Florida schools roundup: Charter schools, Florida Virtual, Common Core & more

Charter schools: A new Broward County charter school with 60 students closes after school leaders fail to pay rent. Sun Sentinel. Rapper Pitbull is the latest in a long list of celebrities lending their star power to open a charter school, this one in Miami. NPR. In a divided vote, the Sarasota County School Board approves a new charter, granting permission for the district’s largest charter school to expand. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Choice: Pasco schools look to expand educational options for students and parents with more blended-learning classrooms and diploma programs. Tampa Bay Times.

Virtual Ed: Florida Virtual School’s 2-year-old trademark infringement lawsuit against K-12, Inc. heads to the state Supreme Court. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher pay: “Florida teachers deserve a salary increase, and they should have the benefit of knowing their new salary level as soon as possible so they can best plan their future,” Gov. Rick Scott tells school districts in a letter. Palm Beach Post.

Common Core: A public meeting in Tampa to debate the new standards draws about 200 people, including well-known opponent Sandra Stotsky, a former Massachusetts education official now affiliated with the University of Arkansas. Orlando Sentinel.  More from StateImpact Florida, The Ledger, The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. florida-roundup-logoThe state Board of Education opts not to adopt the reading samples associated with the new national benchmarks as well as the student writing samples and suggestions on how to structure math classes. Miami Herald. Board members struggle with what to call the standards. StateImpact Florida. The state Department of Education communication plans for standards avoids referring to them as Common Core. The Florida Current. Common Core 101, from StateImpact Florida. The standards do not constitute a curriculum, but they lay out general education principles and skills students should master at different grade levels. The Hechinger Report.

Safety net: Florida is going to keep in place a controversial safety net provision for the state’s school grading system. The Ledger. More from the News Service of Florida.

School spending: The Broward school district’s attempt to outsource much of its facilities department — a move designed to restore credibility — has instead raised new questions. Miami Herald. The Manatee County School District changes the way it pays for substitute teachers. Bradenton Herald. The Manatee school district pays $8,000 to a former district employee to coach the new director of communications,  who earns $90,000. Bradenton Herald.

Outsourcing: Miami-Dade County school bus drivers protest the board’s vote to study a plan to outsource the district’s $69 million transportation system. Miami Herald.

School boards: Clay County’s superintendent and the district’s school board members clash over an American Exceptionalism  conference. Florida Times-Union. Hernando school board members want problem students to stick out the year at their choice or magnet school instead of having to return to their home school. Tampa Bay Times.

Healthy lunches: Leon County schools sees a payoff in its effort to make school lunches more nutritious. Tallahassee Democrat.

Life lessons: About 10 Brevard County students with intellectual disabilities, from Down syndrome to autism, are running a coffee stand at the North Brevard Government Complex to help them learn critical life skills. Florida Today.

Cell towers: The Collier County School Board gives parents who object to a cell phone tower at a local elementary school three weeks to convince Sprint to move it. Naples Daily News.

Graduations: Pinellas County high schools plan for indoor graduations to escape uncertain weather. Tampa Bay Times.

AP tests: More Hernando County students are taking Advanced Placement courses, but fewer are passing the exams. Tampa Bay Times.

Conduct: The former director of Escambia County Schools Food Services says she is shocked to find herself at the center of a critical internal audit by the school district. Pensacola News-Journal. A fired Hillsborough County middle school assistant principal wins his case for back pay. The Tampa Tribune. The Polk County sheriff’s office charges two teens in the death of an 11-year-old girl who was cyberbullied. Orlando Sentinel.

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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.