Florida schools roundup: Class sizes and teacher pay, tax holiday and more

Class size changes: A proposal is filed with the Constitution Revision Commission that would make it easier for school districts to comply with the 2002 amendment capping class sizes, and redirect all savings toward increasing teacher pay to the national average. Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and a member of the commission, made the proposal to would allow schools to average out the number of students rather than require them to have a maximum number in each class. If the commission approves the proposal, it would appear on the November 2018 and have to receive 60 percent support to go into effect. News Service of FloridaGradebook.

Back-to-school tax holiday: Gov. Rick Scott is proposing a 10-day back-to-school tax holiday as part of the $180 million tax cut package in his budget. The holiday, which would run from July 27 to Aug. 5, 2018, would apply to clothing, shoes, school supplies and some computers and accessories. Associated Press. News Service of FloridaNaples Daily News and Fort Myers News-Press. Sunshine State News.

H.B. 7069 lawsuit: Florida school officials will hold a series of workshops this week to work on a draft rule for the “Schools of Hope” provision in H.B. 7069. The Department of Education is proposing to loosen the requirements by which a charter school company can be designated a “hope operator,” which could then open a school within 5 miles of a persistently struggling traditional public school. Politico Florida. Miami-Dade County School Board chairman Lawrence Feldman wants to set a Jan. 16 deadline for the Legislature to amend the state’s new education law, H.B. 7069. If lawmakers don’t act, Miami-Dade would then join other districts in the suit challenging the constitutionality of the law. The school board is expected to vote on the proposal next week. WLRN

Discipline complaint: The Lee County NAACP files an amended complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights alleging that “students of color here are more likely than their white peers to be removed from the classroom, suspended, expelled, referred to law enforcement and forced out of school.” The complaint was filed in September, and amended last week to include additional statistics on student discipline and academic performance. Fort Myers News-Press.

Teachers honored: Patrick Farley, a 5th-grade teacher at Crystal Lake Elementary in Stuart, is chosen Martin County’s teacher of the year. Adam Day is the high school teacher of the year. He teaches science at Jensen Beach High. Matthew Mesorana, a math teacher at Indiantown Middle, is the middle school teacher of the year. TCPalm.

Middle school move: Brevard County School Board member Matt Susin wants to move 6th grades from the county’s elementary schools to middle schools. “We are only one of two districts — out of 67 in the state of Florida — that have sixth grade in elementary school,” says Susin. “We have an abundance of kids in our elementary schools. If we take sixth grade and move it to the middle schools, all of a sudden, every school that we have that’s under capacity comes up to capacity in middle school. And all of a sudden our elementary schools that are bursting at the seams will go back to normal capacity.” Viera Voice.

Location, location: Hernando County School Superintendent Loris Romano is in a dispute with a school board member over the placement of the board’s secretary. So Romano is asking the state’s other 66 superintendents where they locate school board secretaries and school board members. Romano says she asked for the information to provide the board with updated information. Gradebook. The St. Lucie County School District’s administrative office flooded during Hurricane Irma and is still being repaired, so school officials are renting space at Indian River State College’s Pruitt Campus for human resources, student assignment and other offices. TCPalm.

Personnel moves: Frank Brogan, former education commissioner, lieutenant governor and chancellor of Florida’s university system, begins work as an assistant secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education for the U.S. Department of Education even though he has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Politico Florida.

Word funeral: A Sarasota County 5th-grade teacher’s assignment that had students perform a mock funeral for an overused word in essays is criticized by a parent who wrote on Facebook, “Clearly every adult who thought this was a good idea has led a life with no loss.” Administrators at the Pine View School removed the mock funeral post from the school’s Facebook page. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Teacher could be fired: Marion County school officials are recommending that a 4th-grade teacher be fired for his inattentiveness during class in October at Greenway Elementary School. A girl in Richard Collins’ class struck her head and began crying, but district officials say Collins sent her out for recess anyway. Later she was sent back to the classroom, alone, began vomiting and had to be taken to a hospital with a suspected concussion. Ocala Star-Banner.

Parent arrested at school: A woman is arrested at San Antonio Elementary School in Pasco and accused of battering two school officials and another parent. Angela Robens, 35, was at the school to pick up her daughter but didn’t have the pickup card, and was asked to check in at the front office. Instead she grabbed her daughter and ran, striking three people when she was confronted. WFLA.

Opinions on schools: I used to think that the most important thing to do to improve the preparation of Florida’s students for college majors in rigorous STEM fields was to change state education policies – to require physics and precalculus for Bright Futures scholarships, for example. Now I think it is more important to educate parents about the expanded opportunities their children will have in college and career if they prepare properly in high school. Paul Cottle, Bridge to Tomorrow.

Student enrichment: A dozen Palm Beach County students who were chosen in an essay contest get to talk live with Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli as he orbited Earth aboard the International Space Station. Palm Beach Post. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Department donates a used, unmarked car to students in the Criminal Justice Academy at New Smyrna Beach High School. The car will help the students simulate the duties of an officer. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Two students at the Challenger K-8 school in Hernando County, 8th-grader Asher Gibson and 6th-grader Paul Oliveri, are honored for earning perfect scores on different sections of the Florida Standards Assessments. Tampa Bay Times.

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BY NextSteps staff