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.

One part of Florida’s complex public school funding program is drawing fire from two Republican state senators.  They’re calling for a study of what’s known as the district cost differential.

Judge Sides With State On Charter School Standards

Jul 24, 2017
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Rejecting arguments of charter schools, an administrative law judge Friday upheld a plan that would make charter schools ineligible for state construction and facilities money if they have “D” performance grades in two consecutive years.

Education advocates ran into a buzz saw of tough questions Tuesday in their fight to revive an adequacy lawsuit based on a 1998 constitutional amendment.   Appellants cited test scores, but a three-judge panel with the First District Court of Appeal appeared skeptical.

Citizens for Strong Schools attorney Jodi Siegel argued Florida’s public schools can’t possibly be meeting the “high-quality” and “uniform” standard voters demanded when testing shows thousands of poor and minority students are lagging behind.

Cathy Carter / WUSF Public Media

At the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, a dozen or so kindergartners gather for a pop quiz, next to a coop holding an injured bird.

Next to home mortgages, student loans are America’s second highest amount of debt. Florida U.S Senator Bill Nelson wants to reduce that figure. Jocelyn Beever reports.

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Two recent college graduates have decided to sue the state for skipping out on school payments.

In the middle of the school year, Hayden Dallip was at home in Miami Gardens when he got a call from his seventh-grade daughter. “She was crying—she said, 'Daddy, hurry up and come to the school.' " The phone call home came after a fight with another student. “I said, 'what’s going on, what’s going on?' She said, ‘Please come to the school because they suspended me,” Dallip recounted.

The Florida Department of Education has released school grades for the 2016-17 school year.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed a law guaranteeing religious expression in schools.

The House version of the bill was sponsored by Rep. Kim Daniels, D-Jacksonville, who's also a pastor. When she presented it to the House in April, she said it clarifies what’s already legal.

Scott Signs Health Care, Renewable Energy Bills

Jun 19, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott late Friday signed 13 bills, including a 59-page health care bill that is linked to the new state budget.

A group of students at Miami Norland Senior High in Miami Gardens spent part of their freshman year writing about their lives in poems and short stories.

The loss of a parent, struggling with low self-esteem, racism and homelessness are among the central themes in the narratives they penned about themselves.

Now sophomores, some of their works are collected in a new self-published book, “iRead, iThink, iWrite.”

Cathy Carter

There's little doubt that America is becoming more diverse.

Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the nation's public schools. But differences can extend beyond race and ethnicity, as students in Sarasota County are learning.

Judge Rules Against Tampa School On Football Game Prayer

Jun 9, 2017
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A federal judge has sided with the Florida High School Athletic Association in a dispute about whether a Christian school should have been allowed to offer a prayer over a stadium loudspeaker before a football championship game.

Gregory Adkins, superintendent of The School District of Lee County, held a press conference backed by about 50 district employees.

"We demand Governor Rick Scott veto House Bill 7069," he said, standing at a lectern. 

Adkins was referring to contentious legislation that concerns K-12 education in the state. Last month, the district sent a letter to the governor, asking that HB 7069 be vetoed. 

With time running out in this week’s special session, state lawmakers have lined up a showdown over education funding.  Both chambers are planning final votes Friday. 

The Florida Senate is setting the stage to override Governor Rick Scott’s veto of public school funding.  But House lawmakers say the Senate is on its own.

School officials and teachers unions across the state have expressed outrage over a comprehensive education bill passed by the Florida legislature, and are calling for a veto from Gov. Rick Scott. Their objections stem -- in part -- from a requirement that public schools share local taxpayer revenue with charter schools for capital projects.

Governor Rick Scott says he will veto the legislature’s education funding proposal, sending lawmakers back to the drawing board in a special session next week. Scott says he and legislative leaders have agreed to spend another $200 million for education, and put more money into the state’s tourism and job recruitment agencies.

State College Cuts Spur Calls For Budget Veto

May 28, 2017

Upset over a $30 million cut in remedial education funding, state-college advocates are asking Gov. Rick Scott to veto a $1.2 billion portion of the state budget, forcing lawmakers to revamp the spending plan for the 28 colleges.

USF Looks To Add Faculty, Boost Standing

May 25, 2017

With the goal of becoming one of the top public-research institutions in the country, the University of South Florida is being guided by a plan to hire 300 new faculty members over the next five years.

The plan would reduce the student-to-faculty ratio on the Tampa campus from the current 22 students per instructor to a 19-to-1 ratio. The move could help the school increase research funding, attract more top-quality faculty and help students graduate more quickly with degrees in high-demand professions.