Florida roundup: Charter schools, magnet schools, teacher conduct & more

Charter school attendance. The Palm Beach County school district plans to bring in a computer program to better track charter school attendance after one school overstated its numbers. Extra Credit blog.

“Magnet mania.” Duval puts on its first School Choice Expo. First Coast News.

ESA debate resurfacing? Gradebook.

schoolfunding2Please raise our taxes. Some Brevard parents, upset about proposed school closures, are lobbying the school board to hold a special election to raise taxes. Florida Today. (Image from kceducationenterprise.org)

More school security. School districts will ask lawmakers for more money this year to beef up security in the wake of Newtown, the News Service of Florida reports. Its video interview with FSBA executive director Wayne Blanton here. Reactions range to a Lake County school board member’s proposal to arm teachers with guns, reports the Orlando Sentinel. More school safety coverage from the Fort Myers News Press, Naples Daily News, Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Pattern of behavior. Tampa Bay Times: “A Pinellas teacher accused of downloading child pornography on his home computer has a peculiar history of complaints against him, including allegations that he exchanged inappropriate emails with a young girl, according to records from the Pinellas County School District.”

Falling apart. A citizens group chronicles deteriorating building conditions in two Broward high schools that serve predominantly minority students. Miami Herald.

Cell phone waste. An audit finds $117,000 worth over two years in the Palm Beach district. Palm Beach Post.

Rick Scott. Visits an elementary school in Volusia. Daytona Beach News Journal.

Tony Bennett. Starts work Monday. SchoolZone.

StudentsFirst report card. Jacksonville Business Journal.

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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 rmatus@stepupforstudents.org or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at facebook.com/redefinedonline.