Charters security ruling: An administrative law judge rules that the Palm Beach County District must assign security officers to charter schools in order to comply with a state law passed last year. The school board had refused to provide officers for Renaissance Charter School Inc., which operates six schools in the county. “(The law) clearly and unambiguously requires school boards and superintendents — not charter school operators — to ‘establish or assign’ SSOs [safe-school officers], with the assistance of local law enforcement agencies, to every public school within their respective jurisdictions, including charter schools,” wrote Judge John Van Laningham. He did not rule on who is responsible for paying for the officers. News Service of Florida.
Guns at schools: Two bills that widen the ability of people to have guns on the grounds of schools are approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee. H.B. 403 would allow people to carry concealed weapons in churches that also have schools on the same property, and H.B. 6005 would require school districts to allow anyone over 18 years old to store a firearm in their vehicles on school grounds. Both were supported by the National Rifle Association. The current law allows districts to prohibit guns at schools and their parking lots. News Service of Florida. Sun Sentinel. Gradebook. Florida Phoenix. WFSU.
Charter school support: Support for the charter school movement is declining in America, according to a recent survey by Education Next, a journal published by Harvard’s Kennedy School and Stanford University. Only 39 percent of of those polled favor opening more “charters – schools that are funded by public money, but usually operated independently of school districts.” That’s down from 51 percent last year. Associated Press.
Back to school: More from districts around Florida that have returned to school or will soon. Florida Times-Union. Palm Beach Post. Sun-Sentinel. Orlando Sentinel. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Gainesville Sun. Tallahassee Democrat. Daytona Beach News-Journal. About a quarter of Osceola Magnet School’s students stayed home on the first day of the new school year after the disclosure of a mold problem at the school. School officials are still waiting for the results of air quality tests. TCPalm. WPTV. Ten tips for young teachers from a veteran educator. Palm Beach Post.
School funding protest: The Lake County School Board approves a resolution urging the state to “halt the transfer of education funding from poorer school districts to wealthier school districts.” That district cost differential portion of the school funding formula has shortchanged the district by $57 million since 2004, board members say. “You have 14 counties in the state benefiting from this. The 53 other counties are paying for it,” says board member Bill Mathias. Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, recently approved a legislative study of the differential. Daily Commercial.
Help for gifted students: Students at 16 high schools in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco who are struggling in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs will get help from a program developed by two academics to support students who they think are often “taken for granted.” The Advancing Coping and Engagement program will provide students with weekly lessons on developing time management skills and connecting with teachers. Tampa Bay Times.