Florida roundup: charter schools, school grades, a Civil War general & more

Charter schools. Parents at the now-defunct Ben Gamla charter school tell Pinellas Superintendent Mike Grego that they’re unhappy with its closing. Gradebook. Gainesville’s oldest charter school goes to a year-round schedule. Gainesville Sun. A new charter in Hillsborough will serve high school students with disabilities. Tampa Tribune.

florida roundup logoTax credit scholarships. SchoolZone writes up the state report that shows rapid growth in the tax credit scholarship program (which is administered by Step Up For Students, which co-hosts this blog).

Virtual schools. WGCU: ” ‘What the state has done is actually made a cut to education and disguised is as an operating protocol for virtual students.’ ”

Standards. In 2011, Florida’s proficiency bars in reading and math, relative to NAEP, don’t stand out as particularly high, according to a new analysis. Education Next.

Mentors. Can boost FCAT scores, and groups like 100 Black Men of Orlando are heeding the call. Onyx.

School spending. Once again, the Palm Beach County School District’s audit committee wants to know why so many schools have “money handling problems.” Palm Beach Post. A new Orange County principal was demoted from his former job in Palm Beach County because he used a school credit card for $6,400 in questionable charges, including a $200 dinner with his wife at a Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Orlando Sentinel. Flagler cuts its budget by another $1.1 million because “staff budgeted too high for this year.” Daytona Beach News Journal.

School grades. Escambia Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says so many changes so fast to the school grading formula has been “unbearable.” Pensacola News Journal.

School names. Duval Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says he would support renaming Nathan Bedford Forrest High School – named after a Civil War general and grand wizard of the KKK – but only if the proposal was put forth by the public. Florida Times Union.

Community colleges. St. Petersburg College boosted its number of associate degrees 14 percent between 2010-11 and 2011-12, to 4,019. Tampa Bay Times.

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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.