School security: Hillsborough County school officials may consider using the district’s own security staffers, who are not sworn law enforcement officers, to comply with the new state law requiring an armed officer in every school. They and Sheriff Chad Chronister had rejected considering the guardian program in the new state law, but a $16 million shortfall in security funding is forcing the cash-strapped district to look at all options. “We’re having those conversations and reviewing every aspect of this law to know how we implement it, ensure safety at every one of our campuses and come as close to in-budget as possible,” says Superintendent Jeff Eakins. Tampa Bay Times. Treasure Island, a small coastal town in Pinellas County, has 450 school-age children but no schools. Still, its police department is working with the district to lend a few officers to help meet the requirements of the new state law. Gradebook. More school officers and security measures are on the way to Wellington schools but the process will take time, residents are told by school and law enforcement officials at a town meeting. Palm Beach Post. The Parkland school shooting has prompted other states to re-evaluate their school security. Gradebook.
District hiring freeze: The Pasco County School District implements a freeze on all hiring and new purchases. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis, says Superintendent Kurt Browning. District officials are trying to conserve money to help pay for unanticipated expenses, such as placing a resource officer in every school. Gradebook.
Charter school ties: The wives of two of the Legislature’s strongest supporters of charter schools and choice are on charter school boards that hope to open schools in 2019 in Leon and Martin counties. Anne Corcoran, wife of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, who founded a charter school, is helping with a proposed school in Tallahassee. Erika Donalds, wife of Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples, is helping a group trying to open a school in Martin County. Neither is being paid, and both say they see no conflict of interest. Committees in the two counties have recommended their school districts approve the schools’ applications. Gradebook.