Florida roundup: Election highlights, F-rated charter schools and more

Amendment 8 goes down. Coverage from Tampa Bay Times, Orlando Sentinel, Education Week, Associated Press.

More money for schools. In Miami-Dade, voters approve a $1.2 billion bond referendum for public schools, the Miami Herald reports. In Pinellas, they again approve a property tax increase aimed mostly at boosting teacher pay, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Legislative races. In Central Florida, pro-school-choice Democrat Darren Soto wins a state Senate seat, while Democrat Karen Castor Dentel – a teacher targeted by that Jerry Sandusky ad – wins a House seat, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Florida style reformer loses. Indiana state superintendent Tony Bennett, who championed Florida-like ed reforms and was a member of the Jeb Bush-backed Chiefs for Change, lost re-election in a stunner to Glenda Ritz, an elementary school media specialist. Stories here and here.

F-rated charter schools get another chance. Per unanimous votes Tuesday by the state Board of Education. Coverage from Orlando Sentinel, Gainesville Sun, Pensacola News Journal.

Jury awards charter principal $155 million. From the Miami Herald: “The ousted principal of an Aventura charter school has won a $155 million award in a lawsuit claiming her firing was not only without cause, but ruined her health and career prospects.” More from Education Week.

Criticism of tax credit scholarships. A mother complains about education quality at an Orange City private school that accepts tax credit scholarships, reports wftv.com.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at rmatus@stepupforstudents.org or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at facebook.com/redefinedonline.