Back-to-school sales tax holiday starts, new schools, history controversy continues and more

Back-to-school sales tax holiday: As summer winds down, back-to-school shopping is ramping up. Shoppers are now able to get much-needed school items tax-free due to Florida’s sales tax holiday that was approved by the state Legislature earlier this year. The sales tax holiday started Monday and lasts until Aug. 6, with an additional two-week period from Jan. 1-14 to replenish supplies in 2024. Another perk: The holiday applies to both in-person and online purchases. Economist Chris Jones said for some families, you’ll likely get the most bang for your buck on clothes and computers. “Even if you’ve got multiple kids, you’re probably going to be under $40 overall in terms of tax savings, but when you think about clothing, and computer purchases, those are definitely things that, I think, if you’ve got the money to spend regardless of where your income is, that’s a good investment,” Jones said. Tampa Bay Times. Bay News 9. ABC Action News. WLRN.

Leon: Governors Charter Academy has a new name: Renaissance Academy. Another change to note: It will also be led by a new principal named Precillia Vaughn. “We are thrilled to have Ms. Vaughn as our new leader at Renaissance Academy,” Charter Schools USA’s Florida State Superintendent Eddie Ruiz said in a news release. “She ushers in a new era in our school with a rebirth and renewal that gives our students new opportunities for growth. Her roots with the school and in the Tallahassee community give her a great foundation from which she can foster new and innovative ideas.” Tallahassee Democrat.

Alachua: A new Waldorf-inspired nonprofit school called Constellation Charter School of Gainesville will open in August for students in grades first through sixth. The school aims to collaborate with parents, teachers and staff using Public Waldorf Education Principles through the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education to teach children. The APWE provides resources to help merge the Waldorf methods and curriculums with state requirements. The Gainesville Sun.

History controversy continues: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed his presidential primary opponent Gov. Ron DeSantis over his response to the new history standards the Florida Board of Education adopted last week. The new standards have been blasted by critics that include Vice President Kamala Harris for rewriting and removing key facts about slavery. “Governor DeSantis started this fire with the bill that he signed and now he doesn’t want to take responsibility for whatever is done in the aftermath of it, and from listening and watching his comments he’s obviously uncomfortable,” Christie said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”  Politico. Meanwhile, as the state standards continue to makes national news, three Black elected officials in Palm Beach county met on Saturday to discuss them during a town hall meeting. State Sen. Bobby Powell, State Rep. Jervonte Edmonds and Council Member Dr. Teresa Johnson focused the discussion on the new standards that include language that says that slaves developed skills that in some instances could have been applied for their “personal benefit.” WPTV.

Course ban: Advanced Placement African American Studies arrived last year at 60 schools across the country. This fall, it will be tested in roughly 800 high schools due to a surge in demand. Despite that growth and revisions to the course, it remains off limits in Florida. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

University and college news: The University of Florida invited six Florida high school science teachers to spend five days this summer at the main UF campus to develop lesson plans on agriculture and food security. From July 24-28, teachers will be learning about current research to improve disease resistance in crops. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the professional development workshop is the second in a series of four hosted by the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute’s Scientist in Every Florida School Program and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ department of plant pathology. Main Street Daily News.

Opinions on schools: Millions of taxpayer dollars, which had been desperately needed for years to improve New College of Florida, are being spent on questionable endeavors. Meanwhile, talented faculty members and academically committed students are leaving the college, and their departures were met with at least one trustee saying “good riddance.” Sharon Landesman Ramey, Sarasota Herald-Tribune.  Republicans are scared of higher education. Diane Roberts, Florida Phoenix.

Avatar photo

BY Camille Knox