Teachers union challenging state’s order in court, more school start delays, reopening plans and more
Scholarships review: Florida’s most disadvantaged students continue to make solid academic gains through use of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program, according to the latest annual evaluation of standardized test results released by the Florida Department of Education. Students on scholarships were “relatively more disadvantaged and lower-performing prior to entering the … program,” concluded the researchers from the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University, yet once on the scholarship, the students “maintain his or her relative position in comparison with all students nationally in both reading and math.” Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog, helps administer the tax credit program, which is the largest in the country, as well as Gardiner, Hope and reading scholarship programs. redefinED.
Video ordered released: An appeals court rules that a surveillance video showing how law enforcement officers responded during the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 is a public record and should be released by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in the next 48 hours. News organizations argued for the release, while the Broward state attorney’s office argued against it because it’s part of an ongoing criminal investigation. “Parents have such a high stake in the ultimate decisions that they must have access to camera video footage here at issue and not blindly rely on school board experts to make decisions for them,” the 4th District Court of Appeal judges wrote. Associated Press. Sun-Sentinel.
Charter schools: Florida charter schools could get an extra $96.3 million from school districts that will now have to share the tax money they collect for capital projects, according to Florida House estimates. That’s nearly 7 percent of the money school districts could have after debt service is subtracted, as H.B. 7069 stipulates. The $96.3 million is a maximum estimate, says Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah. Charter schools need to meet certain academic and financial standards and have been operating for two or more years to be eligible for the money. Miami-Dade and Broward will be among the districts hardest hit in sheer dollars, but tiny Sumter and Franklin counties will have the highest percentages of shared dollars, at 33 and 24 percent, respectively. Miami Herald. Manatee and Sarasota counties are two of the counties that will have share higher percentages of their capital funding with charter schools under the new education law. Sarasota is third in the state at 13.54 percent, and Manatee is 11th at 9.26 percent. Manatee School Superintendent Diana Greene says the district will continue with plans to build three new schools, but the law could have an impact on smaller projects. Bradenton Herald. Wayman Academy of the Arts is one of five charter schools in Duval County to earn an A grade from the state this year. The school, which draws its students from a poor neighborhood in Jacksonville, now has received every possible grade from the state in its 17-year existence. Florida Times-Union.
District hacked: The St. Lucie County School District’s Twitter account was hacked last week, and several racially charged messages were posted and stayed online for more than nine hours before being removed. The cyberattack was just one of several against school districts around the United States, according to St. Lucie School Superintendent Wayne Gent. School officials are unhappy with the difficulty they had contacting Twitter and its response time. “It took way too long,” Gent said. “It should’ve been done immediately.” TCPalm.
Fighting failure: As the 2016-2017 school year began, another first year of a rebuilding process began at Fairmount Park Elementary School. It had a new principal, new and inexperienced teachers, and a history of failure. Fairmount is located in a poor St. Petersburg neighborhood and in 2014, was one of five city elementary schools labeled a “failure factory.” But this year it had a plan, and better resources, and hope. Tampa Bay Times.