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State school board talks possible violations, teacher wish lists, new tool for parents and more

Around the state: The state board of education was scheduled to meet to discuss whether 10 school districts are violating new state laws and rules relating to the instruction of race, gender identity and sexual orientation, a new tool in Hillsborough will show parents what changes from an attendance boundary analysis could mean, members of the Volusia United Educators teachers union showed up in red to deliver educator wish lists to the school board and book controversy in Brevard. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Hillsborough: A new online tool from the school district here is showing parents what changes from an attendance boundary analysis could mean for their child’s school. Some schools in this district have too few students while others have too many, so the district has a set of proposed plans to better utilize schools. But the impact of the plans vary for students. Any boundary changes, if approved, would take effect for the 2023-24 school year. “This is a very serious initiative,” said Superintendent Addison Davis. ABC Action News.

Orange: The school system here is once again listed as the eighth largest school district for the 2022-23 school year. Based on an official count from the month of October, Orange County Public Schools reported 208,788 students. This figure is the highest number of students since before the pandemic began in 2020, when 212,401 students were reported for the 2019-20 school year. WFTV.

Brevard: The school board here wants books challenged in the district to be taken off library shelves and held behind the counter like adult magazines. But a policy needs to change before that occurs, and the district has begun the process of updating the policy. The board also narrowed down its top three candidates for interim superintendent who will take over on Jan. 1 from outgoing Superintendent Mark Mullins and begin work on reversing a controversial public speaking policy. Florida Today.

Volusia: Over 50 members of the Volusia United Educators teachers union, which represents about 3,500 district employees, showed up in red earlier this week to deliver educator wish lists to the school board. Requests included being paid what they were worth, proper time to take care of their mental health, paid maternity and paternity leave for staff and curriculum changes. Union president Elizabeth Albert wrote in an email that the employees were showing up “to send a message to the board that they are overwhelmed, exhausted, and that things need to change now.” The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Meanwhile, families in this county’s school district are demanding justice after groping and choking incidents. The Daytona Beach News-Journal. 

Citrus: At a regular school board meeting earlier this week, members approved the final 2022-23 five-year work plan for the district as well as discussing the possibility of buying iPad insurance to save money on damage costs incurred.  A main takeaway from the work plan: how the district is planning to compensate for student population growth at the elementary level in the next decade. Citrus County Chronicle. 

Librarian guidelines: A state panel writing new guidelines for school librarians to follow when selecting books and other materials was supposed to meet earlier this week to finish recommendations. Instead, the session was canceled, sparking controversy. Tampa Bay Times.

LBGTQ policies: The state board of education was scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss whether 10 school districts are violation new state laws and rules relating to the instruction of race, gender identity and sexual orientation. Letters were sent to each of the districts warning that their policies on matters such as pronoun use and restroom rules should be revised and are under scrutiny. Tampa Bay Times. Bradenton Herald. Some districts, which include Broward and Miami-Dade, have already learned they were in violation of the parental rights in education law. The Miami Herald.   Many of these districts have a tumultuous history with state education officials on recent years when mask mandate disagreements during the pandemic led to administrative challenges, federal involvement and the withholding of certain school board salaries. “We’re not here to enforce anything, we’re here to listen to Chancellor (Jacob) Oliva as he makes his presentation,” Board Chair Tom Grady said in conference call meeting Wednesday. Florida Phoenix.

Superintendent shuffle: In the wake of election season, Florida school boards have booted out superintendents in districts across the state. Tallahassee Democrat. Lakeland Ledger. TC Palm.

Sandy Hook victims: The victims of this tragedy were remembered this week nationwide. NPR.

COVID-19 data: Charts were compiled to help better understand the impact COVID-19 had on teachers, students and schools. The 74th.

Lottery news: The state’s lottery education contribution has reached $43 billion. Since its inception in 1988, public schools in Florida have received more than $23 billion, colleges and universities have received a total of more than $11 billion and more than $8 billion has been used to fund the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. WKMG.

Opinions on schools: It’s been three years since the pandemic began and life is going back to pre-pandemic times, with the exception of one area: Education. Parents got a chance to get a close view into the education their children were being provided. One of those options is education savings accounts. Trish Wilger, reimaginED. When Oklahoma legislators approved a new K-12 open enrollment law last year, school choice advocates celebrated the reform. Despite its strong open enrollment law, Oklahoma is dealing with a problem facing other states with robust student transfer policies: how to ensure districts aren’t arbitrarily defining capacity to keep neighboring students out. Christian Barnard, the 74th. Vickie Cartwright is superintendent of Broward County Schools until Jan. 24, and the district will continue looking for another superintendent. But this isn’t a way to run the nation’s sixth-largest school district. South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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BY Camille Knox