Florida schools roundup: Education bill, hiring delay, success penalty and more

Education bill: The First Amendment Foundation joins those calling for Gov. Rick Scott to veto the education bill. President Barbara Petersen says the group objects to the process, which she called “secretive.” And the Florida Association of School Administrators joins associations representing teachers, superintendents and school boards in urging Scott to veto the bill. Meanwhile, Scott is still offering no hints on what he might do with the budget or education bills once he gets them. Florida Politics. Politico Florida. Lakeland Ledger. Sunshine State NewsSarasota Herald-Tribune. News Service of Florida. The Legislature sends 26 bills to Gov. Scott, but not the overall budget or the education budget. Politico Florida.

Expansion delayed: A Martin County School District plan to add eight administrative positions, at a cost of almost $417,000 a year, is on hold until the school board understands how it will affect teacher salaries. The board did approve the rest of Superintendent Laurie Gaylord’s proposed reorganization of staff. TCPalm.

Punished for success: The Citrus County School District and Boys & Girls Clubs of Citrus County discovers they’re ineligible for a grant for after-school programs because the district’s schools are too successful. Only schools that receive state grades of D or F are eligible for the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century grant, which would have added tutoring, art and athletics to after-school programs at the schools. All Citrus schools received A or B grades from the state. Citrus County Chronicle.

Spelling bee begins: The 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee begins today in Washington, D.C., with 291 students competing. Today. National Spelling Bee. Associated Press. 538.com.

School impact fees: The Bay Area Apartment Association says the new plan to raise money to build schools in Pasco County is unfair to apartment building owners, and urges the school district instead to ask for a new sales tax. The request was denied by the Pasco Development Review Committee, which is forwarding the school district’s plan to the county commission. The district is asking for higher impact fees on new home construction to raise $121 million for new schools over the next 10 years. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher turnover: About 170 teachers and staff of the Bay County School Districts will not have their contracts renewed. While that number is about the same as it was last year, the number of nonrenewals due to licensing issues has skyrocketed from 7 last year to 34 this year. Panama City News Herald.

Dress codes: Two schools that tightened their dress codes for students a year ago have come to different conclusions about the effectiveness of the experiment. Hudson Elementary, which required uniforms, is asking that the program be renewed. Ridgewood High School, which very specifically detailed what could and couldn’t be worn in class, will return to the standard dress code in the fall. Gradebook.

New school: The Bay County School Board hires an architect to design the proposed Beach Elementary School. Superintendent Bill Husfelt says the project hinges on what happens with the Legislature’s education bill. A cap on spending for new school construction is scheduled to take effect June 30, which would kill the project, but the new bill could provide an opening to build the school, Husfelt says. Panama City News Herald.

Graduation spending: Spending for graduation gifts is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Florida Politics.

Reading tests: Charlotte County third-graders improve their performance on the Florida Standards Assessments reading tests, with 66 percent passing with a Level 3 score or higher. That’s 9 percentage points higher than the number who passed last year. Charlotte Sun.

Personnel moves: Clay County School Superintendent Addison Davis names 12 new school principals. Florida Times-Union. Darlene Lebo is chosen to be the new principal at St. Petersburg High School. Lebo, 48, has been assistant principal at the school. Robert Gagnon was the original choice, but his name was withdrawn after a news story detailed an incident in another county 20 years ago. Gradebook.

Student killed: A Deerfield High School senior dies in a car crash on prom night. Taletrius “T.J.” Bradley, 19, died when he lost control of the car and it flipped. A 17-year-old passenger was critically injured. Sun Sentinel.

School employee arrested: A Pinellas County School District employee is arrested for leaving his two children, ages 9 and 3, alone for 24 hours. Joshua Ladrice Roundtree, 28, who works with the Lakewood High School band, is charged with child neglect. School officials say Roundtree won’t be back at the school before the court case is completed. Tampa Bay Times. WFLA.

Opinions on schools: Florida is facing a high stakes budget standoff. Sun Sentinel. Florida would be better off if the governor were to take a scalpel, not an ax, to the proposed state budget, vetoing line items instead of the entire document. Orlando Sentinel. House Bill 7069 is a concoction of education reforms thrown into a blender in the waning days of the 2017 legislative session and pureed largely out of public view. What’s unfortunate about the blend is that it has some good ingredients. However, fold in a couple of bad apples, a bottle of sunscreen and a No. 2 pencil, then seemingly the best answer may be to start over. Naples Daily News. Dropping the value-added measurement from teacher evaluations would help the state recruit and retain teachers. Paul Cottle, Bridge to Tomorrow.

Student enrichment: Thirteen teens from the Lake Worth Youth Empowerment Center, will pitch their business ideas in a Shark Tank-like presentation to elected officials, business owners and community leaders. Palm Beach Post. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services presents Loughman Oaks Elementary with a Golden Shovel Award for best new school garden. Lakeland Ledger. Nine Manatee County eighth-graders graduate from a “Just for Girls,” an alternative education program that gives girls who have fallen behind academically or emotionally a second chance. Bradenton Herald. Students at University Academy’s Rock and Roll Academy finish their class project by having their original song recorded. Panama City News Herald. A team of students from the Academy of Environmental Science wins the State Envirothon. The students now compete in the national event July 23-29 in Emmitsburg, Md. Citrus County Chronicle.

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BY NextSteps staff