School budgeting: The Pinellas County School Board approves a preliminary budget of $1.5 billion that includes a slightly lower tax millage rate. But higher property values will raise tax revenues by more than $4 million. Tampa Bay Times. The Lee County School Board approves a $1.4 billion budget. It set a lower tax millage rate, which are more than offset by higher property values. The district expects 92,000 students. Fort Myers News-Press. The Polk County School Board approves a $1.2 billion budget that keeps the reserve fund at 5 percent. Lakeland Ledger. The Manatee County School Board approves a $608 million tentative budget. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The Collier County School Board tentatively approves a $972 million budget, an increase of $85 million from last year. Naples Daily News. The Leon County School Board approves a $498 million budget, which school officials are calling tight. Tallahassee Democrat.
New school programs: Fourteen Duval County schools are getting new programs for the upcoming school year, the district announces. The goal, says Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, is to give neighborhood children a reason for choosing their local schools instead of going to private schools. Florida Times-Union.
Virtual school ads: Florida Virtual School nearly doubles its advertising budget in an effort to bring in more students. The system is adding $1 million to its advertising budget for TV and radio spots and billboards. About 5,600 students are now enrolled. Orlando Sentinel.
Strong sales tax: St. Johns County School Superintendent Joe Joyner says the extra half-cent sales tax is on track to bring in $17 million this year – almost $4 million more than originally forecast. The tax helps the district with construction, technology upgrades and security improvements. St. Augustine Record.