Florida schools roundup: Recess, transfers, capital spending and more

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florida-roundup-logoSchool recess: A bill requiring a daily 20-minute recess in every Florida elementary school goes before the House’s K-12 education committee today. The bill, pushed hard by parents’ groups, would also prohibit schools from withholding recess as punishment. Orlando Sentinel. Gradebook. A large number of parents will rally for recess at the Capitol today. Tallahassee Democrat.

School transfers: A Florida Senate education committee passes a bill that would allow students to transfer to any school in Florida that has an opening, for academics or athletic reasons. Orlando Sentinel.

Capital spending: Public schools are exceeding a state-imposed limit for spending on construction projects, according to House education budget chairman Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, and he wants to reduce that cap. Some Democrats and school officials say Fresen’s conclusions are oversimplified. Miami Herald.

School uniforms: The Volusia County School Board votes tonight on whether to require school uniforms for every K-12 student. Parents seem to be split on the measure, while most board members have spoken in favor. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Charter schools: The Jacksonville Urban Education Symposium on Feb. 6 will focus on charter schools as a viable educational option. Florida Politics.

Private schools. The Human Experience, a private middle school in Orlando, urges its 30 students to “do good, love well, and pursue your passion.” The unconventional school has its critics, but founder Nathan Smith says the at-risk students are becoming confident and unafraid. WMFE.

Calculus classes: Students in Orange and Seminole counties are more likely to take calculus classes than students in most Florida districts. School officials say getting middle school students to think ahead about accelerated coursework is critical. Orlando Sentinel.

Brevard exodus: All three associate superintendents in the Brevard County School District are leaving their jobs. Judy Preston and Cyndi Van Meter are retiring, and Debra Pace recently was chosen as Osceola’s school superintendent. Florida Today.

School rezoning: The Clay County School Board will hold a public meeting tonight to discuss a plan to rezone 16 schools to ease overcrowding at Oakleaf area schools and accommodate growth. Florida Times-Union.

Union fights: Officials with the United School Employees of Pasco want the school district to remove flyers at schools that urge noninstructional workers to sign a petition to dump the union. Gradebook. Teachers in Volusia County are protesting at their schools against testing, a proposal for student uniforms and low pay. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Superintendent investigation: Two years ago, Polk County School Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy defended the associate superintendent who has now filed a complaint against her. Greg Rivers had been accused of verbally attacking employees and possibly having an inappropriate relationship with an employee. Lakeland Ledger.

Notable deaths: Paul Hollis, 54, a world history teacher and lacrosse coach at Eastside High School, died Saturday after a choking incident a few days earlier. Gainesville Sun.

Threats and absences: Nearly 2,000 high school and middle school students in Leon County did not attend school Monday after several threats of violence were posted on social media. Tallahassee Democrat.

Land sale rejected: The Lake County School Board rejects a proposal to sell two acres of the former Dabney Elementary School property to a dentist after he asked for additional time to secure a loan. Daily Commercial.

Driver in trouble: A Palm Beach County school bus driver may be fired for making inappropriate comments to summer camp workers, driving erratically and asking students if they wanted to get off the bus and pet the lions on a field trip to Lion Country Safari. Palm Beach Post.

Opinions on schools: Great things are happening in Manatee’s schools, and it’s time to get the word out about it. Sharon Hillstromg, Bradenton Herald. A high school student is old enough to go to the bathroom alone. Gary Stein, Sun-Sentinel.

Student enrichment: Singer Barry Manilow is donating a piano to McLane Middle School, and is offering two free tickets to his Feb. 4 concert in Tampa to anyone who donates a new or slightly used musical instrument for schools. Tampa Tribune. Students at Rymfire Elementary School in Palm Coast don costumes to give living presentations on the Greek gods. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Philanthropist Greg Parady’s gifts and challenges prompt receiving students to give to others in need. Daily Commercial.