Florida schools roundup: virtual schools, teacher conduct, tutors & more

Virtual schools. Lawmakers open online learning to more providers, including private interests, reports the Miami Herald. StateImpact Florida and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting obtain internal emails and a recording of a K12 Inc. company meeting that they say shed light on questionable company practices involving teachers who are not properly certified.

florida roundup logoStruggling schools. The Broward school district will overhaul five struggling schools by closing some and revamping others, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Principals are key to turning around five struggling Pinellas schools, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Tutors. The Tampa Bay Times looks at the last-minute legislative scrap over whether to continue state-mandated tutoring for low-income kids.

Private schools. Voters in Palmetto Bay will get to vote on whether a local Montessori can expand. Miami Herald.

Rick Scott. Teacher pay raise tour comes to an end, reports the Tampa Bay TimesWill it get him any votes? asks the Palm Beach Post.

Teacher pay. State money for teacher raises complicates Pasco’s budget problems, reports the Tampa Bay Times. PolitiFact: In attacking Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant gets it wrong.

Teacher conduct. The Tampa Bay Times runs a Slate piece, “What’s the worst thing a teacher ever said to you.” It also posts this viral video of a Texas student calling out a teacher. A former teacher of the year in Orange is fired after a teacher conduct investigation determines he had sex with a student, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Teachers. A former teacher creates a “portable teaching enterprise” to get students psyched about science. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher’s assistants. Little pay and a lot of responsibility. Orlando Sentinel.

School safety. The Palm Beach County school district plans to spend $1.6 million to pay for 24 more police officers at elementary schools. Palm Beach Post.

School spending. Two Lake County school remodeling projects are running $3 million over budget, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Panhandle school districts like what they see with funding increases from the Legislature, reports the Northwest Florida Daily News.

School leadership. The superintendent’s pending departure and school board infighting is causing a lot of tension in Lee. Naples Daily News.

School grades. Like other districts, Leon warns parents that grades may drop this year due to tougher accountability rules. Tallahassee Democrat.

PTA. The PTA at a Broward County elementary school is shut down by the county council after an audit finds its volunteer members paid themselves $9,000. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Privatization. The Volusia school board moves another step closer to outsourcing custodial services. Daytona Beach News 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.