H.B. 7069 legality upheld, storm closures and changes, charter hearing and more

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H.B. 7069 challenge rejected: The First District Court of Appeal has rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the Florida Legislature’s major education law of 2017, H.B. 7069. The court ruled that the bill, which authorized the opening of charter schools in areas with persistently low-performing traditional public schools and directed more money to them, did not infringe on the rights of local school boards, as 10 school districts contended in one suit and a single district did in another. The justices also ruled that the districts’ disagreement with the law was not enough to allow them to challenge it. The districts have the option of appealing to the Florida Supreme Court. News Service of Florida. Gradebook. In another case, the state is asking a Leon County judge to dismiss a case claiming that Florida improperly deducted taxes from bonus checks issued to teachers through the Best and Brightest educator scholarship program. News Service of Florida.

Waiting for the storm: School officials around the state are preparing for the possible arrival of Hurricane Dorian, which is likely to hit Florida’s east coast this holiday weekend. Some school closures have been announced, and events are being postponed or rescheduled by some districts. Florida Department of Education. Orlando Sentinel. Miami Herald. Palm Beach Post. Florida Times-Union. Sun Sentinel. Florida Today. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Flagler Live. TCPalm. St. Augustine Record. WKMG. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Tallahassee Democrat. WESH. WPLG. WLRN. WPEC. Lakeland Ledger. News Service of Florida. Associated Press. WFLA. WFTS. WTVJ. Orlando Weekly. Weather Channel.

Hearing over charter: Problems in getting the Lincoln Memorial Academy charter school classified as a Title I school and eligible for federal funds delayed the flow of critical funding to the school for several months, officials testified in the fourth and final day of a state hearing that will determine if the Manatee County School District acted properly in removing school principal and CEO Eddie Hundley, terminating the school’s charter and seizing it. Hundley and other school advocates contend they questioned the Manatee County School District about the missing money but got little response until they notified  the Florida Department of Education. The judge is required to issue his decision before Set. 30. Bradenton Herald.

School enrollment: School enrollment continues its upward trend in the Escambia and Santa Rosa school districts. Santa Rosa’s is up 431 students, bringing total enrollment to 28,343. In Escambia, 101 more students have been counted, bringing the district’s total to 36,890. Pensacola News Journal.

School data breach: The Marion County School District is among the districts around the United States that were affected by a data breach of Pearson PLC. Among other things, the company provides testing services for student math and English/language arts screening and assessment. Arizona Education News Service. Ocala Star-Banner.

School dress codes: A Nassau County mother is criticizing school officials for telling her 9-year-old daughter that she can’t wear a tank top that shows her shoulders because it’s a “distraction” to boys. “They had her wear a hoodie to cover up,” said Kate Darrow. The next day, Darrow and her husband Rob sent their daughter to Callahan Intermediate School with a T-shirt that said, “Right to bare shoulders,” and their son with one that read, “Real men aren’t distracted by shoulders.” WJAX. Yahoo.

Education podcasts: Florida has been cutting the amount of money it gives public school districts for construction, maintenance and repairs, forcing many to ask voters to increase taxes. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities senior researcher Mike Leachman talks about the implications. Gradebook.

Teachers and housing: An entry-level school teacher would have to spend 72 percent of her or his salary to cover rent in Miami, according to an analysis by the online real-estate database Zillow. The average rent in the city is $1,938 a month. Miami New Times.

Video now off YouTube: A video taken inside Mitchell High School in Pasco County has been removed from YouTube after complaints from some of the people shown in it. The video had been posted to the DeLucio family channel, which has more than 1 million subscribers. Gradebook.

Social media policy review: Bay County School Board members say they will review the district’s social media policy after the discovery of a video posted by a teenager who threatened to shoot anyone coming into his home and made racist comments. The video was not related to a school and the teen committed no crime, but board members want to review their options in such cases. Panama City News Herald.

Boil water advisory: Three Clay County schools are under a boil water advisory today after a water main break. Oakleaf High School, Oakleaf Junior High School and Plantation Oaks Elementary School are affected. WJAX. Clay Today.

School bus in fatal crash: A driver is killed after his car collided head-on with a Polk County school bus on Thursday. No one on the school bus from Bartow Middle School was injured, and deputies say it doesn’t appear the bus driver was at fault. WFLA. WTSP.

Opinions on schools: Here’s what an extra half-cent on the sales tax is buying for Hillsborough County schools. Superintendent Jeff Eakins, Tampa Bay Times.

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