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Florida roundup: Bullets on buses, STEM pitch, school district marketing & more

More on school security in Newtown aftermath. Miami Herald. South Florida Sun Sentinel. Orlando Sentinel. Florida Times Union. Florida Today. Pensacola News Journal. In Pinellas, rumors of coming violence prompt Superintendent Mike Grego to email principals, and in Hillsborough, bullets on buses, reports Tampa Bay Times here and here.

School district image. A review by an outside agency suggests the Palm Beach County school district needs to a better job communicating and marketing itself, according to the Palm Beach Post. (As far as I know, no response yet from either the district or the Post to this EAG report last week on questionable district spending.)

Van Zant
Van Zant

More school district image. The Clay County School Board approves the hiring of a second public relations officer – a family friend and supporter of new Superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr., reports the Florida Times Union.

Superintendent search. In Polk. Lakeland Ledger.

STEM. It’ll take guts and resources for state education leaders to finally make science education a priority, writes FSU physics professor Paul Cottle in this op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel.

Charter teacher pay. Trustees for Lake Wales Charter Schools want better pay and benefits to retain teachers, reports the News Chief.

Can’t fire her. The Sarasota school district loses its third bid to fire a teacher found not guilty of abusing developmentally disabled students, reports the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Teacher evals. Alachua County teachers raise their concerns at a forum with three lawmakers, reports the Gainesville Sun.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at