Bathroom law being considered, cameras possible in school zones, grievance filed and more

Around the state: The teachers union in Lee filed a grievance against the school district, a proposal is being floated to set up cameras in some school zones to enforce speed limits and the state Board of Governors will consider a new regulation on Wednesday that would make it a fireable offense if a transgender employee at a state university uses a restroom that aligns with their gender identity. Here are details about those stories and other developments from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Miami-Dade: Anthony Rodriguez, Miami-Dade commissioner, said his proposal to set up cameras to enforce speed limits in school zones and impose fines on violators will bolster the safety of tens of thousands of local schoolchildren. The proposal, which needs approval from the county commission, follows the passage of a new law earlier this year by the state Legislature that allows local governments to set up cameras to enforce speed limits in school zones. That law was passed nearly unanimously. The Florida Department of Transportation is figuring out how the new cameras should be implemented. A recent AAA study of Florida drivers found that 38% admitted speeding in an active school zone and 31% admitted using a cellphone in active school zones. Meanwhile, a concern among opponents is drivers ticketed for speeding in school zones when school is not in session — especially during the summer months. WLRN. South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Palm Beach: The school district here approved a new program that will provide its dual language departments with pre-translated instructional materials. Until now, educators have had to translate the coursework and materials themselves. WPTV.

Hillsborough: As the population booms in this county, its public school enrollment remains flat. Meanwhile, the county’s population is expected to have grown by 8.3% between 2021 and  2026 — a greater rate than the state, region or nation, according to the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. But the school district’s data is making it clear that the additional population is being offset by educational choices that families exercise outside of traditional school systems. Tampa Bay Times.

Duval: Widespread delays in the deliveries of school children on Friday afternoon was attributed to unexpected driver absences, with some delays lasting as much as an hour. A message sent to parents Friday assured them that “no matter how late your bus may be, your child will be held at school in a safe, supervised place until the bus arrives.” The Florida Times-Union.

Lee: The teachers union here has filed a grievance against the school district. School officials have seven days to respond to the grievance. “They’re doing additional work without additional compensation this year,” said Kerr Fazzone, director of the union, before a recent hearing. WINK.

Leon: Chiles High Principal Joe Burgess began a two-week suspension without pay on Sept. 11 after rounds of legal challenges failed. Burgess was accused of violating district policy for paying teachers for extra work without documentation. “I am aware of the Court’s decision and am disappointed by then Superintendent’s decision to still place me on suspension,” Burgess said in a prepared statement shared by his lawyer. Tallahassee Democrat.

Citrus: Inverness City Council members will be setting the final millage rate and budget adoption for the fiscal year of 2023-24 when it convenes tonight. This year, the taxable value has increased, which is why the millage rate is recommended to remain unchanged. Citrus County Chronicle. 

Flagler: Bunnell Elementary school’s leadership that enabled a trio of teachers to hold assemblies targeting only Black students last month was oblivious to the optics of segregating Black students in the name of improving test scores, regardless of their academic standing, internal investigations reveal. Flagler Live.

University and college news: After the release of U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings, it was noted that some Florida schools rose higher on the list while others fell. Four private Florida universities in the top 300 fell this year in what the publication called “the most significant methodological change in the rankings’ history.” The formula used to rate the schools this year “placed a greater emphasis on social mobility and outcomes for graduating college students,” the outlet said in a news release. Florida schools saw improvement when it came to social mobility, with USF ranking No. 16 overall, UCF moving 24 spots to No. 35 and UF rising 28 spots to No. 37. Tampa Bay Times.  The Palm Beach Post. Miami Herald. Florida Phoenix. Meanwhile, UF Health will be hosting two free seminars. Main Street Daily News.

Student loans: For more than three years, no one had to pay federal student loans. But payments are again due in October. Meanwhile, some borrowers are seeing debts eliminated. NPR.

Banned books: About 300 books were banned from school libraries in Florida last year. Of the state’s 67 counties, 21 of them removed books in the 2022-23 school year. The list of banned books can be found here. WTVJ.

Bathroom law: The state board that makes decisions over the state’s universities will consider a new regulation on Wednesday that would make it a fireable offense if a transgender employee at a state university uses a restroom that aligns with their gender identity. There is a public notice of intent to adopt regulation 14.010, or designation of restrooms and changing facilities, on the Board of Governors agenda. If approved, the board will vote to approve the rule at its November meeting. The rule would require students and employees to use bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond with their sex at birth, or use unisex facilities in accordance with HB 1521. Tallahassee Democrat.

Opinions on schools: According to the National Science Foundation, American no longer produces the most science and engineering research publications. The problem is not that the U.S. lack the universities to train future scientists or an economy capable of encouraging innovation. The problem originates much earlier: in our elementary and secondary schools. Mark Schneider, The 74th.  

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BY Camille Knox