Florida schools roundup: Education amendment, funding request and more

Education amendment: A proposed constitutional amendment that bundles three education issues will appear on the November ballot. The Constitution Revision Commission, in a 27-10 vote, approves Proposal 6003, which calls for eight-year term limits on school board members, gives the authority to approve charter schools to an entity other than local school boards, and requires civics to be taught in public schools. It was one of eight amendments approved on Monday. Another education proposal, which would have allowed “high-performing” public school districts to apply for an exemption from following some state laws and regulations, as charter schools can now, was rejected by the CRC. There will be 13 amendment proposals on the ballot. Each must be approved by 60 percent of voters to take effect. Miami Herald. News Service of FloridaGradebook. redefinED. Orlando SentinelAssociated Press. Politico Florida.

Education funding: The state’s school superintendents say that if legislators are going to be called for a special session on gambling, they should also reconsider funding for education. The Florida Association of District School Superintendents wants the Legislature to increase the base allocation by $152 per student, which would cost the state about $300 million. It also wants to be able to use money from the program that calls for arming school employees to instead hire school resource officers. A previous request by the group for a special session to take another look at education funding was denied. Gradebook.

School security and budgets: The Sarasota County School Board meets today to discuss ways to cut $3.1 million from its budget so it can comply with the state requirement to have a resource officer in every school. Florida School Boards Association executive director Andrea Messina says many of Florida’s 67 school districts are having the same discussions, and the funding gap is growing in counties like Sarasota, where law enforcement agencies are declining to share in the costs of providing the officers. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The St. Johns County School District also has difficult budget decisions to make, says Mike Degutis, the district’s chief financial officer. “This 2018-19 budget is a major blow to Florida’s public K-12 education,” he says. Sheriff David Shoar says putting a deputy in every school will cost $3.5 million. St. Augustine Record. The Monroe County School Board is considering asking the Monroe County Education Foundation for help with its budget problems. The board blames the state’s unfunded mandates. Key West Citizen.

Students suing state: Eight Florida students are suing the state and Gov. Rick Scott to force them to start working on a “climate recovery plan” to combat the effects of climate change. The suit alleges that Florida is violating the public trust by failing to protect certain essential natural resources, such as beaches. Miami Herald. GateHouse. Meet the 10-year-old Satellite Beach boy who is part of the lawsuit. Isadora Rangel, Florida Today.

School shooting developments: Broward County deputies who arrived at the scene of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 had trouble pinning down where the gunfire was coming from, according to reports from Coral Springs police officers that were released Monday. But the Coral Springs officers quickly determined the location of the shooting and rushed the building. Miami Herald. Sun-Sentinel. Associated Press.

Politics and schools: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum says if elected, he’ll bump the corporate income tax rate to 7.75 percent to raise $1 billion for public education. He says he’d spend at least $400 million for teacher raises to make the starting salary $50,000 a year, $250 million for early childhood education, $100 million for public school construction and $100 million for vocational training. Other Democratic candidates are former U.S. representative Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, and Winter Park businessman Chris King. The primary is Aug. 28. Florida Politics.

Shelter request tabled: The Alachua County School Board’s request that the county reinforce the new fairgrounds building so it can be a hurricane shelter has been tabled by commissioners, who say they don’t have the money to do so. The school board made the request to alleviate problems caused by using schools as shelters. WUFT.

Student ‘bracott’: Just a handful of students at Braden River High School participate in a protest against school dress codes Monday by refusing to wear a bra. “It was a completely uneventful day,” says district spokesman Mike Barber, who added that no students were disciplined for being dressed inappropriately. One student did wear a T-shirt that said, “Do my ni**les offend you?” The “bracott” was called after a 17-year-old student at Braden River was ordered to put bandages over her nipples when she didn’t wear a bra one day last week. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

New school name: A new elementary school in south Orange County will be named after Sally Ride, the first American woman in space and the youngest American when she flew on the space shuttle Challenger in June 1983. The renovated school, which will house students who had attended Durrance and Cypress Park elementary schools, will include an aerospace and aviation magnet program. Orlando Sentinel.

PreK expansion: PreK enrollment in St. Johns County public schools has doubled in the past three years, and the district is expanding its programs for those students. St. Augustine Record.

Student arrested: A 16-year-old Brevard County student is arrested after threatening to “blow up” the Space Coast Christian Academy in Cocoa. Police say the threat turned out to be a hoax, but the boy faces a felony charge. Florida Today.

Opinions on schools: With the Constitution Revision Commission’s final approval of amendments for the ballot, the political damage wrought by such a cynical power play is clear. This has been a colossal waste of time and a wasted opportunity that won’t come around again for 20 years. Voters are too smart to accept such one-sided trades as civic literacy in exchange for neutering local school districts. Tampa Bay Times. The Flagler County School District is going into the policing and investigative business well beyond school campuses under the guise of adding one more tool of protective “awareness” to its arsenal. The aim is defensible. The method is not. Pierre Tristam, Flagler Live.

Student enrichment: Leesburg High School wins the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s Students in Action Oral Presentation competition for community service projects and advances to the national competition in Washington, D.C., this summer. Daily Commercial.