Florida roundup: charter schools, privatization, educator conduct & more

Charter schools. The exorbitant payouts to the principal of a failing Orange County charter school are behind legislative efforts to tighten charter laws. Orlando Sentinel.flroundup2

Privatization. The Volusia County school district considers outsourcing 500 custodial and grounds maintenance jobs, reports the Daytona Beach News Journal. The Bay County school district considers bids for privatizing the district’s transportation services, reports the Panama City News Herald.

School choice. Vouchers and tax credit scholarships can make private school more affordable. Panama City News Herald.

Forget the furloughs. The Pasco school district finds the $3 million it needs to keep from making employees take two unpaid days off, as originally planned. Tampa Bay Times.

Raising the bar. Don’t set it too high with graduation requirements, a high school principal tells the House K-12 Subcommittee. WTXL.

Educator conduct. Prosecutors drop fraud charges against a band teacher who was accused of using nearly $15,000 in school funds to pay for relatives who accompanied the band on a trip to Paris, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. More from the Palm Beach Post. An assistant football coach in Manatee County is accused of improperly touching a student and asking her for naked photographs, reports the Sarasota Herald Tribune. More from the Bradenton Herald. A Hernando middle school teacher with a history of off-campus incidents – including three DUI arrests – returns to the classroom after his latest DUI, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Substitutes. The Marion County teachers union is accusing the district of using “full time” subs to avoid paying benefits. Ocala Star Banner.

Technology. For better or worse, an elementary school in St. Johns goes all digital, reports the St. Augustine Record. Duval Superintendent Nikolai Vitti redirects 350 iPads bought for administrators to students in the district’s pre-K program, reports the Florida Times Union.

Tolerance. The Polk school board considers policies that would bar discrimination against students “on the basis of transgender status, change of sex or gender identity.” Lakeland Ledger.

School security. Marion County district officials estimate it will take six months to complete security surveys for each of the district’s 51 campuses, reports the Ocala Star Banner. An assistant principal is “verbally reprimanded” for not intervening in a bullying situation that resulted in a videotaped beating of a girl on a school bus, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Superintendents. St. Lucie County school board members expand the search for a search firm to help them search for a new superintendent. TCPalm.com.

When is a free public education not free? Gradebook.

Mandatory uniforms? Orange says no. SchoolZone.

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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.