Florida House passes revamped bill limiting social media for teens, school impact fees, teacher raises and more

In the Legislature: The Florida House passed a revised bill on Wednesday that seeks to limit social media for teens. The House voted 109-4 to approve the plan. On Monday, lawmakers in the state Senate voted 30-5 in favor of the revised bill that still limits teen use and the apps they can download. The Legislature backed a new age limit of 14 years old for opening accounts among other tweaks that were introduced to help the bill survive legal challenges that may occur and to garner support from Gov. Ron DeSantis. WBBH. WPLG. Politico. Legislation granting lawmakers the choice to make security funding for private Jewish day schools a recurring part of the state’s budget is cleared for a signature from Gov. Ron DeSantis. Senators voted 39-0 for HB 1109, which would direct the state Department of Education to establish a regular funding model for guards, cameras, fencing and other items at Jewish schools.  Florida Politics. JaxToday. The Florida Senate approved a bill with a provision for placing a cap of one book challenge per month for people who don’t have students enrolled in the school district in which they placed an objection. The vote came after the Legislature’s top leaders expressed the need to rein in frivolous objections to materials available in libraries and classrooms. Creative Loafing. Florida Phoenix. The Florida House approved renaming Tallahassee Community College to Tallahassee State College. Tallahassee Democrat. WCTV. The Senate unanimously approved a bill Monday to set aside $20 million in restitution for victims of abuse at two now-shuttered reform schools. The bill is now in the hands of Gov. Ron DeSantis. The bill creates a process for former inmates at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and the Florida School for Boys to make claims over mental, physical or sexual abuse between 1940 and 1975. It’s estimated that victims will receive about $50,000 each. CBS 12. Fox 13.

Orange: The school district here and its teachers union reached an agreement to provide “historic” raises of nearly 10% to most teachers and hike their insurance premiums, but also to delay making employees pay the full cost of those insurance increases until the 2025-26 school year. If teachers ratify the agreement, they could get raises in April. The average annual raise would be $5,400, retroactive back to the first day of work for the current school year. Orlando Sentinel.

Duval: The school district in Duval recommended to the school board that at least two elementary schools be demolished and combined with a third school. School board members talked demolition plans at a meeting earlier this week and approved the consolidation. The vote lies in the hands of the state Department of Education to approve. Two schools were up for consideration: S.A. Hull Elementary and Reynolds Lane Elementary. If approved, they would consolidate into Pickett Elementary after it is rebuilt. News4Jax.

Polk: The school district in Polk created a parent liaison position for students with special needs. The Exceptional Student Education parent liaison will bridge the gap between parents and the school district, ensuring parents understand the services available for the children. Baynews9.

Brevard: The school board here plans to implement changes to the student code of conduct for the upcoming year. During a recent work session, board members agreed on dozens of tweaks to the current code. The final draft of the 2024-25 code still has to be finalized and approved at a board meeting. Most changes being proposed encompass creating clearer definitions within the code of conduct regarding punishable behaviors and consequences. These changes were proposed by Student Services in collaboration with work groups that met several times since fall 2023. Florida Today.

Marion: Leaders here approved an impact fee to help pay for new schools. The proposal, approved by the county commission, would require developers to pay an impact fee on every new residential home built. WKMG.

Citrus: The school district here will receive a boost in the form of grant money coming from the workforce development capitalization incentive grant program. The district was recently approved for a $2 million grant that will go toward its welding program. The district already has a construction academy for their high school students. The new funding will support the creation and expansion of 30 programs aimed at enhancing workforce development, which are designed to offer students hands-on educational experiences in various fields that include construction. “It’s wonderful to see them in there with their hammers, their saws and everything that’s going on for the construction academy,” said Citrus County Schools Director of Career, Technical and Adult Education Debra Stanley. BayNews9.

Alachua: The school board here unanimously approved a recommendation to keep “It Feels Good to be Yourself” in the Terwilliger Elementary School library during a recent regular meeting. Main Street Daily News. Meanwhile, school board Chair Diyonne McGraw reiterated her support for the superintendent and said the school district is on track for improvement during an appearance at the Alachua Chamber of Commerce. McGraw told about 50 chamber members that Superintendent Shane Andrew is bringing both stability and great changes to the district.  Main Street Daily News.

Poll results: A poll released last month showed widespread support for public education in Florida. WGCU.

University and college news: Servicemembers hoping to pursue a master’s degree in Florida may get to skip the exam requirement on their applications. “Graduate Program Admissions” (SB 494/HB 511), which passed the Florida House earlier this week, would waive the graduate record exam or GRE and the graduate management admission test or GMAT for those currently in the U.S. armed forces, Florida National Guard and the U.S. reserve forces. “Waiving these tests is an action streamlining our veterans opportunity to compete for admission to our state’s graduate programs,” said Billy Francis, director of the Student Veterans Center at Florida State University. Tallahassee Democrat. The United Faculty of Florida released a statement earlier this week in response to the University of Florida’s announcement last week it was eliminating all positions related to diversity, equity and inclusion or DEI, effective immediately. The Gainesville Sun. WCJB. A University of Miami student was killed while riding his scooter to the Coral Gables campus on Monday, the school reported. Daniel “Danny” Bishop was a senior majoring in mathematics and psychology, the university said in a statement. Miami Herald.

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BY Camille Knox