Reopening details, new school start dates, Lake asks for waiver from order, teachers’ choice and more
More school start times delayed, state okays two district plans, online choices, fall sports and more
Security at schools: The Broward County School District is spending $621,000 for a surveillance system that recognizes people, and watches and remembers their movements. The 116 cameras will be installed at 36 schools, mostly high schools. One is expected to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died in an attach last Feb. 14. Sun Sentinel. The Duval County School Board approves the creation of threat assessment teams for all schools. WJAX. Orange County is still trying to hire enough officers to cover all schools. Orlando Sentinel. South Florida parents and students talk about whether Florida’s new school safety requirements are making students feel safer in their schools. WLRN.
Teacher turnover: Teachers are leaving the St. Johns County School District at the highest rate in three years, according to district data. During the 2017-2018 school year, 243 of 3,216 teachers resigned, a rate of 7.5 percent. St. Augustine Record. WJAX. The Lake County School District has a teacher turnover rate of about 15 percent a year, and seven schools have rates of 40 percent or higher. District officials say they are working on a strategy to improve retention. Daily Commercial.
Another game shooting: One person is dead and two others wounded after a shooting as fans exited the Raines-Lee high school football game in Jacksonville on Friday night. No one has been arrested, and deputies say the shootings are gang-related. Duval County Superintendent Diana Greene was at the game, and calls the shooting “unacceptable. This is a community issue. I need parents, students to stand up. If you see something, say something.” Greene says she and school district officials will be discussing changes needed to be made to ensure the safety of all students. Florida Times-Union. WJAX. WJXT. Backpacks and book bags are now banned from Orange and Seminole counties high school football games for security reasons, district officials announce. Orlando Sentinel. Bag searches and metal detector scans are among the new security measures that were unveiled at high school football games in Palm Beach County over the weekend. Palm Beach Post.
School security: Legislators from both parties say the state should take another look at the formula used to determine how security funds are distributed to schools, especially small independent schools. Gov. Rick Scott also has asked the Legislature to revise a law to allow unclaimed money from the armed guardian program to be used for other school district security needs. But House Speaker-elect Jose Oliva, R-Hialeah, and incoming Senate President-elect Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, both say the money should stay in the armed guardian fund. redefinED. Ocala Police Department officials say they have clarified with Marion County school officials how to notify parents after an emergency at a school. School officials complained that they were prohibited by police from notifying parents for more than four hours after a gun was found in a student’s backpack at West Port High School last week. Ocala Star-Banner. The Citrus County School District is scheduling training for students in the ALICE program, which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate, to respond to school intruders. Citrus County Chronicle. Damien Kelly, the state’s first director of Safe Schools, is profiled. TCPalm.
State responds in suit: Lawyers for the state are urging the Florida Supreme Court to dismiss a case challenging the constitutionality of the way Florida funds its education system instead of sending it back to a lower court for further review. Last December, an appeals court decided that a trial court correctly ruled that the state constitution’s requirement for a “high quality” and “efficient” public school system was political, and not measurable. In April, the Supreme Court agreed to review the case. Gradebook.
Closed board meetings: Since last year, the Lee County School Board has been holding meetings the public is not invited to after its regular board meetings. The meetings are considered critique sessions, and board attorney Keith Martin says members carefully avoid discussing any issues that could later be voted on. “There have been a couple of occasions where they have gotten close to that type of issue, and I have had to say, ‘No, Sunshine Law. Get back to the proper discussions,’ ” says Martin. Barbara Petersen, president of the nonprofit Florida First Amendment Foundation, says these meetings might not technically violate state law, but they could cause a public perception problem. Fort Myers News-Press.