Florida schools roundup: Elections, retention, new superintendent and more

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florida-roundup-logoSuperintendent elections: Rocky Hanna soundly defeats incumbent Leon County School Superintendent Jackie Pons. Tallahassee Democrat. WFSU. Addison Davis is elected superintendent in Clay County. Florida Times-Union. Putnam County voters choose Rick Surrency as superintendent. Florida Times-Union. Kathy Burns is elected superintendent of Nassau County. Florida Times-Union. Malcolm Thomas wins a third term as Escambia County superintendent. Pensacola News Journal. Russell Hughes is elected superintendent for Walton County schools. Northwest Florida Daily News. Bill Husfelt is re-elected superintendent in Bay County. Panama City News Herald.

School board elections: School board results from around the state. Pinellas. Hillsborough. Hillsborough. Hernando. Miami-Dade. Orange. LakeLake. Palm Beach. Duval. Brevard. Lee. Polk. Polk. Indian River. Martin. Manatee. Manatee. Manatee. Flagler. Citrus.

School tax elections: Results of state school tax initiatives. Pinellas. Osceola. Palm Beach. Palm Beach. Manatee. Manatee. Alachua.

Retention rules: The Florida School Boards Association is lobbying legislators to clarify the law regarding the retention of third-graders. The group wants clearly defined promotion alternatives for students that consider both testing and achievement, an end to the reliance of a single testing result to determine retention, and local control over promotion decisions. Gradebook.

New superintendent: Tim Forson is picked by the school board to be the new superintendent of the St. Johns County School District. Forson, who retired last spring as deputy superintendent of operations after 36 years in the district, was the unanimous choice over Vickie Cartwright, who is the senior executive director for exceptional student education for the Orange County School District. Forson takes over Jan. 4 for the retiring Joe Joyner. St. Augustine Record. Florida Times-Union.

Contract negotiations: Manatee County School District officials and the teachers union declare they’re at am impasse in contract negotiations. The union wants the district to contribute more toward health insurance premiums and provide a cost-of-living raise. The district says it can’t afford the $3 million those moves would cost. Bradenton Herald.

Employees get raises: The Collier County School Board approves $1.1 million to provide raises for school and district administrators and support staff. The board also approved new a pay scale for substitute teachers. Naples Daily News.

Charter problems: Two single-gender Jacksonville charter schools have been ordered by the Duval County School District to turn over their financial documents or face closure. Valor Academy of Leadership is a school for boys, and Virtue Arts and Science Academies is a school for girls. The schools have 10 days to respond, or the district will start a 90-day process that could end in closure. Florida Times-Union.

Encouraging teachers: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, tells education majors at Florida International University to not give up on the profession. “Every day, educators make a difference in the lives of children and they make it in spite of obstacles,” she said. “We live for the ah-hah moments – the gleam in the eye of a student, all of a sudden the smile a student has on his or her face. It’s important work. It’s life-changing work.” FIU News.

Rezoning options: A rezoning committee has five options to rework school boundaries in southwest Pasco County to relieve overcrowding at some schools. The options will be presented at a meeting Monday. Tampa Bay Times. Parents are complaining about the rezoning plans to the superintendent. Gradebook.

Board shorthanded: The Volusia County School Board will be shorthanded at today’s meeting. New member Carl Persis won’t be sworn in until next week. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

School calendar: The Pasco County School Board is expected to approve a calendar with Aug. 14 as the first day of school and May 25 as the last. Gradebook.

Teachers honored: Teachers of the year are named at each of Escambia County’s 56 schools. Pensacola News Journal.

Crossing guard killed: A school crossing guard at Mount Vernon Elementary School in St. Petersburg is struck and killed by a car. David Roundtree, 72, was setting up traffic cones when a car driven by Charles Hunter Walton hit him. Walton, 21, was charged with DUI manslaughter. Tampa Bay Times. WFLA.

Opinions on schools: Passage of the half-cent continuation of the surtax for the Manatee County School District heralds the triumph of a positive vision for our children. Bradenton Herald. Here’s the rationale for giving Lake County School Superintendent Susan Moxley a strong evaluation and a bonus. Bill Mathias, Daily Commercial.

Student enrichment: Several Clay County schools are honored by the Florida Department of Education for programs that promote parental and community involvement. Florida Times-Union. The Winding Waters K-8 School in Weeki Wachee celebrates literacy at Bookapalooza. Tampa Bay Times. The Prodigy Moves dance program at the Bill Carey Boys and Girls Club in Brandon is teaching life skills and more to students. Tampa Bay Times. Twelve orchestra students at Tallahassee’s Chiles High School are chosen for the Florida Orchestra Association’s All-State orchestra in January. Tallahassee Democrat.