Florida schools roundup: Retention ruling appeal, pay, enrollment and more

florida-roundup-logoRetention appeal: The Florida Department of Education and two schools districts are appealing a judge’s ruling last week against the state’s policy for retaining third-graders. Leon County Judge Karen Gievers said the state was wrongly holding back third-graders who do poorly on the state Florida Standards Assessments tests or opt out from taking them. She ordered the state and six districts that were sued to allow students to present a portfolio of work to demonstrate their readiness for fourth grade. Orange and Hernando counties joined in the appeal. Orlando Sentinel. Meanwhile, the Hernando County School District promoted three students who were involved in the lawsuit, but did not assign them to their school of choice. Tampa Bay Times.

Superintendent pay: The Lake County School Board is prepared to pay a new superintendent up to 23 percent more than it’s paying the retiring one. Current Superintendent Susan Moxley makes $159,000 in base pay, and received $17,000 in bonuses. She is retiring June 30, 2017, and the board is willing to pay her successor a base rate of $195,000, with performance bonuses up to $34,000. Daily Commercial. Orlando Sentinel.

School enrollment: Enrollment jumps to 27,163 in the Alachua County School District, up 3 percent over last year, and some schools are over capacity. Idylwild Elementary, with a capacity of 575 students, now has 800, up from 750 last year. Gainesville Sun. At the 10-day count, the Highlands County School District shows a slight increase in student enrollment over last year. When school opened, enrollment was down 100. Highlands Today.

Parking artists: Seniors at West Orange High School in Winter Garden are permitted to paint their personal parking spots to express their personalities and other favorite things. The designs have to be approved by school officials. Teen Vogue. People. StreetArtNews.

Mold tests at school: Officials at Plato Academy, a Largo charter school, will hire a company to check the school for mold. Some parents say the school is ignoring the problems, and the mold is making their children sick. WFLA.

Testing fine panned: Florida Parents Against Common Core says the nearly $5 million fine against the American Institutes for Research for state testing problems in 2015 is “inconsequential” and “egregiously inappropriate.” Sunshine State News.

School elections: A Lee County School Board member sends an email with campaign literature to about 800 school employees, a violation of board policy. Cathleen Morgan, who is running for re-election, blames a vendor for not following her instructions to not send any campaign emails to addresses that end in @leeschools.net . Fort Myers News-Press.

Student dies: A 13-year-old Polk County boy who was hit by a car Aug. 22 as he walked to his Lake Alfred-Addair Middle School bus stop has died. Jacob Scott was walking on a road facing traffic when a car drifted off a shoulder and struck the boy. Lakeland Ledger. WFLA.

Gender equity: Volusia County schools are struggling to meet federal and state gender equity standards in athletics. Just two county schools, Spruce Creek High and Taylor Middle-High, meet the requirements. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

School security: The St. Lucie County School District is working on a plan to beef up security at high school football games. A fight broke out in the stands at last week’s game between Fort Pierce Westwood and Fort Pierce Central high schools, and the game was suspended with about 21 minutes to play. TCPalm.

School threats: A 15-year-old student at Bradford Middle School is arrested and accused of calling in a bomb threat to his school. Bradford Middle and two nearby schools, Bradford High and Starke Elementary, were closed Monday after the threat was received Sunday night. Gainesville SunFlorida Times-Union. Two bullets are found Monday in a Palmetto High School bathroom. Police are investigating. Bradenton Herald.

Student enrichment: Two eighth-graders at Holy Comforter Episcopal School in Tallahassee launch a drive to help Louisiana flood victims. Harris Mosteller’s and Katy Merritt’s Flood of Compassion is asking for gift-card donations to chain restaurants and home improvement stores. Tallahassee Democrat. A fashion show in Collier County, Love That Dress!, will raise money for the PACE Center for Girls-Collier. The center helps girls 12-18 years old who are dealing with problems at school and at home. Naples Daily News.