Retentions decline: Fewer than 10,000 Florida third-graders were retained in 2015, a drop of about 40 percent from 2014 and about 25 percent fewer than in any year since 2003. The Department of Education says the blip happened because local school officials had greater say for a year in whether students should be retained, and many of the students promoted would have been retained in any other year. Many school officials say they expect the number of retentions in 2016 to return to previous levels. Orlando Sentinel.
Testing lawsuit: Fourteen parents from Sarasota, Hernando, Seminole, Broward, Orange, St. Lucie and Osceola counties are preparing to file suit against the Florida Department of Education over the retention of third-graders who refused to take the state’s standardized tests. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
District tax rates: Florida school boards are preparing to set local property tax rates that will help determine how much money their districts have to spend. The rates are controlled by the state Department of Education so that wealthy districts don’t significantly outspend poorer ones. Gradebook. The Highlands County School Board approves a slightly lower tax rate while setting an overall budget of just more than $150 million. Highlands Today.
Police in schools: The Marion County School District will pay more to have police officers in middle schools under an agreement reached with the city of Ocala. The district also will have to assume the full costs for the officers after this coming school year. Ocala Star Banner. Escambia County senior sheriff’s deputy Ronnie Gill, the school resource officer at Ernest Ward Middle School in Walnut Hill, is named the top school resource officer in Florida by Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Association of School Resource Officers. Escambia’s SRO unit is also named the state’s best. NorthEscambia.com. Continue Reading →