Florida schools roundup: Case rejected by court, school impact fees and more

florida-roundup-logoSchool banner case: The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear a case brought by an ex-porn star against the Palm Beach County School District. The district removed school banners for a tutoring service run by David Mech after it learned Mech had been a porn star. Mech then sued, arguing the decision was a violation of his free speech rights. Education Week. Sun-Sentinel.

School impact fee: Brevard County commissioners will decide today whether to increase school impact fees by more than $650 on new single-family homes. Fees would decline for multifamily units and mobile homes. The school board approved the changes last week. Florida Today.

School assignments: Pasco County School Superintendent Kurt Browning is warning Tampa Bay real estate agents that there are no guarantees a neighborhood will always be zoned for the same school. “It is unfair to allow families to believe that the homes they are buying come with certain schools when the county’s growth is at its current rapid pace, requiring rezoning to keep schools from becoming over capacity,” Browning wrote in a letter to agents. Tampa Bay Times.

Storm-watching: School districts along Florida’s east coast are closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Matthew. WJAX. Palm Beach Post.

Principal-sharing: Twelve Orange County schools are sharing principals this year in a move designed to help train assistant principals. The move also saves the district money, though school officials insist that is not a reason for the decision. Orlando Sentinel.

Calendar conflict: A Pasco County parent complains that the district’s quarterly tests conflicts with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana. Gradebook.

New school: A new elementary school in Panama City Beach should be ready to open for the 2019-2020 school year, Bay County School District officials say. The cost is expected to be about $35 million. The school will be built on land donated by the St. Joe Co. Panama City News Herald.

School on rebound: Lincoln Park Primary School in Pensacola got an A grade from the state in 2015 and an F in 2016. Now it’s trying to rebuild through standards-based instruction and getting students familiar with Florida Standards Assessments test questions. Pensacola News Journal.

Cleaner schools: Volusia County schools are much cleaner this year, officials say. The district, which began outsourcing the work in 2013, changed vendors after complaints. Cleanliness is at 88 percent in the district’s rating system; 80 is regarded the minimum acceptable score. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Ban fought: A former Niceville High School student is asking the Okaloosa County School District for another chance to attend the school’s social events and “be a kid for just a little while longer.” Rayne Weeks, 17, was banned from all school events after being expelled for truancy. She now takes classes online from the Florida Virtual School and in on track to graduate in December. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Teacher awarded: Ruth Randles, an exceptional student education teacher at Samoset Elementary School in Manatee County, is one of 20 U.S. educators selected as a Walmart Commander in Teach(er). She receives a $490 Walmart gift card. Bradenton Herald.

School threats: Five Palm Beach County schools are among those threatened with violence by creepy clowns. School officials believe the threats are a hoax, but will increase police presence at the schools today. Palm Beach Post. WPEC. WPTV.

Opinions on schools: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens a window for students who want to go to college. Superintendent Kamela Patton, Naples Daily News. The $49 million now in the state budget for the “best and brightest” teacher bonuses program should be redirected to support a new teacher recruitment and retention program based on tangible student gains. Citrus County Chronicle.

Student enrichment: G. Weaver Hipps Elementary School in Lehigh Acres is trying out a new leadership program, Leader in Me, which is based on author Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Fort Myers News-Press.