Education funding: The Florida House PreK-12 Appropriations is preparing to take a closer look at how state money is divided among school districts, including hiring a consulting group to make recommendations on adjusting the school-funding formula. That formula, known as the Florida Education Finance Program, uses several factors to decide how the $21 billion-plus is distributed among districts. The focus may begin with the price-level index, which tries to factor in the cost of living differences of districts. Some districts have complained that the current formula shifts money from poorer districts to wealthier, urban ones. News Service of Florida.
Bright Futures boost: The Legislature’s Joint Legislative Budget Commission added $25.3 million to the Bright Futures scholarship program on Thursday. Last spring, lawmakers budgeted $520 million for the program, which offers full and partial college scholarships for high-achieving students. But a study in November indicated an increase in students eligible would push the amount needed to about $545 million, prompting the increase approved for the fund. News Service of Florida.
Crimes in schools: School districts around Florida are failing to report crimes, even murder, rape and gun possession, as required on K-12 campuses, according to reports districts have filed in the past 10 years to the state Department of Education. An investigation also shows that more than 600 schools reported no crimes at all, some schools file false information to protect their reputations, and some fail to report crimes that aren’t committed by students. Sun-Sentinel. A 7th-grader at Sleepy Hill Middle School in Lakeland was beaten so badly at school last month that he was hospitalized. The attacker was charged by police but never suspended by Polk County school officials. Lakeland Ledger. This year has been the worst on record for gun violence in schools, according to research by the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security that goes back to 1970. Ninety-four incidents were recorded, an increase of 60 percent over the previous record of 59 in 2006. The Guardian.
Teacher pay: Salaries for 20-year teaching veterans in the Palm Beach County School District are about $3,000 a year less today than they were for a teacher with the same experience in 2008, according to an analysis of district salary records. A 25-year veteran earns about $2,100 less, and a 15-year veteran about $1,000 a year less. The anomalies were created in 2010 and 2011 when the district dropped a salary schedule that rewarded teachers with seniority and bumped up salaries for younger teachers, including a 14 percent boost in starting salaries. Palm Beach Post.