Florida schools roundup: Solar eclipse, sales taxes, school names and more

Eclipse schedules: School districts around the state are deciding if their students will be permitted to view the solar eclipse Monday, and if they will be, how they might do so safely. Palm Beach Post. Fort Myers News-PressNorthwest Florida Daily News. St. Augustine RecordGradebook. WFTX. WJAXJackson County Floridan. WCJB. WPECGradebook. Florida Today. Lakeland Ledger. Bradenton HeraldWashington PostU.S. News & World ReportFox News. Education Week.

Sales tax revenue: The half-cent sales tax voters approved in 2014 for the Brevard County School is bringing it almost 30 percent more money than projected. The district expected to collect about $78 million from the tax by now. Instead, it has collected $101 million. The money is used for building repairs, security upgrades and technology purchases. Florida Today.

Confederate school names: Duval County School Board members say they have no plans to rename any of the district schools bearing the names of Confederate leaders. A couple of years ago, the board changed the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School to Westside High School. Forrest was a Confederate lieutenant general. WJAX. A study by the Southern Poverty Law Center says there are at least 109 schools in the United States named after prominent members of the Confederacy, and many of the schools have a significant number of black students. Cox Media Group.

Back to school: More from districts around Florida that have returned to school or will soon. Naples Daily News. Panama City News Herald. Miami Herald. The kindergarten and 1st-grade wing at Osceola Magnet School reopen today. It had been closed since Monday for mold contamination. Air quality tests on other parts of the Vero Beach school are due Friday. TCPalm.

After-school program: An audit finds that students who have participated in after-school programs run by Duval County’s Children’s Commission have “significantly improved” academic outcomes. But Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who requested the audit, is still calling for a merger between the commission and the Jax Journey. Florida Times-Union. Florida Politics.

Uncool schools: Hillsborough County school officials are asking parents to be patient as the district tries to repair aging, often malfunctioning air-conditioners in dozens of schools. The district has 33 technicians who get about 200 calls a day for all sorts of repairs. Superintendent Jeff Eakins also urged parents to lobby their lawmakers for better funding. Tampa Bay Times. WFLA. WTSP.

Homes for school swap: A home developer is offering to donate 100 acres of land and $10 million toward building a new high school in West Boynton Beach if it gets permission to build 2,600 homes in Palm Beach County’s agricultural reserve. The controversial plan would have to be approved by the county commission. Palm Beach Post. Sun-Sentinel.

Charter school sale: The Palm Beach Maritime Academy elementary charter school is sold to ESJ Capital Partners for $7.2 million. The Aventura company, which owns more than 20 charter schools around the United States, bought the school from the Palm Beach Maritime Museum Inc. Real Deal magazine.

Charter school moves: The Donna J. Beasley Technical Academy charter school has moved from Fort Myers to Lehigh Acres. The high school has about 140 students, and officials say they moved because most of those students live in Lehigh Acres. Lehigh Acres Citizen.

Driving simulator: The Florida Department of Transportation buys a driving simulator, and will use it in high schools across north Florida to let students experience the effects of distracted and impaired driving. WOKV. WJXT.

Email instructions: Pasco County school officials send detailed instructions to all administrators on a basic of email etiquette – do not reply to the sender when the email says “don’t reply to sender.” And especially don’t reply to all. Such an email was sent to all teachers last week, resulting in a deluge of replies and an overload in email in-boxes throughout the district. Gradebook.

Educators honored: Gov. Rick Scott presents Shine awards to seven Florida educators: Jessica Hooker, Leon County; Lisa Kelly, Florida State University Schools; Jennifer Lee, Liberty County; Peter MacWilliam, Jefferson County; Lauralee Mitchell, Wakulla County; Natasha Pennycuff, Franklin County; and Cindy Vega, Madison County. The awards are given to teachers who make “significant contributions” to education. Sumter County Times.

School property: The Flagler County School Board turns down a $1.7 million offer from a developer for a 7.2-acre parcel that once was home to ITT headquarters. Michael Collard Properties wanted to build shops and restaurants on the site. Board members say they expect the land to fetch a higher price. Flagler Live.

Notable deaths: Sheila Sawyer, a math teacher from 1976-1990 at Christopher Columbus High School, a private Catholic boys’ school in West Miami-Dade, died. She had Parkinson’s disease. She was described as a kind but firm teacher. Miami Herald.

Recruiting allegations: East Ridge High School football coach Ashour Peera resigns as the Lake County School District investigates possible recruiting violations against him. He had been suspended since July 26. Daily Commercial.

School bus crashes: The Palm Beach County School District paid out $1,547,707 in settlements resulting from school bus crashes during the 2015-2016 school year, according to public records. WPEC.

Wrong bus stop: A 7-year-old Parrish girl was put on the wrong bus to go home after her first day in the 3rd grade at Williams Elementary, and she was dropped off at a stop more than a mile from her home in the middle of a thunderstorm. School officials are investigating the bus driver’s actions. Bradenton Herald.

Car line arrest: A Fort Myers woman is arrested and accused of snorting cocaine while sitting in the parents’ car line at Lexington Middle School. Fort Myers News-Press.

Opinions on schools: It’s a new school year in Orange County, but with the same flawed school starting times. Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel. Choice, properly governed, is America’s most promising vehicle for integration both of race and class. John E. Coons, redefinED. Our collective failure to fully fund early learning and high quality after-school programs for all children is not only a disaster for working parents throughout the state of Florida, but fails to wisely invest in our children. Skip Campbell and Mike Ryan, Sun-Sentinel. The first day of middle school is a battle for the ages. Brent Batten, Naples Daily News.

Student enrichment: A Grumman Mohawk gunship, a military aircraft built in 1967, is now parked at the G-Star School of the Arts for Film, Animation and Performing Arts in Palm Springs. It will sit alongside a WWII Douglas C-47 Dakota Skytrain that was donated to the school in 1994. “They’ll teach our kids history and give our kids a chance to shoot films around them,” says Greg Hauptner, G-Star’s CEO. Palm Beach Post. Mulberry Middle School is one of 33 schools in the United States and Ireland to receive a school of distinction award from the College for Every Student nonprofit organization. Lakeland Ledger.

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