Florida roundup: Gifted students, cyberbullying, teacher pay cuts & more

Tax hike: Seminole County schools Superintendent Walt Griffin says his district needs another 1-mill tax on county property to pay for a slew of school improvements. Orlando Sentinel.

florida roundup logoDigital divide: Over the next few years, computers will play an even bigger role in public education. StateImpact Florida.

Summer lunch: And breakfast at more than a dozen South Florida schools that will keep their kitchens open to serve needy children. Miami Herald.

Jewish schools: A coalition of Jewish leaders is advocating for policies that help ease the financial burden on private school parents. SaintPetersBlog.

Overage students: Superintendent Nikolai Vitti will ask board members to OK a plan that increases  the number of schools offering classes to overage students. Florida Times-Union.

Teacher turnover: In Florida, four out of 10 new teachers leave their jobs within the first five  years. In Duval County, it’s about five  out of 10, according to a recent study. Florida Times-Union.

Lessons learned: Manatee County schools suffered the brunt of lax accounting and archaic budgeting software, but a citizens advisory group stands behind the new superintendent. Bradenton Herald. Manatee school board member and budget committee chairwoman Julie Aranibar looks back on troubled year. StateImpact Florida.

Gifted students: More than 10 percent of Miami-Dade County’s students are labeled gifted students. Miami Herald. Although school districts test children for free to determine if they are gifted students, many parents turn to outside psychologists, instead. Miami Herald.

Education shift: Five retiring teachers reflect on the changing landscape in public education. Ledger.

Portables: Broward looks to spend millions to get rid of 1,180 portable classrooms older than 20 years. Sun-Sentinel.

Arrested: Royal Palm Beach High assistant principal arrested in prostitution sting. Palm Beach Post.

Scholarships: Four Hillsborough County seniors win Red Pittman Scholarship. Tampa Tribune.

Budget cuts: The Pembroke Pines Charter System projects a $2.4 million budget shortfall for the 2013-14 school year and has no money for contracted raises for 330 teachers. Sun-Sentinel. Manatee officials say they’ll work to get kilns running again at Manatee High. Bradenton Herald.

FCAT: South Florida’s students perform as well or better than last year in most every field tested, but schools and teachers likely to be judged more harshly as Florida moves toward more rigorous standards. Miami Herald. And students aren’t making  the kind of gains they should be, educators say. Tampa Tribune. Education Commissioner Tony Bennett calls the results unacceptable and suggests the state has lost focus on reading and math. Tampa Bay Times. More from Orlando SentinelSarasota Herald-Tribune and Palm Beach Post.

BP and schools: Volusia County school district official says the BP oil spill had a clear impact on state revenue, decreasing state dollars that could have gone toward education funding. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Grads: Service, technology and international pursuits are on the minds of Hillsborough’s seniors. Tampa Tribune. A contest glitch results in car giveaways for two Hillsborough seniors. Tampa Tribune. 211 seniors are the first graduates of Weeki Wachee High. Tampa Bay Times.

Bullying: New law gives school districts the right to discipline students for cyberbullying outside school, if the student’s school life is impacted. Florida Times-Union.

Tolerance: Parents start a petition after a principal criticizes their son for wearing makeup to school. Tampa Bay Times.

Charter schools: Large charter organizations draw criticism for impact on public education. St. Augustine Record.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.