Misconduct reports in schools, salaries posted in err, construction needs and more

Reporting school misconduct: The Florida Department of Education says it’s developing a rule that would require “quick reporting” by school districts on allegations of misconduct that “affect the health, safety or welfare of a student.” DOE is pushing for the change so Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran can “exercise his authority to recommend (immediate) removal of school district personnel from direct student contact.” News Service of Florida.

Salaries mistakenly posted: The Orange County School District accidentally posted the salaries and birth dates of all its employees on an internal website. The information was removed when the error was discovered. The disclosure happened when the district posted a “teacher salary increase calculator” so teachers could figure out their pay with the raises proposed in the new contract. But calling up the worksheet showed the personal information to everyone. Orlando Sentinel.

School construction needs: Officials in the Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa school districts say they need hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers to build schools to accommodate growing enrollment and to repair aging, existing schools. The need comes at a time when education budgets are tight, forcing those officials to look for new ways to raise money. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Florida student test scores: Citing the upheaval caused when Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle last October, the Gulf County School District is asking the Florida Department of Education for a waiver from this year’s Florida Standards Assessments test scores. “We were very optimistic prior to Oct. 10 that we had made progress in the areas we needed to make gains,” said Superintendent Jim Norton. “I even publicly predicted we would make the jump from a B district to an A district. That all went out the window … and those changes are resonating.” Port St. Joe Star. St. Johns County students ranked first in the state in 18 of 21 categories of the FSA test scores. St. Augustine Record. More school districts from around the state are reporting how their students did on the FSA tests, and what the scores mean. Gilchrist County Journal. DeFuniak Springs Herald. Cape Coral Daily Breeze. Pine Island Eagle. SRQ Magazine. Daily Commercial. Students can check today how they did on Advanced Placement exams they took at the end of the school year. For students at Mainland High School in Volusia County, it will also tell them if the tests they took were real or if they took the “placebo” tests. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

School discipline: A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida charges that black students are being disproportionately disciplined in the Miami-Dade County School District. About 20 percent of the district’s students are black, but they account for more than half of the arrests in the district. Miami New Times.

Workforce grant rejected: The Escambia County School District turns down a $2.3 million grant from Triumph Gulf Coast, the nonprofit board that handles the distribution of the $1.5 billion settlement the state received from the 2010 BP oil spill. School officials said Triumph wanted to make a last-minute change to the contract that would require the district to maintain the performance standards of the grant for four years after the three-year grant ended. Pensacola News Journal.

District sells property: The Volusia County School Board approves the sale of part of the old Pierson Elementary School campus to the town of Pierson for $73,000. The school will continue to occupy about half of the property. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Report cards finally out: St. Johns County middle and high school students have finally gotten their report cards for the second semester. District officials say they were delayed because scores from the state assessments and end-of-course exams were late in being reported. WJXT.

Personnel moves: Adam Miller, the executive director of the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice for almost six years, is resigning to take a job with the IDEA Public Schools, a charter schools company based in Texas. IDEA has announced plans to expand into Florida. redefinED.

Honorary school guardian: Ryan Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina died in the 2018 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is being named an honorary school guardian in the Polk County School District. “We are in awe of his commitment to this program and are more than happy to help him fulfill this dream of his to honor his daughter’s memory,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said of Petty. WFLA. WFTS.

Volunteer honored: Ora Lee Greene, 95, who works with disabled K-12 students at the Wingate Oaks Center in Fort Lauderdale, is named Florida’s 2019 outstanding senior volunteer for the south Florida region. Broward County School District.

No charges for teachers: No criminal charges will be filed against two Broward County teachers who had been accused of accused of swearing at and physically abusing autistic kindergartners. Superintendent Robert Runcie had told parents of the Pasadena Lakes Elementary students that the teacher and aide would never work in the county again, but a union official said they are coming back to work. Sun Sentinel.

School employee faces charges: An Orange County school worker faces charges of aggravated manslaughter of a child and child neglect after she apparently left her boyfriend’s 4-year-old son in her vehicle instead of taking him into the school last September. The boy died after sitting four hours unattended in the vehicle. Mariah Butler, 27, works in the office at the private Elite Preparatory Academy in Orlando. Orlando Sentinel.

Opinions on schools: Overlooked in the state assessment test results was a decline in science scores for 5th- and 8th-graders. Unfortunately, those are not the only worrying indicators that science education is not a subject that’s important to Florida’s elected and appointed officials. Brandon Haught, Orlando Sentinel. Florida should not be spending millions in tax dollars on tuition vouchers at unregulated private schools that will not accept gay students and will expel any they discover who are enrolled. Tampa Bay Times. There have been gains, but we cannot agree that the Lee County School District’s test score numbers are “good” as the percentage of children scoring below minimum standards remains far too high and Lee continues to lag behind both state benchmarks and neighboring school districts up and down the coast here in Southwest Florida. Cape Coral Breeze. To protect our freedoms, we must teach students how our government works and how to effectively engage in our political and government processes. Michael Waltz, Orlando Sentinel.

Student enrichment: Three students Sleepy Hill Middle School in Polk County win third place in the Team Engineering Challenge competition of the national SkillsUSA Championships in Kentucky. Ryder Walters, Michelle Berrios and Madison Dolyac were one of just 11 U.S. teams to qualify. Lakeland Ledger.

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