We're dedicated to telling you stories about policy and public spending, and how they affect students in Florida schools. Our WUSF News reporters team up with our public media partners across Florida to bring you a more comprehensive look at learning.

To see coverage from our prior StateImpact Florida project, visit here.

Sarasota County Schools

Officials with Sarasota County Schools are reaching out to the community for their thoughts and suggestions on how to improve the school's security in preparation for a meeting with Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday.

Barely 24 hours into the campaign, the district had already received nearly 400 responses.

Ponce de Leon Elementary School / Facebook

The Florida Parent Teacher Association will be holding a statewide candlelight vigil for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.

Two main views tend to emerge when it comes to the topic of school vouchers.

Advocates say they give disadvantaged kids access to better schools. But opponents say vouchers drain money and resources from traditional public schools.  


As South Florida reels from Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Broward County high school, State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, is working to secure funding for Florida school districts to better identify and address mental health concerns in students early on. 

Despite high graduation rates and increases in awarded degrees, a bill in the Senate looks to give Florida’s Community College System a governing facelift. This has led many community college leaders to warn of the unnecessary and unintended consequences that may result from such a bill.

"When it comes to school violence, it's not a matter of if, but when."

That was the first line of an opinion column published in the Tallahassee Democrat two weeks before Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The writer was Bill Lee, president of the Florida Association of School Administrators.

His group wants more money for "Safe Schools," a state Department of Education program that handles student safety through a number of initiatives, particularly funding public school resource officers.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

School districts across Florida are reviewing their security plans and addressing safety concerns after a mass shooting at a Broward County high school earlier this week that killed 17 people. 

Florida’s student body has never been more diverse. But the state’s schools are also becoming more segregated. A recent study by the LeRoy Collins Foundation shows a marked increase in intensely segregated schools, spurred by demographic changes and the rise of private and charter academies. To understand why these changes are happening, WFSU looked back at Florida’s attempts at integration.

South Florida made the cut for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2). It’s one of 20 finalist cities that submitted proposals based on several metrics, including physical site space, transportation options and access to an educated work force.


Teachers' Unions Threatened By Florida House Bill

Feb 12, 2018

House Bill 7055 has been a lightning rod for controversy. The measure is known for a move to offer bullied students scholarships for private or charter schools. But, tucked away in the bill’s 200 pages, one provision threatens teachers’ unions with decertification.

From third to fifth grade, Alyson Hochstedler says bullies slammed her son into lockers and punched him. One threatened to stab him. The public school's administration did little to stop his tormentors, she says, so the mother of five transferred her son to a private school, using a state grant for low- and middle-income families to pay his tuition.

While Florida lawmakers approved funding for the so-called Hope Scholarship program as part of the House budget proposal, bills creating the program are still making their way through the committee process.

Last May, two Miami-Dade public school employees resigned amid investigations into allegations that they had engaged in inappropriate relationships with female students.

Alex Osuna, then 34, a marine science teacher and girl’s lacrosse team coach at Miami Palmetto Senior High, and Darryl Ward, then 49, a security guard at Coral Reef Senior High and a part-time coach for the school’s football and track and field teams, quit their jobs within a day of each other.

A court hearing was held Tuesday morning for nine Florida State University students facing criminal hazing charges. FSU President John Thrasher is optimistic new Greek life regulations will bring about a cultural change.

Florida Department of Health

While the flu is causing problems around the country, the number of students and teachers infected in Pinellas County has increased this year.   

The Florida Senate has unanimously passed a bill that allows state lawmakers to visit schools in their district, on any day and any time. That currently only applies to school board members as well as members of a charter school governing board. And, right now, principals or superintendents have the option to refuse a lawmaker’s visit or limit the scope of the visit. So, under Sen. Dorothy Hukill’s (R-Port Orange) bill, legislators can give a “heads up” or make it a surprise visit.

Wiki Commons

In 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into federal law. ESSA passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. It's a long-term plan that succeeds the No Child Left Behind Act.

A budget proposal that is advancing in the Legislature would make next year's funding for Florida's public schools contingent on the passage of Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran's chief education priority: a new voucher directing taxpayer dollars to private schools.

Education System Challenge Put On Hold By Florida Supreme Court

Jan 30, 2018

The Florida Supreme Court has put on hold a long-running lawsuit alleging that the state has failed to meet its constitutional duty of providing a high-quality system of public schools.

Florida Senate Seeks Slightly Higher Student Funding Than House

Jan 25, 2018

A key Senate education panel released a budget proposal Wednesday that would increase public-school funding by $110 per student in 2018-2019.