12 Inc., will not seek to open three schools in Central Florida next years as it originally hoped, reports the Orlando Sentinel. A STEM-oriented charter on Marco Island is moving out of a church and into new digs, reports the Naples Daily News.

Graduation requirements. The Orlando Sentinel gives a thumbs up to plans for alternative diploma routes that tie into career education.

Teacher pay. Gov. Rick Scott takes a dig at House Speaker Will Weatherford for not supporting Scott’s proposed across-the-board hike in teacher pay, reports The Buzz. More from the Associated Press. Lawmakers wrestle with how much to set aside and what constraints to put on it, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. Growing numbers of teachers are taking second jobs, reports the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Testing. The Board of Education votes to create a task force to help districts reduce duplication as they create a massive number of end-of-course exams. Tallahassee Democrat.

School security. Curbing cyberbullying is a complicated task for lawmakers, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The Hillsborough school board continues to wrestle with how to beef up security in the wake of Newtown, reports the Times. Tampa Tribune columnist Steve Otto doesn’t like the idea of arming teachers or enlisting schools to fight cyberbullying, calling them “looney-tunes reactions to serious issues.”

School spending. Dozens of media specialists in Pasco plead to be spared from budget cuts proposed by Superintendent Kurt Browning. Tampa Bay Times.

School closings. The Brevard County Commission is planning to sue the school board over the planned closures of three schools, reports Florida Today. More closures may be on the way, Superintendent Brian Binggeli tells the Florida Today editorial board. The Sarasota school district is proposing to close a small school for struggling students to save money, reports the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Superintendents. Not many applicants for the superintendent’s job in Polk have experience working in districts as big as Polk’s, reports the Lakeland Ledger. Tensions flare between Clay Superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr. and the school board over whether the board attorney can attend staff meetings, reports the Florida Times Union.

Growth. After three years of enrollment declines, the once-booming Pasco school district projects slight growth next year. Gradebook.

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