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.

In a unanimous decision, the Pinellas County School Board has voted to join a potential lawsuit against the state.

It now joins Polk, Orange, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward and six other state school districts in agreeing to share costs of a legal challenge to a new education law in Florida.

The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a case that challenged the constitutionality of a law that gives power to the State Board of Education in the approval of charter schools.

Justices turned down an appeal by the Palm Beach County School Board, which argued the law violates part of the state Constitution that gives local school boards the authority to “operate, control and supervise” public schools in their districts. As is common, the Supreme Court issued a one-page order that did not explain its reasons for declining to hear the case.

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The Pinellas County School Board is expected to vote Tuesday on whether or not to join a legal challenge to a controversial new education law.

The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, along with seven Florida teachers are suing the state, the Florida Department of Education and all 67 public school districts. That includes university lab schools, Florida Virtual School and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. At issue: whether the state's “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus program discriminates against black and Hispanic educators and those over 40.

Hillsborough County Schools

Many schools in the Tampa Bay area are just like residences -- no power.  That means none of the schools will be open Tuesday. Some will be closed even longer.

The Sarasota County School district is putting a new spin on the typical town hall meeting. On Wednesday, families can interact with school officials on a computer, tablet or smart phone.

The district's Digital Town Hall will be broadcast on its website, local cable TV, and on Facebook Live.

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The University of Tampa on Aug. 29 fired a visiting professor who tweeted that Texas was experiencing “instant karma” from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey because the state voted for Republicans.

“I don't believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas,” Kenneth Storey, an assistant professor of sociology, tweeted. “Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn't care about them.”

A South Florida Democrat is urging Congress to require stiffer background checks for hosts participating in international exchange programs.

Two more school districts have joined a lawsuit that challenges parts of a controversial state education law.

Morgan McMullen / WUSF Public Media

It’s the first day of organized football practice at Sunlake High School in Pasco County and about 60 students are running drills out in the field, wearing jerseys, shorts and helmets.


The country is eagerly anticipating Monday's total solar eclipse.

And local school districts are taking different approaches to the historic event.

Marion County Schools

Elementary school students in Marion County won't have any homework to do this school year.

Instead, the newly elected superintendent of the central Florida school district is asking families to read with their kids for at least 20 minutes a night.

With a student population just under 900, New College of Florida in Sarasota has plans to grow to 1,200 students by 2020, and now they have the money to do it. This summer the school started phase one of its growth plan with $5.4 million on funding- another $45 million is expected to be spent on new buildings, forty more professors, and expanding enrollment.

The School Boards in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have voted to authorize legal action to challenge a controversial new education bill.

Tampa Bay area school districts are still deciding whether to join them.

The School Board of Miami-Dade County voted on Wednesday to authorize legal action to challenge the controversial House Bill 7069, signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June. 

"The word that comes to mind is courage," said Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall during discussion. "We've got to have the courage to do what is right."

Some school districts are chafing under a provision meant to adjust funding based on cost of living.  They’re applauding an effort to study the system, but from different perspectives.

On the same spring day Chinese President Xi Jinping dined with President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate, six miles to the south a dozen fifth graders were also sitting down to dine.

Not for lunch. For art class.

At South Grade Elementary in Lake Worth, art teacher Rebecca Hinson is introducing her students to the next art form they’ll be studying: the art of table manners.

“We know that dogs eat, cows eat, pigs eat … but people dine,” said Hinson.

With computers returned to the discount list, Florida retailers are readying for back-to-school shoppers this weekend during the state's sales-tax “holiday.”

The holiday, which will run Friday through Sunday, is a large part of a tax-cut package (HB 7109) that lawmakers passed this spring. The package is projected to provide $91.6 million in tax breaks during the budget year that started July 1.

For many young girls its hard navigating middle and high school. There’s cafeteria politics coupled with changing relationships among friends and family. It’s also a time for body changes, and  one group of young women say with all they have going on, the last thing they want to deal with is a dress code.

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Florida's school districts are figuring out how to respond to a new state law that covers quite a lot, and may have a major impact.

On Tuesday, in what the Sarasota Herald-Tribune calls a "sharply-divided unanimous vote," Sarasota County's School Board voted not join a possible lawsuit.