Victims’ families take emotional tours of Parkland school crime scene, Fine not a finalist for FAU presidency, and more

Around the state: Families of the victims of the Parkland school shooting in 2018 begin taking somber tours of the building where the shootings took place before it’s torn down, state Rep. Randy Fine is not among the three finalists being considered for the Florida Atlantic University presidency, Duval is considering limiting or ending transportation to magnet schools as a way to save money, a presidential search committee is recommending that the next New College of Florida president be paid between $487,000 and $868,000 a year, a Palm Beach County School Board member has his license to practice law suspended by the state for 10 days, and a Pasco County school will offer courses in artificial intelligence when it opens this fall. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Miami-Dade: Another organization is citing “escalating waves of hostile actions and legislation coming out of Florida” as the reason it’s moving its annual convention in October from Miami to Chicago. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning said in a letter that the group made the “difficult decision” because, “While no place can be 100 percent safe, Florida this fall did not feel like the best place to gather for our annual conference,” said organization president Laxmi Ramasubramanian. It was reported last week that at least five organizations have recently canceled planned for conventions in Orlando because of the state’s “increasingly anti-humanitarian legislation.” Florida Phoenix.

Broward: Family members of 17 students and employees murdered in the 1200 building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 took heart-wrenching tours through the crime scene on Wednesday. For Tony Montalto and his wife Jennifer, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was gunned down, the moment brought a flood of emotions. “Sadness, anger, disbelief,” he said. “A profound sadness that we lost our beautiful daughter; that’s always the pervasive feeling. Disbelief that she got shot, and then the anger that nobody’s gotten held accountable.” Other walkthroughs are being offered this week and next to more families of victims, as well as survivors, before the building is torn down next month. Sun-Sentinel. Miami Herald. WPLG. WSVN. WFOR. WTVJ. Associated Press.

Orange: Hundreds of teachers rallied Wednesday at the Orange County Convention Center against recent state laws that affect education. The “Freedom to Learn” rally was part of the National Education Association’s annual meeting. Particularly targeted were laws that have led to books being removed or restricted in school libraries and the restriction of discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms. WMFE. WKMG. Spectrum News 13. WFTV. A 17-year-old junior at Lake Highland Preparatory School has been chosen as one of 10 finalists in a national contest of students who made their prom dresses using only the Duck Tape brand of duct tape. Ziqin Chiodi used 18 rolls to create a red gown influenced by traditional Chinese designs. The winner will announced in two weeks. Orlando Sentinel.

Palm Beach: Florida’s Supreme Court has suspended school board member Edwin Robinson’s right to practice law for 10 days after he was accused by a client of failing to act on behalf of her disabled daughter in a personal injury lawsuit. Robinson did not attend a scheduled hearing, and the suit was dismissed. Robinson told the Florida Bar a settlement had been reached, but a final agreement was never finalized. Robinson paid his client $15,000, must pay a $750 fine to the Bar and also complete ethics training. Palm Beach Post.

Duval: District officials are considering limiting or even ending transportation to magnet schools as a way to cut costs. Busing costs the district about $63 million a year, and those costs are expected to keep rising. In April, former superintendent Diana Greene told the school board, “We have to come have this tough conversation. I’m sorry, but we will not survive if we continue at this rate.” Other ideas under consideration include changing bus eligibility for students who live more than 2 miles from school, encouraging students to use public transportation, and more. Any changes made wouldn’t go into effect for several years. Jacksonville Today.

Pasco: Courses in artificial intelligence will be available at a school opening this fall in Land O’Lakes for students in grades 6-10. Angeline Academy of Innovation is one of the first schools in the state to offer the curriculum in technology and science with programs in bio-design with a biomedical focus, engineering with applied robotics, and cybersecurity with computer science as part of the Florida Department of Education Division of Career and Technical Education Programs. “My personal opinion, as an educator and as the leader of a STEM school, is that we need to embrace and explore this technology,” said JoAnne Glenn, Angeline’s principal. WFTS.

Volusia: Free breakfasts and lunches will be available to all district public school students during the 2023-2024 school year, officials announced this week. The meals are available through the Community Eligibility Provision under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. WFTV. Volusia County School District.

Walton: Thomas Miller has been named the executive director of Seaside School Inc., which operates the oldest charter school in the state. Miller, who is moving from North Carolina, will oversee the expansion of the Seaside Collegiate High School on the south Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College. WJHG.

Colleges and universities: The search for a new Florida Atlantic University president has been narrowed to three finalists, but one name stands out for its absence. State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, who said he was under consideration and drew support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, is not a finalist. Fine declined to comment. The finalists are Vice Admiral Sean Buck, superintendent of the United States Naval Academy; Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business at Florida State University; and Jose Sartarelli, the former chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Stacy Volnick has been the interim president since late last year, after replacing John Kelly, who announced in June 2022 that he would be stepping down at the end of that year. Sun-Sentinel. Palm Beach Post. Politico Florida. News Service of Florida. Florida Today. WPTV. Florida Politics. The Capitolist. The next New College of Florida president should be paid between $487,000 and $868,000, the presidential search committee recommended this week. Trustees meet today to consider the proposal. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. News Service of Florida. A revised lawsuit filed by Florida A&M University students is accusing the state of violating federal laws by allowing FAMU to remain “separate and unequal” to other state universities. News Service of Florida. State laws approved in the past year have changed higher education in Florida. Here’s a look at those changes, and what’s coming next. Tampa Bay Times.

More on test scores: Results from the new standardized Florida Assessment of Student Thinking exams were announced last week. Fifty percent of students in grades 3-10 scored at grade-level or above in English language arts, and 56 percent of those in grades 3-8 performed at grade-level or above in math. Here are some reports from districts around the state. Lee. Collier. Brevard.

Around the nation: A survey of high school students concludes that while they value a college education, they are increasingly open to alternatives. While 65 percent of students agreed they need education beyond high school, 59 percent said they can be successful without a college degree. Forty-eight percent said their post-high school education should take three years or less, and 35 percent said it should take two years or less. K-12 Dive. Confidential and personal documents about students are increasingly being dumped online by ransomware hackers whose financial demands are being refused by school districts. Among the information being exposed are student sexual assaults, psychiatric hospitalizations, abusive parents, truancy, as well as discrimination complaints, Social Security numbers and contact information of district employees. Associated Press.

Opinions on schools: The Rosenwald schools played a vital role in advancing black education in the American South and resembled the later charter school movement in important ways, with philanthropy providing the building infrastructure and other startup needs, and the states paying for the ongoing operating funding. Matthew Ladner, reimaginED. Research by the Stanford-based institute CREDO provides credible evidence that charter schools now have a small test-score edge over district schools. But CREDO’s methods mean the conclusions should be viewed with some caution. Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat.

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BY NextSteps staff