Florida roundup: Charter schools, competition, district spending & more

Charter schools. The Tampa Tribune writes up the latest report on charter laws from the National Association of Public Charter Schools and quotes Robert Haag, president and CEO of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools: “You want choices for your child’s education, just like anything else in life. You don’t want to be stuck just going to Publix. You want to be able to go to Winn-Dixie or Whole Foods or any of those places.”flroundup2

The Pembroke Pines charter school system is battling the Broward school district for funding, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. An F-rated charter middle school in Orlando plans to ask the Orange County school district for designation as an alternative school, which wouldn’t be graded, reports SchoolZone. The Orlando Sentinel editorial board doesn’t like the idea of more construction money for charter schools – or the possibility of a parent trigger.

School spending. The Manatee school district’s Fitch bond rating is downgraded from stable to negative, reports the Bradenton Herald. The district posts thousands of documents from the forensic audit into a $3.4 million deficit, the Herald also reports. The documents show a school board member forced former superintendent Tim McGonegal to resign after he learned of the deficit, reports the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Following Florida: Nevada should adopt Florida’s ed reforms, particularly its expansion of school choice options, says this op-ed in Nevada Business Magazine.

Rick Scott. As the governor woos teachers, the Tea Party scratches its head. Tampa Bay Times.

Exposed, again! Another news outlet gives space to the Jeb Bush corporate-connections-conspiracy story.

Teacher evaluations. The Tampa Bay Times offers an update on the Gates-funded effort in Hillsborough. A Flagler teacher will focus on teacher evaluations as a fellow with the Hope Street Group, a national public policy outfit, reports the Daytona Beach News Journal.

ESE. The Times profiles a parent activist in Hillsborough.

Testing. The FCAT is being phased out, but new tests are coming. TCPalm.com.

School grades. Sarasota High celebrates its first A in 12 years. Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Dropouts. Finding them and encouraging their return to school is a good trend, writes Tampa Bay Times columnist Bill Maxwell.

Career academies. Pinellas is considering whether to expand current programs or create new ones with a Ford Motor Company grant, reports the Tampa Tribune.

More on Race to the Top progress. Gradebook.

Superintendents. Five finalists in Hernando. Tampa Bay Times.

Going to college. About 800 Polk County middle school students visit Southeastern College. Lakeland Ledger.

School security. The Flagler school district will consider additional school resource officers and other measures, reports the Daytona Beach News Journal. Police and paramedics rush to a Volusia elementary school in response to reports of kids snorting something that turns out to be … candy, the News Journal also reports.

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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.