FSU-ACC mediation ordered, esports, cell phone policies, state’s top support employee, and more

Around the state: A Leon County judge orders Florida State University into mediation with the Atlantic Coast Conference to try to settle dueling lawsuits over the school’s intent to leave the conference, Florida High School Athletic Association board members are considering a proposal to sanction competitive video gaming, a paraprofessional at a Marion County elementary school has been named Florida’s school-related employee of the year, a program called Osceola Prosper is being credited with improving the number of students attending college, Broward’s superintendent begins negotiations with the board chair Friday on the terms of his separation from the district, and Gov. Ron DeSantis says pro-Palestinian protestors should be expelled from universities. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Broward: Superintendent Peter Licata begins negotiations Friday with board chair Lori Alhadeff on the terms of his exit from the district. Licata announced last week that he was retiring because of health issues, and board members then hired deputy superintendent Howard Hepburn to immediately replace him. Licata could leave with a payout of about $192,000, a smaller amount or continue as an employee through his announced retirement date of Dec. 31. Sun-Sentinel. Five Coral Springs schools are considered underenrolled but are not being considered for closure or restructuring, according to school district officials. Coral Springs Elementary is at 50 percent capacity, James S. Hunt 61 percent, Maplewood 68 percent, Coral Spring Middle 52 percent, and Forest Glen 63 percent. Schools that are less than 70 percent capacity are considered underenrolled. Tap Into Coral Springs.

Tampa Bay area: School officials in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco are trying to complete their new policies on students’ use of cell phones in school in time to let students and their parents know before the next academic year begins this fall. In Hillsborough, policies are set on a school-by-school basis and board members must decide whether to align policies at all schools. Pinellas is still taking input from the community before deciding on how restrictive to be, and Pasco school board members will consider a proposal to ban cell phone use in elementary and middle schools while allowing high school students to use their phones at lunch and in classes for assignments with teacher permission. Tampa Bay Times. Spectrum News 9.

Orange: Twenty-one schools taking part in a district pilot program have composted more than 151,000 pounds of food and donated about 25,000 pounds of unused food to local nonprofits in a drive to reduce food waste, according to a district spokesperson. School officials said the program also benefits students by teaching them about sustainability. Spectrum News 13.

Palm Beach: A man was shot in the Suncoast High School parking lot Monday morning during a confrontation with a Riviera Beach police officer. The man was hospitalized and is in stable condition. Police said the man walked onto campus without authorization, and made physical conduct with the police officer when questioned. “The officer then discharged their weapon, and the individual was shot twice,” district officials reported. No students were injured or ever in danger, police said. Palm Beach Post. Sun-Sentinel. WPTV. WPEC. Royal Palm Beach’s Village Council has turned down Basis Independent Schools’ request to build a private school charging an average of $30,000 for tuition in the Tuttle Royale development. Mayor Fred Pinto said the school was too pricey for the people who will live in the development. Palm Beach Post.

Duval: A special three-month literacy tutoring reading intervention study in seven Duval elementary schools has shown that students in the study were 68 percent more likely to improve their reading skills compared to students in the control group. The program developed by the organization READ USA tutored 159 students, with their results compared to those of 154 students who weren’t tutored. WJXT.

Polk: School officials held a town hall meeting Monday to discuss the details and impact of a new law that requires later middle and high school start times by 2026, and get community input. “We’re definitely concerned about making sure all the angles are covered,” said Ryan DelliVeniri, chairman of the district advisory council. “I think that the worst thing to do would be to pump out a solution that only works for a group of people and not most of the people.” By July 1, 2026, middle schools cannot start before 8 a.m., and high schools before 8:30 a.m. WFLA. WFTS.

Osceola: A program called Osceola Prosper is being credited with improving the number of high school seniors attending college after graduation. All county high school graduates are offered free college tuition at Valencia College or Osceola Technical College through the program started two years ago by county commissioners. Osceola now ranks fourth in the state in the rate of students who go on to college, up from 61st in 2010. WKMG.

Manatee: District 5 school board member Richard Tatem has announced his candidacy for the District 72 seat in the Florida House of Representatives, which opened when Tommy Gregory was named president of the State College of Florida. Tatem was elected to the school board in 2022, and will resign Nov. 4 because he can’t run for the House seat while a school board member. Gov. DeSantis will appoint a replacement for the nearly two-year remainder of Tatem’s term. Your Observer.

Marion: Edward Lanza, a paraprofessional at Saddlewood Elementary School in Ocala, has been named Florida’s school-related employee of the year by the Florida Department of Education. He’s worked at Saddlewood since 2016 helping in the media center, resolving technology issues and overseeing Chromebook distribution to students. Ocala Star Banner. WCJB. Ocala News. Florida Department of Education.

Alachua: For the 16th time in the past 19 years, Buchholz High School’s math team has won the state championship. It lost last year to rival American Heritage Broward by a single question out of 1,000, but rallied to win the national championship last summer. Mainstreet Daily News. WCJB.

Colleges and universities: A Leon County judge said Monday that Florida State University must enter into mediation with the Atlantic Coast Conference to try to settle dueling lawsuits over the school’s intent to leave the conference. The ACC wants the case heard in Charlotte, its headquarters, and doesn’t want the broadcasting contract made public. FSU wants the case before a Leon County judge, and wants the documents to be unsealed. Tallahassee Democrat. News Service of Florida. Associated Press. Gov. DeSantis said Monday that pro-Palestinian student protestors should be expelled from their colleges, and that international student protestors should have their visas canceled. “Right now, in higher education, particularly in those schools up (north), the inmates run the asylum,” he said. Florida Phoenix. Palm Beach Post. Stetson University in DeLand has gotten the go-ahead from the Volusia County Council to borrow $70 million. It will use the money to build a 305-bed residence hall, renovate the Edmunds Center and make other improvements. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

FHSAA consider esports: Florida High School Athletic Association board members are considering a proposal to sanction competitive video gaming. More than half the state’s schools surveyed expressed an interest in offering esports. Officials said they are in the early stages of the decision-making process. News Service of Florida. A proposal to allow students who transfer during the school year to compete in their schools’ spring football game was withdrawn Monday before it came to a vote by the FHSAA’s board of directors. Sponsor Ricky Bell cited Title IX concerns and the current state law that spells out how a transfer student would be eligible to play in the spring for pulling the proposal. The FHSAA also continued moving toward a required 35-second shot clock in high school basketball. Palm Beach Post. Orlando Sentinel.

Around the nation: The number of U.S. students choosing vocational-focused community colleges jumped 16 percent from 2022 to 2023, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Students say the high cost of college and worries about the stability of white-collar jobs are increasingly driving them to learn a skilled trade instead of pursuing a college degree. NPR. State-funded preschool enrollment in the United States grew 7 percent in the 2022-2023 school year from the previous year, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. Overall, 35 percent of the nation’s 4-year-olds attended an early education program during the 2022-2023 academic year. K-12 Dive.

Opinions on schools: The joy and enthusiasm for learning we see in children who attend schools and coops that embrace learning by doing should eventually convince us all to make learning by doing the norm in public educationDoug Tuthill, NextSteps. Lengthening charter schools’ contracts will take a considerable administrative burden off the schools rather than having them continually working on renewal. Matthew Ladner, NextSteps. The bill allowing volunteer chaplains into public schools is a crass violation of the First Amendment’s separation of church and state as well as of an explicit provision in Florida’s Declaration of Rights, part of the state constitution. Sun-Sentinel. The positives of having a Vanderbilt University business school locate in downtown West Palm Beach are obvious. But process and transparency matter, as local officials and their constituents sort through details to determine what proposals best meet the community’s needs. Palm Beach Post.


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BY NextSteps staff