Governor’s budget: Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing a $91.3 billion budget that includes $21.7 billion for the K-12 public school funding formula, with a spending boost of $224 per student. DeSantis wants to allocate $582.8 million for the Bright Futures scholarship program for high-achieving students and use state funds to replace cuts in local school property taxes. He’s asking for $500 million for the Best and Brightest teacher bonuses program, and wants to scrap the use of teachers’ college entrance exams as a factor in determining bonuses. He’s also asking for $99 million for school safety grants for hardening buildings and wants to carry forward the $57 million in unspent money for school guardians from last year. House and Senate committees will review the request as they prepare a final spending plan. News Service of Florida. Associated Press. Orlando Sentinel. Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald. GateHouse. Politico Florida.
Common Core caution: Much of the reaction to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to eliminate the use of Common Core standards in Florida schools has been positive. But the issue isn’t as simple as just signing an order, and some educators say it could be years before the state fully eliminates the Common Core standards. “Now you have curriculum materials that will be not aligned, probably, to the new standards,” says Pasco County Superintendent Kurt Browning. “How do teachers teach? … I think we need to be very, very cautious and careful about how we go about doing this.” WTSP. WTVT. WJAX. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. WLRN.
Refugee influx: The academic performances of most students who came to Florida schools after Hurricane Maria will not be counted when the state figures grades for districts and schools, says Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. She says the federal government approved the exception for English language learners, which covers most of the nearly 8,000 students who fled the hurricane and have enrolled in Florida schools. Most of the extra students – 7,212 – are from Puerto Rico, and 710 are from other islands. Orange County has gotten the most refugee students, 1,793 for an 0.8 percent increase, while Osceola County has enrolled 1,218, which is a 2.2 percent increase. Housing remains the biggest problem for the refugees, members of the state Board of Education are told. Gradebook. Orlando Sentinel. News Service of Florida. Florida Politics. Daily Commercial.
Teacher evaluations: Several states, including Florida, have begun to change the way they evaluate teachers. Florida still uses testing and student performance indicators to determine one-third of teacher evaluation scores, but now allows districts to decide whether they want to use a state-approved formula for student growth to determine the other two-thirds. Six other states – Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Oklahoma – now let districts decide what data to use to evaluate teachers. Education Week.
Housing for teachers: Broward County School Board members are considering ways to convince developers to build more housing that teachers can afford. Among the ideas is to waive school impact fees for those developers who build homes for people with incomes of up to $42,700 for a single person or $61,000 for a family of four. “We have a drastic need for teachers and many of them can’t afford to live in the county,” says board member Patti Good. The median home price in Broward is about $355,000, which is more than most teachers can afford. Sun-Sentinel.