No resolution of lawsuit: A day of mediation could not produce a resolution in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state order to reopen schools to students five days a week, the Florida Education Association announced on its Twitter feed. The FEA’s lawsuit alleges that the reopening order, issued during the coronavirus pandemic, violates the state constitution’s requirement of a safe and secure education for students. Because no agreement was reached between the state and the FEA, both sides are back in the courtroom of Leon Circuit Judge Charles Dodson at 8:30 a.m. today for another hearing. Meanwhile, the NAACP and NAACP-Florida Conference have joined the FEA in the lawsuit, they announced Tuesday. Florida Education Association. Florida Phoenix.
Testing troubles: Nearly half the U.S. students who were planning on taking the SAT this month won’t be able to do so, the College Board announced Tuesday. “As a result of local test centers deciding to close or reduce capacity due to covid-related health and safety measures,” says a statement posted on the College Board’s website, just 54 percent will be open and some of those are limiting capacity. More than 60 of the centers canceling the exam are in Florida. More than 402,000 students had signed up to take the test Aug. 29, but at least 178,600 won’t be able to. Forbes.
Around the state: Tuesday was primary election day for superintendent and school board races. Here are the results, developments on school reopenings and other news from the state’s public and private schools:
Miami-Dade: District 7 school board incumbent Lubby Navarro won her election outright, but the other three contested races are all headed to the November runoff. Lucia Baez-Geller and Russ Rywell are the finalists in District 3, Christi Fraga and Mara Zapata in District 5, and Dennis Moss and Luisa Santos in District 9. Miami Herald. Supervisor of Elections.
Broward: School board District 9 incumbent Heather Brinkworth was beaten by Sarah Leonardi on Tuesday, while the at-large race will go to a runoff in November between Debra Hixon and Jim Holness. Hixon is the widow of Chris Hixon, the athletic director who died in the 2018 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Sun Sentinel. WPLG. Supervisor of Elections.
Hillsborough: All four school board elections are headed to the November runoff. In District 1, top vote-getter Nadia Combs will face incumbent Steve Cona. In District 3, Mitch Thrower and Jessica Vaughn led the field of six, though both received only about a quarter of the votes. Henry Washington got nearly twice the votes that incumbent Tamara Shamburger received in District 5, and incumbent Lynn Gray finished second to Sally Harris in District 7. Tampa Bay Times. WFLA. Supervisor of Elections.
Orange: Outright winners in school board elections Tuesday were incumbents Karen Castor Dental in District 6 and Melissa Byrd in District 7. Districts 4 and 5 are going to a November runoff. In District 4, the finalists are incumbent Pam Gould and Prince Brown, and in District 5 it’s Vicki-Elaine Felder and Bruce Antone. Orlando Sentinel. Supervisor of Elections.
Palm Beach: School board incumbents Frank Barbieri (District 5) and Barbara McQuinn (District 1) won their re-election campaigns for the school board, and Alexandria Ayala captured the District 2 seat. Supervisor of Elections.
Duval: Incumbents Warren Jones and Lori Hershey held onto their District 5 and 7 school board seats, respectively. Kelly Coker got 72 percent of the vote to win in District 1, and Cindy Pearson defeated three opponents to win in District 3. Florida Times-Union. WJXT. Supervisor of Elections. A teacher whose social media comments prompted inclusion training for the district’s teachers has been removed from the classroom and assigned to a job in which he doesn’t interact with students. Thomas Caggiano, a longtime math teacher at Sandalwood High, made several transphobic and racist social media posts last year. Florida Times-Union. Duval teachers held another protest Tuesday to urge the school board to start the school year with remote learning, and more than a dozen teachers, bus drivers and school employees said they are resigning rather than risking their health. WJXT.
Polk: Incumbent Billy Townsend was defeated by William Allen in the race for the District 1 school board seat, while Lori Cunningham retained her District 2 seat. Lakeland Ledger. Supervisor of Elections.
Pinellas: District 4 school board member Eileen Long was re-elected easily, but the other two races are headed to runoffs. In District 1, top vote-getter Laura Hine and Stephanie Meyer will face off again in November, and in District 7 Karl Nurse will be rematched with Caprice Edmond. Gradebook. Florida Politics. Supervisor of Elections.
Lee: District 7 school board incumbent Cathy Morgan won her race outright on Tuesday, while current seat-holders Melisa Giovannelli (District 2) and Chris Patricca (District 3) will be headed to runoffs against John McCullers and Jacqueline Perez, respectively. Fort Myers News-Press. Supervisor of Elections.
Pasco: Kurt Browning decisively won his primary for re-election as school superintendent, though he does have an opponent in November. District 4 school board incumbent Alison Crumbley also won with more than 65 percent of the vote. Gradebook. Supervisor of Elections.
Brevard: Jennifer Jenkins upset incumbent District 3 school board member Tina Descovich on Tuesday with just over 54 percent of the vote. In District 4, incumbent Matt Susin rolled to a win with 75 percent of the vote. Florida Today. Supervisor of Elections. A state administrative law judge has upheld the school board’s decision in May to terminate a charter school contract. Legacy Academy Charter Inc. failed to “meet academic achievement and requirements of student performance” and “generally accepted standards of fiscal management and/or willfully or recklessly failed to manage public funds,” the judge ruled. News Service of Florida.
Osceola: Robert Bass has been elected to the District 5 seat and Jon Arguello to the District 3 on the school board, and the District 2 race is going to a runoff between Julius Melendez and Kerly Santos. Supervisor of Elections. School board members approved a proposal to spend $2 million to begin pool coronavirus testing of students and staffers. spending $2 million to set up pool testing for the coronavirus. Tests would be collected in batches from groups of students, classrooms or even schools. If they come back negative, it likely means the virus isn’t being spread. If they come back positive, further testing is done to isolate the persons affected. WKMG.
Volusia: District 2 school board incumbent Ida Wright is headed to a runoff against Anita Burnette, who got 48.1 percent of the vote to Wright’s 39 percent. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Supervisor of Elections.
Manatee: Gina Messenger was re-elected to her District 1 seat on the school board, while District 3 incumbent Dave Miner will face Mary Foreman in the runoff. Miner got 28.52 percent of the vote in the five-candidate field, while Foreman collected 26.46 percent. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Supervisor of Elections. County code enforcement officials are investigating whether a violation of the mask ordinance was committed during a “welcome back” assembly at Inspiration Academy in Bradenton. Photos and videos were posted on Facebook that showed students sitting and dancing together, with few of them wearing masks. Bradenton Herald.
Collier: Voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum that gives the school district flexibility to redirect designated capital improvement funds into paying expenses for day-to-day operations. Naples Daily News. Supervisor of Elections.
Lake: Incumbent Kristi Burns retained her District 2 seat, while District 4 is headed for a runoff between Mollie Cunningham and Betsy Farner. Incumbent Sandy Gamble finished third. Supervisor of Elections.
Sarasota: District 3 school board incumbent Eric Robinson was defeated Tuesday by Tom Edwards by about 4 percentage points. In the District 2 race, Karen Rose won with 56 percent of the vote. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Supervisor of Elections. School board members have made further changes to the district’s face mask policy. Students may not wear plastic shields or neck wraps, and teachers can only wear the shields when teaching. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. WUSF. WWSB. Three faculty members at Sarasota Christian School have tested positive for the coronavirus. WTSP. WWSB.
St. Lucie: Both school board races are headed to the November runoff. In District 4, incumbent Kathryn Hensley and Jennifer Richardson each got about 41 percent of the vote. In District 2, Jack Kelly and James Monds will have a rematch. TCPalm. Supervisor of Elections.
Escambia: More than 14,000 students will be learning remotely when the school year begins Aug. 24 — 37 percent of all students. About 47 percent will attend in-person, and 7 percent will take classes through the Florida Virtual School. Pensacola News Journal.
Clay: Current Superintendent David Broskie is headed to a runoff in November against former superintendent Charlie Van Sant. Broskie received 47.66 percent of the vote to Van Sant’s 37.59 percent. In the school board races, District 4 incumbent Mary Bolla won while District 2 member Carol Studdard was held to less than 40 percent of the vote and will meet Beth Clark in the runoff. Supervisor of Elections.
Okaloosa: Marcus Chambers easily beat Ray Sansom to keep his job as school superintendent, while Martha Gardner won the District 2 school board seat. Northwest Florida Daily News. WEAR. Florida Politics. Supervisor of Elections.
Alachua: Leanetta McNealy was handily re-elected to her District 4 school board seat, while the District 2 spot was narrowly won by Diyonne McGraw. Supervisor of Elections.
Santa Rosa: Karen Barber has been elected school superintendent, while Elizabeth Hewey beat the incumbent chair of the school board, Buddy Hinote, for the District 2 seat. Charles Elliott leads Felicia Northcutt in the District 4 race by just 46 votes out of 33,338 cast. Pensacola News Journal. WEAR. Supervisor of Elections.
Bay: Bill Husfelt was re-elected superintendent in a close vote over Judy Vandergrift. Incumbent Jerry Register kept his District 1 school board seat, while Brenda Ruthven will take over the District 2 seat and Winston Chester won in District 4. Panama City News Herald. WMBB. WJHG. Supervisor of Elections.
Hernando: Linda Prescott was re-elected to her District 2 seat on the school board. Supervisor of Elections.
Martin: Fourteen teachers and 292 students are now under quarantine, according to district officials. Superintendent Laurie Gaylord wondered if parents are irresponsibly sending their sick children to school. “I want to reinforce the fact that people need to take the personal responsibility in this,” she said at a school board meeting Tuesday. “If your children are sick, please do not send them to school.” WPTV.
Indian River: Voters overwhelmingly approved a four-year extension of the half-mill property tax to raise money for teacher retention and recruitment, technology, school safety and wellness programs. TCPalm. Incumbent board chair Laura Zorc lost her District 3 seat to Peggy Jones, and Brian Barefoot won the race for District 5. TCPalm. Supervisor of Elections.
Citrus: Incumbent Superintendent Sandra Himmel coasted to re-election with almost 75 percent of the vote, while the District 2 race between incumbent Virginia Bryant and Danielle Doty will move on to a runoff in November. Citrus County Chronicle. Supervisor of Elections.
Flagler: Colleen Conklin retained her District 3 seat on the school board, while Cheryl Massaro won the District 5 seat over incumbent Maria Barbosa and Jill Woolbright captured the District 1 seat. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Flagler Live. Supervisor of Elections. Nine school district employees have tested positive for the coronavirus this month, including six since Aug. 9. Three students who have interacted with other students have reported positive tests since July 20. Flagler Live.
Nassau: Incumbent Superintendent Kathy Burns narrowly avoided a Nov. 3 runoff to win re-election with 50.88 percent of the vote, while Cynthia Grooms turned out incumbent Russell Johnson for the District 4 seat on the school board. Supervisor of Elections.
Columbia: Keith Hudson was re-elected to the District 4 school board seat. Supervisor of Elections.
Walton: Jeri Michie defeated incumbent Marsha Winegarner for the District 4 seat on the school board. Supervisor of Elections.
Hendry: Paul Samerdyke was elected to the District 2 seat on the school board. Supervisor of Elections.
Jackson: Steve Benton Sr. won the Republican primary for the school superintendent’s position, while Stacey Goodson won her District 3 school board seat with almost 83 percent of the vote. Supervisor of Elections.
Suwannee: The race for the District 2 seat on the school board is headed to a runoff election between Monica Ford-Davis and Norman Crawford. Incumbent Catherine Cason finished third in the field of four. Supervisor of Elections.
Levy: Incumbent Superintendent Jeffery Edison convincingly lost his re-election bid to board member Chris Cowart, and Tammy Boyle narrowly won the District 2 school board seat. Supervisor of Elections.
Gadsden: Elijah Key has been elected school superintendent over two other candidates, with 52.94 percent of the vote. Incumbent Audrey Lewis is headed to a runoff against Cathy Johnson in the race for the District 1 seat on the school board, while District 5 incumbent Tyrone Smith was beaten by Karema Dudley. Supervisor of Elections.
Hardee: Claire Cornell won the District 3 school board seat, while incumbent Mildred Smith and Dick Daggett finished 1-2 for the District 2 seat and will meet each other again in the Nov. 3 runoff. Supervisor of Elections.
Baker: Amanda Hodges has won the District 5 seat on the school board. Supervisor of Elections.
Washington: Joseph Taylor has been re-elected superintendent, and Lou Cleveland won the District 2 seat on the school board. Supervisor of Elections.
Holmes: Incumbent school Superintendent Terry Mears was soundly beaten by Buddy Brown in his run for re-election as school superintendent. Incumbent Wilburn Baker won re-election in District 2 on the school board. Supervisor of Elections.
Bradford: Candace Osteen narrowly defeated incumbent Vivian Chappell to win the District 4 seat on the school board. Supervisor of Elections.
Gilchrist: Jim Surrency finished first among four candidates in the superintendent’s election, and will meet Ronda Atkins in the runoff. Supervisor of Elections.
Taylor: Incumbent Danny Glover narrowly held off Alicia Beshears in the race for school superintendent, while incumbent Jeanne Mathis kept her District 3 school board and Deidra Dunnell was re-elected in District 5. Supervisor of Elections.
Madison: Frankie Carroll defeated two competitors to win the school board’s District 4 seat. Supervisor of Elections.
Union: Russell Gordon was re-elected to the District 2 seat on the school board, and Becky Raulerson keeps her District 4 seat. Supervisor of Elections.
Dixie: Cheryl Pridgeon and Samantha Sanders finished first and second in the race for the District 1 school board seat, and will meet in the runoff Nov. 3. Supervisor of Elections.
Gulf: Cindy Belin was re-elected to the District 3 school board seat, while Marvin Davis and Deborah Crosby finished 1-2 for the District 4 seat and will meet in the runoff. Supervisor of Elections.
Glades: Jenny Allen was re-elected to the District 2 school board seat, and Jean Prowant narrowly defeated Holly Whiddon for the District 3 seat. Supervisor of Elections.
Hamilton: Saul Speights was re-elected to the District 3 school board seat with 66.45 percent of the vote. Supervisor of Elections.
Liberty: School board member Kyle Peddie won the Republican primary for the school superintendent’s job, and J. Aaron Day won on the Democratic side. They meet Nov. 3. In school board elections, incumbent James Flowers won the District 1 seat, Jodi Bailey won in District 2 and Jason Singletary won in District 4. Supervisor of Elections.
Lafayette: Amanda Hickman was re-elected to the District 4 school board seat with 54.7 percent of the vote. Supervisor of Elections.
More on the coronavirus: The Florida High School Athletic Association has announced its fall sports playoff formats. All football teams in the state series qualify for the playoffs and will be seeded with a blind draw. No district champions will be named. District seedings for volleyball will also be through a blind draw. Palm Beach Post. WCTV. Fifty-nine school districts have now had their reopening plans approved by the Florida Department of Education. The latest are Flagler, Palm Beach, Santa Rosa and Taylor. Florida Department of Education. WPEC. President Trump has added teachers to a federal list of essential workers. Politico. How much you’ll be told about the spread of coronavirus in schools is dependent on where you live, in Florida and elsewhere. USA Today Network. The unknown effects of the pandemic, as well as more claims for sexual misconduct and traumatic brain injuries, are driving up insurance rates for schools. Business Insurance.
Racial equality ranking: Florida ranks 25th among the U.S. states in racial equality in education, according to recent rankings by the personal finance website WalletHub. Rankings were determined by the differences between blacks and whites in share of adults with at least a high school and bachelor’s degrees, standardized test scores, high school graduation rates and ACT and SAT scores. WalletHub. The Center Square.
District being sued: The father of a student who was arrested for posting a school shooting meme on social media, but later acquitted, is suing the Escambia County School District for false arrest, battery and constitutional violations. Also named in the suit are the city of Pensacola, the Workman Middle School principal and the police officers who made the arrest. Pensacola News Journal.
Opinions on schools: The state’s culture of silence has made Florida school board members understandably uneasy about making life-and-death decisions based on metrics they are ill-equipped to interpret — while under monumental pressure from parents, teachers and a state government that so clearly does not have their backs. Palm Beach Post.