House PreK-12 budget, school safety, charter school expansion and more

David Hudson Tuthill

House budget released: The House PreK-12 education budget was released in the appropriations subcommittee Wednesday. The total budget was $21.6 billion, over $500 million less than the proposed budget released by the Senate Tuesday. The differences include nearly $200 less increase in per-pupil funding, and $10 million less in funding for the Gardiner Scholarship. Tampa Bay TimesNews Service of Florida.

School safety: After the signing of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act last year, charter schools in Palm Beach county scrambled to upgrade their security without district support. Palm Beach PostStudent journalists at the University of Florida, under the instruction of Tampa Bay Times editors, spent months assessing the state of the existing program across Florida. They found a variety of approaches — and some bizarre mishaps. Bradenton Herald.

Charter school expansion: A bill expanding Schools of Hope to all counties passed the House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee late Tuesday. redefinEDTampa Bay Times.

Schools of Hope: Miami and Tampa are the expected landing spots for Florida’s first Schools of Hope since the program was created in 2017. KIPP and IDEA Public Schools submitted notices of intent on March 11 to open Hope schools. IDEA intends to open two schools in 2021. POLITICO Florida.

Guns in school: A middle school Gulliver Academy student is under investigation after police say they were notified of a possible social media threat involving an airsoft rifle. Coral Gables Police last Friday were made aware of a circulating video and visited the student’s home, according to a release. An airsoft rifle that appeared in the video was secured by police. Police said they also inspected the home and found that other weapons were securely stored. Miami HeraldA 14-year-old with no prior juvenile criminal history in Polk County was arrested for bringing a gun to school at Bok Academy on Tuesday. The boy told deputies his mother allegedly asked him to “hide” the gun since she is a convicted felon and cannot legally possess a firearm. Lakeland Ledger.

Board member seeks voucher oversight: Polk County School Board member Billy Townsend proposed Tuesday to create some kind of oversight for private schools in Polk County that receive funding from the state’s scholarship or voucher programs after a child was allegedly molested at a private school in Auburndale. Lakeland Ledger.

Gun bill: A hearing for a controversial bill arming teachers was delayed in being read in the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee Wednesday, with the chair citing lack of available meeting time. SB 7030 is part of a larger measure aimed at tweaking last year’s school safety bill, adopted in the aftermath of the shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. A similar bill will be heard in the House Education Committee this morning. Tampa Bay Times.

School Board: A New Port Richey man has been barred from attending Hillsborough County School Board meetings. Ben Greene, 29, was cited by Tampa police for repeatedly causing disruptions. Tampa Bay Times.

Spelling Bee: Dhyana Mishra from Brevard County advanced to the Scripps National Spelling Bee after taking first place at regionals Wednesday. Florida Today.

Student hit by car: A Martin County elementary school student was hospitalized Wednesday morning after being hit by a car while riding his bike. The student was taken to Cleveland Clinic Martin South Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The driver was not at fault in the crash, but was charged with driving without a license, deputies said. TC Palm.

Principal of the year: Michelle Kefford, principal of Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, was named Florida’s Principal of the Year by the Department of Education. Miami Herald.

Rookie teacher awarded: Ashley Lantes, a seventh grade science teacher at Windy Hill Middle School in Clermont, was named the Lake County Schools Rookie Teacher of the Year last week. Daily Commercial.

School choice spotlight: Patience, understanding bring scholarship student back from brink. redefinED.

Commentary: Jack Coons: Of rights and powers: states and parents. redefinEDTo earn the postsecondary certifications and associate degrees that lead to high-paying jobs, students must have strong skills in math and a high level of scientific literacy — skills that would have not been required of vocational-technical students 20 or 30 years ago. Tampa Bay Times. Shameful spending part of abusive union relationship. Sunshine State News. We need more charter schools, not fewer. Palm Beach PostMany states – like Florida – need charter school reform. Palm Beach Post. Scandal shows problem with SAT, ACT tests. Northwest Florida Daily News. Florida’s STEM push is paying dividends. Daily Commercial. Ignorance marches on in Florida, meeting with little or no resistance from your state legislature. They’re thinking of banning books again. FloridaPhoenixThe Sarasota School Board and Superintendent Todd Bowden are failing to lead. Sarasota Herald-TribuneSchool board should stay out of hospital chaos. Citrus County Chronicle.

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