Florida schools roundup: Budget bill, textbooks suit, spelling bee and more

Scott gets budget: The Legislature has sent the $82.4 billion state budget to Gov. Rick Scott, who has until June 15 to decide if he will sign it, or veto all of it or parts of it. Scott has been especially critical of the education spending and cuts to his economic development agency Enterprise Florida and the tourism marketing agency Visit Florida. Scott has vetoed $1.9 billion in spending in his six years as governor. Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald. Sun Sentinel. News Service of Florida. Tallahassee Democrat. Sunshine State News.

District sued over textbooks: Three parents are suing the Collier County School Board over textbooks that they say have errors and omissions and were selected “behind closed doors to the exclusion of the public.” The suit asks for an emergency injunction against the textbooks and in the district’s selection process. Naples Daily News.

National Spelling Bee: Following the performances of the 15 Florida students competing in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. National Spelling Bee. Florida Times-Union. TCPalm. Miami Herald. Palm Beach Post. Naples Daily News. Tallahassee Democrat. Associated Press.

Zero tolerance: The Miami Beach Committee for Quality Education votes to lobby the Miami-Dade County School District to bring back a zero-tolerance drug policies for Miami Beach Senior High School and its feeder schools. The district phased out zero-tolerance policies years ago. Miami New Times.

School impact fee: Lake County commissioners approve the suspension of school impact fees for developers who build new homes in blighted neighborhoods where schools have vacancies. It’s a one-year experiment. Orlando Sentinel.

Charter’s contract: The Pepin Academy of Pasco says it hasn’t been able to find a permanent facility to buy, as required in the 15-year agreement it signed three years ago with the Pasco County School Board. But it’s still asking the board to continue the contract. The board will decide at its June 6 meeting. Gradebook.

Teacher training: A teacher training program at Potter Elementary School in Hillsborough County is on hold at least until the school district sees what happens with the state education budget. Potter, which has received four straight F grades from the state, has struggled to recruit and retain teachers, and district officials hoped the training plan, run by the University of South Florida, would raise the performance of the school’s mostly inexperienced staff. Gradebook.

Teachers honored: Charlie Huber, a former aerospace engineer now teaching at Boynton Beach High School, is named beginning teacher of the year for secondary schools in the Palm Beach County School District, and Meghan Busman-Barron of Heritage Elementary wins the award for primary schools. Palm Beach Post.

Sales tax benefits: St. Johns County school officials outline how the district will spend the expected $150 million expected to be brought in by the half-cent sales tax increase over the next 10 years. The first of the new projects, Picolata Crossing Elementary School in the World Golf Village area, opens in August. St. Augustine Record.

Testing anxiety: Officials at several low-performing Pasco County schools are anxiously awaiting testing results from the state. They think they’re making progress, but know even if they do improve there is a lot of work still to be done. Tampa Bay Times.

Personnel moves: Gulf County School Superintendent Jim Norton says the district couldn’t wait any longer for a resolution of the state and education budgets, and has filled its open positions. Port St. Joe Star.

Coach cries foul: Suspended Lincoln High School boys basketball coach Dimitric Salters criticizes the Leon County School District for the way it handled the investigation into his alleged financial improprieties. Salters was placed on leave in January after an investigation allegedly showed he deposited more than $13,000 meant for the basketball team into an unauthorized account. He was arrested in March and accused of fraud, grand theft and passing a forged document. Tallahassee Democrat.

Students arrested: Five past or current students at Seven Springs Middle School in Pasco County, ranging in age from 12 to 14, are arrested and accused of burglarizing and vandalizing the school. Tampa Bay Times.

Opinions on schools: Some of the most controversial changes in the education bill would treat charter schools like they’re no longer an experiment. They’d be treated like an established part of the public education system — and funded accordingly. Travis Pillow, redefinED. Summer jobs teach students lessons they can’t get at school. Joe Henderson, Tampa Bay Times. A veto of the education bill will help parental involvement in Polk County schools. School board member Lynn Wilson, Lakeland Ledger. I wasn’t asked to give a graduation speech, but if I had been it would have been filled with the same lines every commencement speaker has said at every high school and college graduation over the last century. Brent Batten, Naples Daily News.

Student enrichment: Amber Yang, an 18-year-old senior at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, wins a top prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She gets $50,000 for creating a mathematical formula to predict the location of space debris. Orlando Sentinel. Margate Middle School wins the national Vocabulary Bowl middle school division. Sun Sentinel. Andrea Ible, a third-grade teacher at South Grade Elementary in Lake Worth, raises money to buy clothes, socks and tennis shoes for 20 needy students. Palm Beach Post. Port St. Joe Junior/Senior High School senior Kristen Bird is chosen as one of 435 congressional art winners. Port St. Joe Star.