Archive | Florida schools roundup

Florida roundup: Hope scholarships, community schools and more

Hope Scholarships. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples, says the school choice proposal is about issues bigger than bullying. Gradebook. Step Up For Students, which publishes this blog, would be among the organizations that could administer the proposed program.

Community schools. Two Palm Beach schools add on-site clinics. Sun-Sentinel.

Maria aftermath. Florida schools will help Puerto Rican students displaced by the hurricane earn diplomas from the schools they left. Orlando Sentinel.

Career education. Duval schools ramp up career and technology courses. Florida Times-Union. Miami-Dade students with special needs learn to run their own businesses. Miami Herald.

Teacher pay. State funding is key to possible raises, the Palm Beach district’s chief financial officer writes in the Palm Beach Post. Seminole County teachers reach an agreement with their district on raises. Orlando Sentinel. Continue Reading →

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Florida schools roundup: Choice transportation, misconduct and more

In transit. The Pinellas school board talks start times and choice transportation. The “district has 2,500 bus stops exclusively for choice programs, which account for 229 out of 441 routes.” Gradebook.

Educator misconduct. The state strips scholarships from a private school after the operator’s sexual battery arrest. Orlando Sentinel. (Step Up For Students, which publishes this blog, helps administer the tax credit scholarship program.) A former Miami-Dade student wins a multimillion-dollar settlement from a teacher who had sex with her in his classroom and sent her lewd texts. Miami Herald. A former Pasco teacher is arrested for offering a student $500 for sex. Gradebook.

Teacher pay raises. Pasco teachers make the district a counter-offer. Gradebook. Polk’s new pay plan is “very confusing.” The Ledger. Tensions rise, and become public, over Palm Beach pay talks. Palm Beach Post. Continue Reading →

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Florida roundup: Charter schools, FLVS union drive and more

FLVS union? Florida Virtual School teachers are starting to unionize. They say they have to work long hours, and they’re in touch with the Florida Education Association. The statewide public virtual school argues a union isn’t necessary. Gradebook.

HB 7069. Jeb Bush says it’s a “historic” law that will bring positive changes. redefinED. News Service of Florida.  Due to the law, Duval County may have to bring in “outside entities” to run three persistently struggling schools. Florida Times-Union.

Funding. Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott are again at odds over school property taxes. News Service of Florida.

Testing. A teacher accused of filling in assessment answers remains in the classroom. WFTV. Continue Reading →

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Florida schools roundup: Irma edition

Shelter from the storm. Florida’s public schools opened themselves up to evacuees. The 74. Tampa Bay Times. (More here). Naples Daily News. Bradenton Herald. A Central Florida Muslim school did, too. Mic. School employees helped out during the storm. GradebookEducation Week. They found room for stranded people at the last minute. Tampa Bay Times. And they kept evacuees entertained. Tampa Bay Times.  Neighbors helped out, too. Gradebook. Evacuees left some shelters as forecasts shifted. Miami Herald. Continue Reading →

Florida schools roundup: Charter audits, discipline disparities and more

Discipline disparities. Black students make up 44 percent of Duval County's student body, but account for some 80 percent of its suspensions. Florida Times-Union.

Charter school audits. State financial audits find internal weaknesses at 94 charter schools. Gainesville Sun.

Private school ordinance. A prestigious Miami-Dade private school runs afoul of a city-imposed enrollment cap. City of Pinecrest officials learned Gulliver Prep had understated its enrollment by more than 100 students. Miami Herald.

HB 7069. Pasco County school board members aren't contemplating joining a lawsuit challenging a major education law. For one thing, they worry about political consequences. At most, they're in what one member calls "wait and research mode." Tampa Bay Times. St. John's County legislators, including likely future House Speaker Paul Renner, discuss the bill at a local forum. St. Augustine Record.

School improvement. School board members call for change at two long-struggling Volusia County schools. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

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Florida roundup: Charter schools, Schools of Hope, growth and more

Schools of Hope. The Hillsborough school district could win substantial grants to improve its persistently struggling schools. Tampa Bay Times. School districts are lining up to sue the state over the new school turnaround law. Sunshine State News. The Orange County School Board is the latest to consider joining the suit. Orlando Sentinel.

Community schools. Polk County plans to offer wraparound services at one of its elementary schools. Lakeland Ledger.

Enrollment growth. Florida’s public schools are expected to add thousands of students in the coming year. News Service of Florida. Officials in fast-growing St. Johns County schools add portable classrooms to absorb students. St. Augustine Record. Continue Reading →

Florida schools roundup: Audit call, budgets, schools of hope and more

District audit request: State Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, is calling on the state to audit the Duval County School District to find out how it spent $21 million more than it budgeted to last year. Fischer acknowledges that the call for an audit is motivated, at least in part, by the school board’s consideration of joining a lawsuit against the new state education law, H.B. 7069. “I’m deeply concerned that the school district is taking their eye off the ball by considering frivolous lawsuits against the state rather than getting their financial house in order,” Fischer wrote to Sen. Debbie Mayfield, chairman of the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee. Florida Times-Union. Florida Politics. The Lee County School Board will consider this week whether to join the lawsuit against H.B. 7069. Several districts say they will join Broward and St. Lucie school districts in bringing a suit, or are considering it. Fort Myers News-Press.

School budgets: The Marion County School Board votes today on a proposed $534.7 million budget that hikes spending by $12.7 million over last year. About $7.8 million of that comes from state and federal spending, and the rest will be taken from reserves to help offset increased health-insurance premiums for employees. Ocala Star Banner. Brevard school officials say the tight state budget for education has put raises for teachers in jeopardy. Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, says the state budget includes raises for teachers rated highly effective or effective, which are on top of potential payouts from the teachers bonuses program. “So teachers will make more money because of the budget that we passed,” Fine says. “Brevard Public Schools doesn’t need to give them a raise to make that happen.” Meanwhile, Superintendent Desmond Blackburn gets a raise of $10,500. Florida Today.

Schools of hope: Three schools in north Florida could be home to the first “schools of hope” under the new education law, but 37 other schools that have struggled for three or more years also could qualify in the 2018-2019 school year. Under the plan, the state can offer financial incentives to recruit charter school companies into areas that have persistently low-performing schools. redefinED. The Sarasota County School District is taking a closer look at the Suncoast School for Innovative Studies, the only Title I charter school in the county. It received a D grade from the state. “… Why did (Title 1 elementary school) Emma E. Booker get a B and you got a D when you’ve got the same demographics?” asks board member Eric Robinson. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Continue Reading →

Florida schools roundup: Help for failing schools, H.B. 7069 challenge and more

Help for failing schools: Ninety-three failing Florida schools can apply to the state for up to $2,000 more per student to fund such services as after-school programs and community partnerships, the Department of Education announces. The schools are eligible through the “schools of hope” provision of H.B. 7069 because they have received grades below a C from the state for the past two years. They have less than a month to apply, and only 25 will get the money because of a cap limiting payouts to $58 million of the $140 million set aside by the law. The rest will go to charter schools that set up within 5 miles of the failing schools. Miami Herald.

H.B. 7069 suit: The Palm Beach County School Board votes unanimously to support a proposal to sue the state over the new education law, H.B. 7069. Board attorneys were directed to research the best way to challenge the law, which increases money for charter schools at the expense of traditional public schools and limits local districts’ authority over charters. Board members say they may not join a proposed lawsuit by Broward and St. Lucie counties. Board member Frank Barbieri says separate suits could make a defense harder for the state. “If we are going to sue, which we certainly should, we should make it as difficult and painful for the state Legislature as they have made it for us to operate this school district, the highest performing large urban school district in Florida,” he said. Palm Beach Post. Sun Sentinel. The Florida Charter School Alliance says Palm Beach County Superintendent Robert Avossa signaled an intention to “wage war” on charter schools when he urged the school board to join the lawsuit. Lynn Norman-Teck, executive director of the alliance, says the board should remember that charter schools and their students are in the public school system. Palm Beach Post.

Duval may join suit: Duval County School Board members ask Jacksonville’s city attorney to investigate how much it would cost to sue the state over H.B. 7069 or join the current movement toward a suit by Broward and St. Lucie counties, the likelihood of success, and whether the city would join the board in the suit. At least six Duval schools are in danger of being closed or turned over to charter companies under the new law. Other districts that have discussed joining the suit are Pinellas, Palm Beach, Sarasota, Manatee and Alachua. Florida Times-UnionWJCTWJXT.
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