Florida schools roundup: Education funding, charter school studies and more

florida-roundup-logoEducation funding: Florida ranks 42nd in the country in funding levels per pupil and 44th in coverage, which measures the degree of economic disparity between households in the public and nonpublic education systems, according to a report by the Education Law Center. The state was given an F for effort, which is a measure of the state’s local and state spending on education in relation to the state’s economic productivity. Florida got a C in funding distribution, which measures the distribution of funding across local districts relative to student poverty. School Funding FairnessFlorida Times-Union.

Florida charter schools: A study indicates that charter school graduates in Florida are 12 percent more likely to stay in college and earn higher salaries than their district school peers. Researchers from Georgia State University, Vanderbilt University and Mathematica Policy Research say the study is significant because most research on the effects of charter schools focuses on short-term results. Education Week. Diverse Issues in Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report.

Transgender bathroom issue: A Marion County parent says his son’s rights are being violated because the school district is allowing a transgender student to use the boys bathroom at Vanguard High School. The transgender student, who was born female but identifies as male, was given the option of using a nongender, single-toilet bathroom, but refused, saying that was a violation of his rights. So the district, following guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, said the student could use the boys bathroom. Ocala Star Banner.

Prom dress review: Choctaw High School officials are now in the prom dress review business. After the school got questions about whether two-piece prom dresses are allowed, officials created a review panel. Parents must submit a picture of the girl in her dress, along with an approval form, to one of three female administrators. Northwest Florida Daily News.

School rezoning: A rezoning plan may not ease the overcrowding at some Hernando County schools, the school board has discovered. Many of the students are taking the option offered to stay at their current schools. Tampa Bay Times.

Opting out: Opt-Out Orlando members talk about their group and their goals. West Orange Times.

District cutbacks: The Clay County School District proposes dealing with budget problems by cutting back personnel and programs. Clay Today.

Teacher raises: Teachers in Gadsden County could get their first pay raises in five years under a proposal being negotiated between the school district and the teachers union. If approved, the average salary for county teachers would increase to $40,000. Tallahassee Democrat.

Impact fees: If the Manatee County School Board decides to change its mind to link the collection of impact fees and the extension of the sales tax, the issue would have to go back to the county commission to decide whether to reopen the process for school impact fees. That could mean a delay in collecting the money. If no change is made, the impact fee collection begins April 18. Bradenton Herald.

After-school care: Just three Collier County schools will change their after-school providers, school officials say. Vendors were asked in February to submit new bids after the district revised its guidelines. Naples Daily News.

Foundation loss: The president of the Pinellas Education Foundation, Terry Boehm, announces he is retiring next year. Boehm has held the job since 2001. A nationwide search will be held to find a replacement. Gradebook.

Trial delay: More than five years after Manatee School for the Arts teacher Kenneth Ellis was shot in his North Port home, the accused killer has yet to be tried. It took two years for mental health experts to decide Katrelle D’mario Johnson was comptetent to stand trial. Now his lawyers say he is intellectually disabled. His trial is set for Aug. 22. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Opinions on schools: Being a principal for a day gives insight into a complex job, says the Collier County school superintendent. Kamela Patton, Naples Daily News. Florida’s K-12 system does some things really well, some things okay, and some things terribly.  And the levels of success the state’s system has in different areas are determined by the priorities set by policy-makers. Paul Cottle, Bridge to Tomorrow.

Student enrichment: Pasco County schools win the elementary and middle/high school Family and Community Involvement Awards for the region. Gradebook. Three Fishhawk Elementary School students design an experiment to test how zero gravity affects cottonseed growth. The experiment will be launched into space this afternoon from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Tampa Bay Times. After three months of renovation, the Bayshore High School television studio is reopened. The school’s goal is to produce at least one live show a day in addition to taped and edited pieces. Bradenton Herald. A civil rights museum on wheels will stop at Tampa’s Jefferson High School on Thursday. Education Week. Students at Tampa Preparatory School meet with Anthony Ray Hinton, who talks about spending 30 years on Alabama’s death row for a crime he was exonerated for in 2015. WTSP.  The U.S. Surgeon General visits Jacksonville students to talk healthy habits. Florida Times-Union.