Florida schools roundup: Tax hike for schools and more

IMG_0001.JPGSchool tax hike: St. Johns County voters approve a half-cent sale tax increase to pay for new schools and renovate existing ones. St. Augustine Record. WJAX. Florida Politics.

School testing: Brevard County Superintendent Desmond Blackburn is canceling 192 mandatory district-level assessments tests while he evaluates the county’s examination system. Florida Today. Gov. Rick Scott should raise the bar on the Florida Standards Assessment math exams, argues Paul Cottle on Bridge to Tomorrow. Examining the changes in the new SAT test. New York Times.

School construction: Orange County school officials urge county commissioners to allow schools to be built on smaller lots. Orlando Sentinel. Lee County school officials acknowledge property adjacent to several gated communities is not a perfect spot for a new high school, but they argue it is the best of what’s available. Naples Daily News.

School spending: Hillsborough County School Board members are asking for a $900,000 efficiency audit to help control spending. Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Tribune. Higher than expected tax revenues will allow Pasco County to accelerate the timetable for school improvements. Gradebook.

Charter schools: The Palm Beach County School Board is expected to deny Renaissance Charter School’s request to open its first high school in the county because the Charter Schools USA product reportedly is not innovative enough. Palm Beach Post.

Superintendent panned: The Duval County School Board is criticizing Superintendent Nikolai Vitti for his “persistent lack of respect” in talking to board members. Jacksonville Times-Union.

School rezoning: Some parents worry that rezoning Pasco County school districts will force them into greater traffic congestion. Tampa Bay Times.

State of a district: Alachua County’s school superintendent touts the system’s achievements in an annual address, but says the disparity in achievement between white and minority students must be studied. Gainesville Sun.

Teacher shortage: Pasco County has a teacher shortage in some key areas, and is holding a job fair Nov. 12. Gradebook.

Magnet schools: Pasco County isn’t going to add new magnet programs next fall, but is looking to expand some existing programs into magnets. Tampa Bay Times.

Boys only event criticized: An Orlando elementary school’s planned “mother & son night of fun” STEM event is drawing protests because it excludes girls. Orlando Sentinel.

Inappropriate contact?: A Jackson Heights Middle School student has been given detention for hugging a friend, under the Oviedo school’s policy that bans what it considers to be inappropriate touching. WPLG.

Employee discipline: Three Palm Beach County transportation employees face firing today for “inappropriate behavior” and “child abandonment.” Palm Beach Post.

Adminstrator’s lawsuit: A former Manatee County assistant superintendent has amended and refiled his lawsuit against the school board for defamation. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

School advisory councils: The Manatee County school district holds a meeting for principals and school advisory councils to clarify expectations. Bradenton Herald.

Gates Foundation: Another Gates Foundation educational project is on the rocks – the teacher evaluation program in Hillsborough County. Washington Post.

School grants: Politico examines how educational gains followed government grants at Miami’s Edison Senior High School.

Accommodating transgender students: Many states are struggling to fit transgender students in when it comes to bathrooms and shower rooms. New York Times.

Student enrichment: Leon County says more high school students are taking advantage of STEM classes. Tallahassee Democrat. Bay County high school students learn about financial management through a program with Hancock Bank and Everfi Inc. Panama City News Herald. Manatee County Youth Rowing is now open to middle and high school students. Bradenton Herald.