Stoneman officials reassigned: Four administrators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been reassigned in connection with the school shooting Feb. 14 in which 17 people died and 17 others were wounded. Security specialist Kelvin Greenleaf and assistant principals Jeff Morford, Winfred Porter and Denise Reed are being reassigned to other, undisclosed Broward County School District administrative locations, according to district officials. Sun-Sentinel. Miami Herald. WLRN. A long-awaited FBI report to the panel investigating the shooting doesn’t mention what the agency did after receiving tips about suspect Nikolas Cruz before the massacre. Instead, it focuses on improvements to its public hotline. Sun-Sentinel. Politico Florida. WLRN.
Senate education leaders: Two longtime legislators with educational backgrounds and interests are appointed as leaders of the Florida Senate Education Policy Committee. Newly elected Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, will chair the committee, and Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, will be the vice chair. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, is named chair of the Senate subcommittee on education appropriations, with Diaz as the vice chair. Gradebook. News Service of Florida. WFSU.
School security: St. Petersburg officials reverse themselves and say they will not take 25 police officers off the streets to work as resource officers in the city’s elementary schools. City officials point to the cost, more than $3 million, and a reluctance to remove officers from their beats. The decision means the Pinellas County School District will hire security guards for those roles until the district can expand its own police department. Tampa Bay Times. WFLA. The Flagler County School Board approves an agreement with the sheriff to split the $1.8 million cost to increase the number of resource officers in schools to 13. Flagler Live. WJXT. A majority of Lake County students want the school district to arm school personnel, reinforce locks and doors in schools and integrate a mental health curriculum into their classes, according to a survey conducted by a student advisory committee. Daily Commercial. The Sarasota County School Board’s creation of an independent police force gets debated further at a Sarasota Republican Club meeting attended by supporters and critics of the decision. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
A school deputy’s pension: The Broward County sheriff’s deputy who took cover outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and waited while 17 people were shot to death is now receiving an $8,702.35-a-month-for-life pension from the state. Scot Peterson, 55, retired under fire eight days after the shootings in Parkland Feb. 14. Sun-Sentinel.
Charter schools: Sarasota County School Board members deny an application from a controversial charter school company. The plan to put Pinecrest Academy in the Palmer Ranch area drew an organized protest from people who criticized Academica, the management company behind the charter school. Board members framed their decision on the larger issue of public education’s future, and also made the distinction between Miami-based Academica and the homegrown charters already in the county. “I don’t think it’s a good use of our tax dollars to turn it around and give it to a for-profit company that’s out of the county,” said board member Shirley Brown. The company is expected to appeal the decision to the state appeals commission. A second charter school application, for the K-5 Dreamers Academy with an English-Spanish immersion program, was withdrawn. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. redefinED. After 22 years of operation, the Escambia Charter School is closing at the end of the school year. The school in Gonzalez has struggled financially for years because of declining enrollment, according to school district officials. WEAR. WKRG. NorthEscambia.com.
School board term limits: A proposal to limit terms for school board members is among the 103 changes to the state constitution that the Florida Constitution Revision Commission will begin considering Monday. Fourteen education-related proposals have been filed. Twenty-two of the 37 commission members have to approve proposals to put them on the November 2018 ballot. Then, 60 percent of voters would have to vote for the changes to put them into effect. The commission has until May 10 to finish voting on the proposals. News Service of Florida. WFSU.
Fighting end of TPS: Educators in south Florida vow to fight the Trump administration’s decision to end the temporary protected status for 60,000 Haitians who fled the island after a 2010 earthquake. About 20 percent of them are enrolled in the Miami-Dade school system. TPS for the Haitians would end in July 2019. WPLG. WSVN. WTVJ.
Bright Futures: Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, says he agrees with the bulk of the higher education agenda of Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, including the portion of the bill that would provide $77 million to restore 75 percent funding for Medallion scholars, the second level of the Bright Futures program. Politico Florida.
Charter appeals rejection: A charter school company is appealing the Marion County School Board’s decision to deny its application to open a school. Charter Educational Foundation Inc., which operates Charter Schools USA’s schools, asked the board for permission to open the 745-student Southeast Marion Charter Academy. The board decided the proposal offered nothing new or innovative, and denied it. The charter group is appealing that decision to the state. Ocala Star-Banner.
Homework fight: Miami-Dade teachers and parents spar at a school board meeting over the amount of homework students are being given. Parents say too much is being assigned, cutting into family time. Teachers say the homework is needed because testing takes too much instruction time away from students. Miami Herald.
Testing transformation: Pinellas County school officials say younger students at struggling elementary schools are doing much better in new literacy tests than students in third, fourth and fifth grades. The differences are most apparent on language arts tests. Officials credit the use of biweekly tests, which are helping teachers see how well they’ve taught to the state standards and to catch students’ weaknesses earlier. Tampa Bay Times.
Spending oversight: The Broward County School District is asking the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education to oversee the district’s spending of $800 million it is receiving from a voter-approved bond to renovate schools. Sun-Sentinel.
Students from Cuba: The Miami-Dade County School District is preparing for a “potential influx of child and adult learners” emigrating from Cuba after the death of Fidel Castro on Friday, says Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. CNN.
Education secretary: Betsy DeVos, a strong advocate of school choice with deep Florida ties, is nominated to be President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of education. redefinED. News Talk Florida. Politico Florida. Education Week. Groups that oppose the Common Core school standards are unhappy with the selection of DeVos as education secretary, even though she is now saying she does not support the standards. Sunshine State News. What will education in Florida look like with Donald Trump as president? Tampa Bay Times.