Florida schools roundup: Virtual school, ACT scores, Tony Bennett & more

District app: The Broward County school district redesigns its website to make it more parent-friendly, adding a mobile app and translating into more than 40 languages. Sun Sentinel.

florida-roundup-logoVirtual school: The Palm Beach County School Board plans to urge state lawmakers to repeal a new funding approach that slashed dollars for the state-run Florida Virtual School. Palm Beach Post.

District vs. charter: Palm Beach County’s L.C. Swain Middle School opens a medical sciences academy and plans a pre-law academy to help the district compete with charter school offerings. Extra Credit.

Charter schools: Sarasota County School Board members say the district has been too generous with charter school funding and needs stricter rules over the process. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Tony Bennett: The latest Whiteboard Advisors’ survey looks at the departure of the former Florida education commissioner and the impact on Common Core, PARCC and other issues. StateImpact Florida.

College ready: A new report finds only 19 percent of Florida’s class of 2013 scored “college-ready” on all four ACT exams — English, math, reading and science. Orlando Sentinel.

Illegal passing: A one day survey shows Orange County drivers illegally passed school buses loading or unloading children 1,851 times. Statewide, 11,684 violations were noted. Orlando Sentinel.

Back pay: The Broward County school district owes its teachers $20 million for teaching an extra period last school year, but wants 20 years to repay the debt. Miami Herald.

New year: The stakes are especially high at four Hillsborough County schools that got F grades this year from the state. Tampa Bay Times.

Bus tangle: Polk County’s new school bus routes didn’t go over so well on the first day of school. The Ledger.

Common Core: StateImpact Florida asks teachers if they feel ready for the new education standards, among other questions. “Common Core gives us an opportunity to simplify the grading system and produce better outcomes for all children,” writes Phil Handy, a board member of Foundation for Florida’s Future. Tampa Bay Times.

Pre-K: Duval County opens 89 pre-kindergarten classrooms to help boost early learning. Florida Times-Union.

Needy: With more than half of all Southwest Florida students classified as “economically needy,” local businesses and community organizations help provide basic classroom necessities. Naples Daily News.

Conduct: A Manatee County high school teacher and a coach are disciplined for making sexual comments to students. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. An Anclote High School teacher is suspended with pay after being arrested on fraudulent credit card use charges. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher pay: Escambia County school leaders approve raises for substitute teachers. Pensacola News Journal. Wakulla County Schools agrees to distribute teacher pay raises championed by Gov. Rick Scott. Tallahassee Democrat.

On education: Teachers, not the FCAT, educate students, writes columnist Shannon Nickinson for the Pensacola News Journal.

School VIP: Hillsborough County School Board member Doretha Edgecomb still gets caught up in the first day excitement. The Tampa Tribune.

Pay back: The Manatee County school district begins repaying money taken from individual schools’ internal accounts during budget crisis. Bradenton Herald.

Paycheck: Pasco schools Superintendent Kurt Browning begins drawing a salary after a year of forgoing it. Tampa Bay Times.

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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.