Florida schools roundup: Rick Scott, Tony Bennett, charter schools & more

Rick Scott: Florida’s governor is in the middle of a tug-of-war over education that could reshape the state’s schools while also turning upside down the 2016 presidential race. Associated Press.

florida-roundup-logoTony Bennett: Sunshine State News reports that it was Tony Bennett’s successor in Indiana, Glenda Ritz, formerly head of the teachers union in Washington Township schools, who turned over Bennett’s emails to the Associated Press.

Charter schools: Palm Beach County school district officials recommend the board approve a 90-day termination notice for two iGeneration Empowerment Academy schools after a last-minute location change and a host of fire code problems. Palm Beach Post. McKeel Academy schools in Polk County give up making their own meals in favor of a food service company’s healthy offerings. The Ledger. After two Fs, Imagine Middle School in Pinellas County asks the state for a waiver to stay open. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher raises: About 100 Orange County teachers frustrated by the slow pace of bargaining over raises crowd into a school board meeting to encourage board members to “fund what you value.” Orlando Sentinel.

9/11: Four Duval County high school seniors in a Junior ROTC class share memories of the terrorists attacks. Florida Times-Union.

Dropouts: The Orange County school district tries a new dropout prevention program that has officials knocking on parents’ doors and re-registers 224 students. Orlando Sentinel. The No. 1 reason students drop out of high school? Classes aren’t interesting. Orlando Sentinel.

Contamination: At least four Miami-Dade public schools will have soil samples tested for contamination from an old city incinerator. Miami Herald.

50th anniversary: Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, a private Catholic high school for girls in South Miami-Dade, opened 50 years ago in two rooms and today serves 824 students. Miami Herald.

Teachers: Many new teachers feel overwhelmed because they are often assigned to the most difficult schools. StateImpact Florida’s continuing series, Classroom Contemplations, looks at one teacher who left her school to work with death row inmates.

Bullying: A 12-year-old Lakeland girl is found dead in what her family is calling an apparent suicide after she endured more than a year of online bullying. The Ledger. A 13-year-old Polk County student starts a nonprofit organization in reaction to the bullying he endured because of his diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome, and garners national attention. The Ledger.

Budgets: The Polk County School Board approves a $758.3 million general fund budget focused on student achievement, struggling readers, Common Core curriculum standards, and low-performing schools. The Ledger. The Lee County School Board OKs a $1.3 billion budget for the 2013-14 school year. Fort Myers News-Press. The Pinellas County School Board unanimously approves a $1.3 billion budget for 2013-14 that includes pay raises for teachers and a smaller tax rate for property owners. Tampa Bay Times.

Cell towers: Collier County school board members hear from concerned citizens about a cell phone tower planned for a local elementary. Naples Daily News.

Technology: An Escambia County high school is the recipient of 40 new computers donated in honor of a pioneering principal. Pensacola News Journal. For the first time, Hillsborough County public school students can – with permission from their teachers – use personal devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops in the classroom. The Tampa Tribune.

Conduct: A Hillsborough County high school student faces a weapons charge after he shows a gun to a classmate. The Tampa Tribune.

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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.