It was with great fanfare in 2009 that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it was giving $100 million to Hillsborough County schools for a program called Empowering Effective Teachers -- one of just three public school districts in the country awarded the grant.

At the time, it was at the forefront of the movement to pay teachers for performance, rather than seniority.

Now, the district won't be getting a fifth of that money. And the consequences to the school district's budget are coming clear. Increases in teacher pay and bonuses haven't been matched by the Gates Foundation money or other revenue, forcing the school district to dip into its financial reserves.

University of Central Florida president John Hitt delivered the State of the University address this afternoon to what is now the nation’s second largest college student body.

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins brought the latest data on school suspensions to the Hillsborough County school board on Tuesday. He said out-of-school suspensions were down 53 percent from the same time period last year. Eakins said there were several reasons why.

"There is strong advocacy for kids," Eakins said. "There are increased interventions at school sites prior to suspension.  There is increased communication between our principals and our area superintendents." Eakins said he was "very proud" of the numbers.

More than 80 colleges are creating a website where students will be able to apply to dozens of them and get help along the way.

Superintendents Issue Rebuke Of School Accountability System

Sep 27, 2015

Less than a month after the Department of Education touted the validity of a new standardized test, Florida school superintendents issued a statement saying they have "lost confidence" in the state's public-school accountability system.

"We have witnessed the erosion of public support for an accountability system that was once a model for the nation,'' the Florida Association of District School Superintendents said in the statement released Friday.

Wikimedia Commons

Know the joke about how many college students it takes to screw in a light bulb?

Probably not, since it’s not a real joke. Nor is the decision some comedians are making to avoid college campuses where they say students today are too easily offended.

The State University System of Florida’s Board of Governors is asking state lawmakers to give them funding for more law enforcement and mental health counseling positions.

Proponents said the roughly $20 million would make state campuses safer.

Florida’s Board of Education wants to set a high bar for student performance in the state’s new standardized test, and it's calling for  higher cut scores beyond what a review committee has recommended.

Board Members Push For Higher Standards

Sep 22, 2015

State Board of Education members are pushing for Florida officials to use the transition to a new standardized test as an opportunity to boost how well public school students have to do on the exam to be judged "proficient."

stanfordtech / Flickr

Last week the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released the results of a global study looking at the effect of technology on 15-year-olds test scores.

The group oversees one of the most important international exams, so their research matters.

Florida authorities on Wednesday closed a six-month investigation into a cyberattack that created delays and widespread problems for students trying to take the state's high-stakes standardized tests.

MGN Online

A bill that would allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns on state university campuses is advancing in the Legislature.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted 3-2 on Wednesday in favor of the bill.

The vote came after testimony from people with strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

Opponents said allowing guns in an atmosphere that is often stressful is a mistake. They also said campuses are among the safest places in the country, so there's no need to add guns.

Robin Sussingham

A magnet program in Tampa that prepares students for careers in the maritime industry is celebrating the start of its third year tonight with an event at the Sheraton Riverwak. The program now hopes to attract more business support.

There are nine juniors enrolled in the Maritime Honors Academy at Jefferson High School in Tampa. And several of them say they completely changed direction after learning about the shipping industry for the first time. Ashley Hallaian is one such student.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

For weeks now, Palm Beach County schools have struggled to get students to classes on time.

Bus routes have been redrawn. And the district sent up flares, looking to hire anyone who wants to drive a bus.

Florida State University football fans who go to the game this weekend can bring their guns — if they have a concealed weapons permit and they keep them locked in their cars, the school said Wednesday, the day after being sued for a policy that bans guns on campus.

  A Florida State University student who wants to bring her gun to this weekend's football game sued the school Tuesday over a policy that bans legal gun owners from locking their firearms in their cars while in the stadium cheering on their team.

George Jenkins High School

There's growing concern about the risks of concussions in young athletes. For years, high school coaches have had to take courses on the dangers of head injuries. This year, for the first time, all high school athletes in Florida are required to educate themselves about concussions before they can compete.

Wikipedia Commons

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is joining those who are calling for federal review of Pinellas County’s use of Title I funds for education.  

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

As schools open for a new school year, they'll also start encountering student poverty and homelessness. At last count -- the 2013/2014 school year --  the number of homeless students had risen to more than 71,000 in the state's public schools. For many of these children, a brand new school uniform may be out of reach, though school officials say it makes a big impact on their attitude. One longtime charity in Lakeland is quietly helping to fill that need.

Pinellas Teachers Make Back-To-School House Calls

Aug 24, 2015
M.S. Butler

At the beginning of each school year, making new students feel welcome and building a rapport with them is a big part of getting off to a smooth start. And at one Pinellas County middle school, teachers and staff aren't waiting for the students to come to them.

It's no secret that not every student is excited about going back to school at the end of summer.

On the first day of school some will be waiting at the bus stop with a backpack of new notebooks and a stomach full of butterflies.