Florida schools roundup: Class sizes, FSA cut scores and more

Jim Booth

IMG_0001.JPGClass-size violation: The Pinellas County School District intentionally violated the state’s class-size rules in the 2014-2015 school year, according to an investigation by the Department of Education Office of Inspector General. Tampa Bay Times. Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says school districts that used a loophole to avoid the class-size amendment rules would have been out of compliance by 31,257 students without it. Gradebook.

Testing discussion: The state Board of Education will meet Friday to discuss the proposed cut scores for the Florida Standards Assessment. A final vote is expected in January. Sunshine State News.

FHSAA changes: A bill filed in the Legislature would allow schools to join the Florida High School Athletic Association on a per-sport basis. Miami Herald. WFSU.

Choice registration blip: A software glitch over the weekend mistakenly informs school choice applicants that they were ineligible. The problem is now fixed and the data entered is not lost. Palm Beach Post.

School tax survey: About 70 percent of Duval County residents would support a small increase in taxes for public education, according to the Jacksonville Public Education Fund’s 2015 public perception poll. WJCT.

School impact fee: School impact fees on new construction should increase from $4,876 on a single-family home to $10,197, a consultant has reported to the Pasco County School District. Tampa Bay Times.

New school zones: The Pasco County School Board is moving ahead with school zone changes in the Lutz and Wesley Chapel areas despite complaints from parents. Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Tribune.

Alternative school: The Pasco County School Board is cutting ties with AMI Kids, a privately run alternative school that enrolls up to 120 at-risk students, over concerns about student safety. However, if AMI shows improvement by Jan. 12, the termination may be rescinded. Tampa Bay Times.

Superintendent race: Heidi Maier, an associate professor at the College of Central Florida, is challenging incumbent George Tomyn for the job of Marion County school superintendent. Ocala Star-Banner.

Opinions on schools: A bill that would strip local school boards of the authority to oversee charter school applications is a bad idea, a Palm Beach Post column argues. Tips for toning down the combative mother-adolescent daughter relationship. Miami Herald. Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed education spending is a bait-and-switch proposition, leaving local officials to get the blame for higher taxes. Ocala Star-Banner. Teacher bonuses is a perfectly fine idea, but the way it’s being done isn’t. Bridge to Tomorrow.

Employees in trouble: A former cross country and track coach at Freedom High School in Tampa is arrested and accused of sexually battery of a 17-year-old student. Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Tribune. A St. Lucie West Centennial High School teacher is arrested and accused of sexual activity with a minor. TCPalm. A Bayshore Elementary teacher is accused of child abuse. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Student enrichment: Nature Coast Technical High School’s production technology program is giving students skills to join the workforce. Tampa Bay Times. Hallandale Magnet High School receives a $75,000 donation for the HealthCorps program and HealthCorps University training. Miami Herald. Middle-school girls will be encouraged at a weekend conference in Miami to use meditation to help them with science, technology, engineering and math careers. Sun-Sentinel. Braden River Elementary students get lessons in recycling on a visit to a landfill. Bradenton Herald. Santa Fe High’s unmanned aircraft class students are developing fine motor skills that come in handy when controlling drones. Gainesville Sun. Rickards High School student Zenani D. Johnson is looking to expand her program of teaching teens how to safely interact with law enforcement officials. Tallahassee Democrat. Deltona’s Pine Ridge High School develops a hands-on manufacturing class to prepare students for a wide range of careers. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

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