Redefining schools in Broward, superintendent sought in Duval, USF continues diversity mission and more

Around the state: University of South Florida will continue its mission to be a diverse institution despite a new state law, the hunt continues for a superintendent in Duval, cheerleaders were honored in Polk and the Florida Lottery reached a milestone in its support of education in Florida. Here are details about those stories and other developments from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Hillsborough: A Tampa family is seeking answers and justice after a devastating school bus crash because Florida lawmakers didn’t pass a bill that would have required a payout. “I just want to work so that I’m not in the house all day,” says Marcus Button, who was 16 in 2006 when a Pasco County school bus crashed into the car he was riding in. WTSP.

Broward: After much research and a trio of community meetings, the Broward School District hopes to release a plan today that is aimed at redefining schools. Faced with 50,000 fewer students, the school district has to decide what to do with under-enrolled schools while having enough money to operate the rest of the schools. That means combining, selling, leasing or repurposing some of the land that certain schools occupy. CBS Miami.

Duval: School officials here have officially started re-advertising for a new superintendent. The search was suspended in 2023 after the first attempt to find a replacement for Diana Greene did not succeed in providing enough candidates deemed qualified. The application process ends April 15. The district hopes to interview finalists for the position in mid-May, with a decision made during a special board meeting May 23. JaxToday.

Polk: Cheerleaders at Lakeland High were honored by the city commission for winning state and national championship titles recently. Mayor Pro Tem Stephanie Madden read the proclamation, declaring Monday to be “Lakeland Senior High School Varsity Cheerleader State Champion Day” in the city of Lakeland. LkldNow.

Parental Rights in Education Act: LGBTQ+ advocates are “thrilled” with the settlement reached in a lawsuit over the Parental Rights in Education Act. The law restricts how gender identity and sexual orientation are taught in Florida schools. But some say the law was written so vaguely that it was difficult to make sense of what it actually said. WUSF. WLRN.

Lottery milestone: The Florida Lottery is celebrating a milestone in its support for Florida education. Lottery officials recently announced funding for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund has exceeded more than $46 billion since inception in 1988. “This remarkable achievement reflects our steadfast dedication to education, and we are proud of the vital role we play in enhancing educational experiences for students throughout the Sunshine State,” said John F. Davis, Secretary of the Florida Lottery. WFTV.

Colleges and universities: Santa Fe College will host its annual Open House on Saturday at its Northwest Campus, featuring informational sessions on paying for college, career connections, degree options and student life. The Gainesville Sun. Top leaders at the University of South Florida say the school will continue to be a diverse institution despite a new state law that prohibits public colleges and universities from spending on diversity programs. “We have our north star,” USF president Rhea Law told the university’s board of trustees at their meeting on Monday. “We have our mission and we have our values, and we have not changed those. We do not now have an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. But we are absolutely supportive of access and opportunity for everyone, and we will continue to do that.” The issue resurfaced after a faculty trustee raised concerns about the impact of the new law on USF’s reputation in the wake of national organizations expressing concerns about the law. Tampa Bay Times.

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BY Camille Knox

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