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Florida schools roundup: Tax measures pass, school board elections and more

Tax measures approved: Several school districts around the state asked voters Tuesday to approve tax increases for schools. Here are the results: More than 83 percent of Orange County voters approve a renewal of a special property tax to help pay for teacher raises and to maintain academic, arts and sports programs. Orlando Sentinel. Voters in Broward County approve a boost in property taxes for teacher raises of 6 percent, school security and counseling. Sun-Sentinel. Lake County voters okay a property tax hike for school security and mental health services. Daily Commercial. Marion County voters overwhelmingly renew a tax that will pay for school safety, educational programs and more teachers and staff. Ocala Star-Banner. Voters in Clay County agree to raise property taxes to help pay for school security. Florida Times-Union. WJXT. Martin County voters approve a half-mill increase in property taxes for teacher bonuses, and more school guards, mental-health services and professional development. TCPalm. Monroe County voters back a new property tax to pay for better security in schools. WLRN. A renewal of a half-cent sales tax for schools through 2030 is approved by Bay County voters. Panama City News Herald.

School board elections: School board elections also are held around the state. Some seats are won outright, while runoffs will be needed to decide others. One of the winners is Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa died in the Feb. 14 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. Other results: Miami-Dade County. Broward County. Palm Beach County. Orange CountyOrange County School Board chair. Florida Times-Union. Hillsborough County District 1Hillsborough District 2. Hillsborough District 4. Hillsborough District 6. Pinellas County District 2. Pinellas District 3. Pinellas District 6. Pinellas District 7Seminole County. Lake County. Manatee County. Sarasota CountyCollier CountyLee County. Charlotte CountyLeon CountyAlachua County. Marion County. Citrus CountyMonroe County District 4. Volusia County. Flagler County. St. Johns County. Clay CountyMartin County. Indian River County District 1Indian River District 2. Indian River District 4. St. Lucie County District 1. St. Lucie District 3. St. Lucie District 5Pasco County District 3. Pasco County District 5. Pasco County District 1. Polk CountyHernando County District 1. Hernando District 3Hernando District 5. Brevard CountyEscambia County. Santa Rosa County. Okaloosa County. Bay County.

Amendments challenge: The Florida Supreme Court rejects a request from former chief justice Harry Lee Anstead to hear oral arguments against six proposed constitutional amendments, including Amendment 8, which deals with education issues. Anstead and former elections commissioner Robert Barnas argued that the amendments are unconstitutionally bundled, which prevents voters from a yes or no vote. The Supreme Court justices sent the case back to the Leon County Circuit Court. Amendment 8 would set term limits for school board members, require civics education in schools and create an entity other than local school boards that can approve charter and public schools. News Service of FloridaGradebook. Florida Phoenix.

More school security wanted: Almost two-thirds of Floridians say the hiring of more armed guards for schools is a welcome step for security but is not enough, according to a Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey. Almost 66 percent of respondents say the new state law requiring guards at all schools “good first step, but more needs to be done.” About 12 percent say the law is sufficient, and 13 percent say the legislation was not needed. “The prevailing message from respondents is that schools can never be too safe,” says Polling Institute director Frank Orlando. Gradebook. Citrus County School Board chairman Doug Dodd wants the board to consider arming some school employees, but not teachers, to help protect students and schools. Citrus County Chronicle.

More trouble for principal: Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says a Manatee County principal broke the law when he recommended a teacher under investigation for sexual misconduct for a job in another district. Eddie Hundley, principal at Lincoln Memorial Academy, could be disciplined by the state. Manatee interim superintendent Cynthia Saunders says because Lincoln is a charter school, its board would have to discipline Hundley. Bradenton HeraldSarasota Herald-Tribune.

Charter vo-tech: Port St. Lucie officials are worried that the St. Lucie County School Board is going to reject a charter vocational education high school the city wants to develop. If that happens, they say, the school opening would be delayed at least a year. School board members have questioned the need for the school. If they reject it, charter officials can appeal to the state. TCPalm.

Teacher shortage: The Lake County School District holds an online job fair to try to hire 11 teachers for Beverly Shores Elementary School. The school has been using substitute teachers. Online job fairs are one of the relatively new tactics the district is trying to counter the teacher shortage. Orlando Sentinel.

School board accused: A complaint of unethical behavior has been lodged by a citizen against the Jefferson County School Board and some of its members. The complaint alleges board members are showing unprofessional behavior toward speakers from the audience at board meetings. The state Department of Education responded that it’s not in their jurisdiction to investigate unethical behavior. ECB Publishing.

Lunches paid in full: Rapper T.I. pays for lunch for the whole school year for a Volusia County student who was recently denied her meal one day because she was 15 cents short. The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., gave the 15-year-old girl $1,000. Miami Herald. Orlando Sentinel.

Ex-coach admits abuse: A former Lakeland Kathleen High School football coach admits in a lawsuit against the Polk County School Board that he twisted a player’s nipple in 2011. Irving Strickland lost his job in July after letting his teacher certification expire. The former player, Devarus Robinson, and his family are suing the board for negligence. Lakeland Ledger.

Students arrested: Jacksonville police arrest a 16-year-old Grand Park Education Center student for the murder of a 19-year-old man and the wounding of two others just after the Raines-Lee high school football game Friday. Robert Howard is accused of killing Joerod Jamel Adams. Police suspect the shooting is gang-related. Florida Times-Union. WJAX. WJXT. A 16-year-old student at Legacy High School in Winter Garden is arrested and accused of making threats against the charter school. WFTV. A 13-year-old boy is arrested after threatening to bring a gun to Murray Middle School in Martin County. TCPalm.

Guns at schools: The Charlotte County State Attorney’s Office is considering whether to file charges against a Charlotte High School student who had an unloaded shotgun in his vehicle. Police say the student uses the shotgun in his job for an alligator farm. Charlotte Sun.

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BY NextSteps staff