Florida roundup: Budget shortfalls, Common Core, FCAT scores & more

Summer school: Pinellas County school officials expect 8,500 students to participate in the Summer Bridge program. Tampa Tribune.

florida roundup logoBudgets: The numbers aren’t final, but the Collier County school district projects an $8.3 million shortfall while Lee County school officials expect to make $13 million to $15 million in cuts. Naples  Daily News. Baker County school officials blame a drop in enrollment for an estimated $1.3 million shortfall. Baker County Press. Flagler County school officials take another look for new ways to cut the budget after voters reject a tax hike. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Cell towers: Parents and teachers worried about the health and safety of students at Naples Park Elementary have started a petition against a cellphone tower on school grounds. Naples Daily News.

Fired: A Duval County paraprofessional is fired after an investigation found he forcibly removed a student from the school bus. Florida Times-Union.

Lawsuit: A parent is suing the Polk County school board, alleging that a science teacher slapped her son last year at a Lakeland elementary school. The Ledger.

Grads: High school graduation speeches deserve a lot of scrutiny, say principals and others. Tampa Bay Times. Friends since preschool, these two recent grads are headed to Harvard. Pensacola News Journal.

University Prep: A new Pinellas County charter school aims to serve students from struggling neighborhood schools. Tampa Bay Times.

Lunch bus: The Pasco Schools Food and Nutrition Service hits the road this summer in  a district school bus serving a free lunch to kids. Tampa Bay Times.

Activities fees: With less than half of students paying a 15 percent fee for extra activities, the Hernando County school district sees a decline in number of events. Tampa Bay Times.

Leaders: Florida Teacher of the Year Alexandre Lopes talks to Tampa Bay area teachers about the different ways to show leadership. Tampa Bay Times. Pinellas County’s new Deputy Superintendent Bill Corbett spoke to teachers during a workshop about seeing themselves as movers and shakers. Tampa Bay Times.

Ban: Palm Beach County school board members are considering a policy that would ban students from participating in activities like band if they don’t attend the school. Palm Beach Post.

Common Core: Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and other education leaders say Florida should continue along its Common Core implementation path. Florida Times-Union. Many teachers in Pinellas County and across the state are anxious about the switch to Common Core tests. Tampa Tribune. The chance to raise Florida’s academic proficiency in math and literacy makes Common Core worth the turmoil. Tampa Tribune.

Eye scan: Polk County school officials contend with mistakes in a pilot program that allowed a company to collect children’s biometric information without the parents’ knowledge. The Ledger.

FCAT: Fifty thousand students made a perfect score on the FCAT and end-0f-course exams, and 438 of those kids were from Lee County. News-Press.

Evals: Gov. Rick Scott signs bill that requires classroom teachers only get evaluated based on the students they teach. News-Press.

Turnaround: The Escambia County School Board will hear a turnaround plan for Lincoln Park Elementary, graded an ”F” by the state. Pensacola News Journal.

STEM: Middle and high school students head to New College’s Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center to learn the joys of science. Bradenton Herald.

Fundraiser: Manatee County school officials auction vehicles to raise money for the district and cut costs. Bradenton Herald.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.