Autism education, school starts, scholarships and more.

Patrick R. Gibbons

Autism discrimination: The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Volusia County school district over allegations it discriminates against students on the Autism spectrum. Daytona Beach News Journal. The number of students with autism Baker Acted increased 500 percent in Volusia County over the last five years. Daytona Beach News Journal.

Drivers beware: 43,000 students head back to school in Marion County and police are prepared to hand out tickets to those speeding through school zones. Ocala Star Banner. Today is the first day of school and south Florida roads are about to be even more crowded. Sun Sentinel.

Bus safety: Here are some bus safety tips from TC Palm. Passing a stopped school bus is illegal in Florida, so how does a car pass a bus safely and legally? WFLA. Pasco County bus drivers remix “Old Town Road” rap song to provide safety tips and an eye into the life of a bus driver. Tampa Bay Times.

Board appointments: Gov. Ron DeSantis appoints two new board members to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Florida Politics.

Looking sharp: Area barber shop provides free back-to-school haircuts for students. Naples Daily News.

Health and safety: Schools are struggling to comply with new state laws on mental health professionals and hardening school sites. News Service of Florida. More than 5,000 students in Brevard county received mental health services at their school last year. Brevard says it will continue to address mental health issues. Florida Today.

Teacher shortage: There are 3,500 teacher vacancies in Florida, if those positions aren’t filled students will be taught by substitutes. Orlando Sentinel.

Money for maintenance: Marion County says it has only $8.6 million to fund maintenance for 47 schools. The district claims it needs more than $400 million to renovate the schools. Ocala Star Banner.

Scholarships available: Step Up For Students administers five different scholarship programs in Florida, including the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and Family Empowerment Scholarship. The organization says parents can still apply for several programs. Citrus County Chronicle.

School starts: A new school year brings a few changes for the 129,000 students and 8,000 teachers in Duval County. Florida Times-Union. The FL DOE approves 36 new private schools to accept vouchers and tax credit scholarships. Orlando Sentinel. 196,000 students in Palm Beach County head back to one of 179 district run schools and 52 charter schools. Palm Beach Post. A new school year begins in Miami-Dade. WTVJ. Nearly all Bay area school districts begin school today, except for Pinellas County. WTSP, Tampa Bay Times. Duval County students head back to school. WJAX. Duval County private school Trinity Christian will not start today due to a power outage caused by a storm. WJAX.

Starting new: They lost a daughter to the Parkland shooting and moved 3,200 miles away to start a new life. Miami Herald.

Shorter weeks: Hernando County is considering shortening the school week from five days to four. WTSP.

Stopping for school buses: A Pasco County lawmaker wants to increase fines for passing stopped school buses. Tampa Bay Times.

Superintendents: Hillsborough County School Board Members are deciding what to look for in the next school superintendent. Tampa Bay Times. Heidi Maier’s presentation was cut off by the Marion County School Board after it ran for 90 minutes. The school board called a recess and moved on to other topics. Maier claims she is statutorily required to finish her briefing. Ocala Star Banner.

School taxes: Discussions between the Duval County School Board and Jacksonville city council over a sales tax referendum continue. Florida Times-Union. People of faith should support the half-cent sales tax in Duval County to improve public schools and help the common good. Rachel Gunter Shapard, Florida Times-Union.

Vaccinations: Leon County has below average vaccination rates. Tallahassee Democrat.

Opinions on schools: Today is the start of a big year for students in Volusia and Flagler County. Editorial Board, Daytona Beach News Journal. Citrus County’s IB program has been a success. Editorial Board, Citrus County Chronicle. A new school year begins but more work is needed to improve student safety and address 21st century skills. Editorial Board, Tampa Bay Times. How long will it be before the Florida legislature takes notice of pre-kindergartner deaths in hot vehicle and pass laws requiring alarms (in the most recent death the driver turned off the alarm). Editorial Board, Orlando Sentinel. It’s time for parents to have a conversation with their kids about gun violence in school. Shannon Green, Orlando Sentinel. Charter school opponents claim charters are re-segregating education, but how can that be possible if public schools were never integrated in the first place. Matthew Ladner, redefinED. Demanding that the schools in the scholarship program meet a mandate to serve any and all students with unique needs in a single environment — something not demanded of district schools — is nonsensical. Carol Macedonia, Orlando Sentinel.

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