College admittance, facilities plan, liability suit, high school milk drive and more

College admittance: In an increasingly competitive environment for college admittance, nearly 1,000 students who lacked the test scores or grades were admitted to Florida universities in the fall of 2018, according to state data. The “alternate admits” made up about 3 percent of the 30,670 freshmen who began college last August. University officials say they consider more than grades and test scores for admission, and accept some students to make classes more diverse or give students the opportunity to be the first in their family to attend college. Orlando Sentinel.

Master facilities plan approved: Duval County School Board members vote 5-1 to approve the $1.9 billion master plan to replace and renovate schools. The plan, which will have to be approved by voters, has undergone significant changes since it was first proposed. School officials wanted the referendum on the ballot this November but the Jacksonville City Council, which has to approve the measure, would prefer November 2020 because of the cost and expected low turnout. A new council being sworn in this month will take up the request. Florida Times-Union. WJXT.

Rural districts back limits: A coalition of rural Florida school districts have filed a brief to the state Supreme Court urging it to uphold a lower court decision capping the liability of the Broward County School Board for the 2018 shootings that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. That decision agreed with the state’s argument that the shooting was a single event, which limits the district’s liability to $300,000 instead of the $200,000 each plaintiff could receive if it had been determined that each death or injury was a separate event. Lawyers for the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium say overruling the lower court decision could have a “devastating” financial impact on small districts that face similar catastrophes. News Service of Florida.

Got milk? Dairy groups are providing subsidies to high schools in Florida and other states to open coffee bars offering such drinks as iced lattes, smoothies and hot chocolate as part of a national campaign to try to stem the decline in milk consumption. In Florida, for example, a dairy group paid for coffee carts in 21 high schools this past school year. “We’re just exploring everything we can,” said George Siemon, the former CEO of Organic Valley, an organic food brand and independent cooperative in Wisconsin.  Associated Press.

Florida student test scores: More school districts from around the state are reporting how their students did on the Florida Standards Assessments tests, and what the test scores mean. Tallahassee Democrat. Tallahassee Democrat. Tallahassee Reports. Orlando Sentinel. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Flagler Live. Charlotte Sun.

District, charter spar: The Manatee County School District says the Lincoln Memorial Academy charter school violated its contract by failing to comply with requests for document. The financially struggling school was ordered by the state to file a corrective plan by June 28, which it did, but the school district says it’s incomplete and the two sides are at a stalemate. The school board will discuss the “financial instability of the school and the resulting breach of contract” at its July 23 meeting, the district’s attorney Mitchell Teitelbaum has informed the school. Bradenton Herald.

College, academy split: Hillsdale College is cutting its affiliation with the Mason Classical Academy in Naples next month after two of the academy’s board members have refused to resign. The college called for the resignations after a Collier County School District investigation detailed a breach of charter contract, lack of financial oversight, Sunshine Law violations and incomplete board meeting minutes. “Why would I resign when there hasn’t even been due process?” said Kelly Lichter, the president of the academy board.  Naples Daily News.

Portables are out: A Palm Beach County charter school will have to turn away students in the fall after a city denies its appeal to keep its portable classrooms another year. The Academy for Positive Learning received permission from Lake Worth Beach in 2013 to use nine portable classrooms with the condition that they be gone by July 2018. School officials wouldn’t say how many of the K-8 students it will lose. The school had 131 students last year. Palm Beach Post.

School programs: Trinity Catholic School in Tallahassee is in the process of launching an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, with teachers undergoing training this summer. Trinity also wants to become an IB World School, a process that will take two years. Tallahassee Democrat.

Personnel moves: Vidal Olivo is named principal of the Palm Bay Academy Middle School in Brevard County. Space Coast Daily.

School board elections: Mara Zapata, a member of the Miami Springs City Council since 2017, announces she is running for the District 5 seat on the Miami-Dade County School Board next year. Also in the race is Gianfranco Puppio-Perez. Current member Susie Castillo has said she isn’t running for re-election. Florida Politics.

Finally a graduate: A 94-year-old World War II veteran has received a diploma this week from Wellington High School in Palm Beach County. Robert Wasson dropped out in 1942 at the age of 16 to enlist. The school was contacted on his behalf this spring and Monday, he received his diploma at his assisted living facility. Palm Beach Post.

School supply drives: After 17 years of collaborating to stage a school supply drive, the Marion County School District and the Marion County Veterans Council have decided to hold separate drives. Officials from both organizations attribute the split to personality conflicts and contractual issues. The combined drive has collected more than $500,000 in supplies. Ocala Star-Banner.

Ex-teacher sues district: A fired teacher is suing the Volusia County School Board for racial discrimination. Andre L. Grant was fired in March 2017 as a math teacher for special education students at University High School. His suit alleges that he was then offered a job at Spruce Creek High in July 2017, but the offer was withdrawn and the job instead went to a less qualified white teacher. District officials say the offer to Grant was rescinded after the Florida Department of Education put an alert on his teaching certificate. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Opinions on school: After revelations of a rise in workers’ compensation claims filed by Sarasota County teachers and staff, many of which were the result of physical encounters with students, the school district should respond like firefighters encountering a four-alarm blaze — with urgency and resources. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. If we truly want to help students, let’s drop the misguided state school grading system and do the work, providing the resources and support to build a more equitable, high-quality system of free neighborhood public schools. Fedrick Ingram, Tampa Bay Times. We at the Calvary City Academy and Preschool stand for love, so we have eliminated the part of our application stating that parents who are LGBTQ cannot send their children to our school. This policy does not reflect the actual practice at our school. Rev. Nino Gonzalez, Orlando Sentinel. The Florida Parent Network, the largest advocacy network of its kind and a model for every educational choice program in the United States, is now Florida Voices For Choices. Its new name reflects the tremendous growth and diversity in the education choice movement, but its mission remains the same. Catherine Durkin Robinson, redefinED.