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Education

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.

Madeline Pumariega, the chancellor of the Florida college system since 2015, is leaving her position early next month.

In a letter to state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart on Friday, Pumariega, a former top administrator at Miami Dade College, said her resignation is effective on Dec. 3. No reason for her resignation was given in the letter.

She is the first woman and first Hispanic educator to lead the system, which includes 28 colleges and about 720,000 full- and part-time students.

Florida’s retail industry is gearing up for this year’s back-to-school sales tax “holiday” on clothes, classroom supplies and computer equipment, with the state offering the tax break for five days .
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The founder of a company that operated charter schools in several Florida counties has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday in a nine-year-old case on K-12 education standards.

Sarasota High School / Sarasota County Schools

The Sarasota County School Board has voted to keep its new gender guidelines following weeks of acrimony over the issue of parental notification.

The instructions were sent to Sarasota County schools in October.

Panhandle schools hit hard by Hurricane Michael are re-opening, and many students are experiencing a “new normal” as they return. Some districts are having to get creative to get all students in the classroom.

Hillsborough County Public Schools

At a town hall early this month at Tampa's Pizzo Elementary, Hillsborough School Superintendent Jeff Eakins said the district was out of options and had to go for a sales tax.

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The Sarasota County School Board released a new set of gender guidelines that will allow transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds to their preferred gender identity and names. This decision came after years of back and forth on the best course of action.


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This year, there have been stories of schoolchildren being sent home because of blistering heat in classrooms where the air conditioning is either broken or on the way out.

Update: Many student borrowers have responded to this story by sharing stories of their struggles with PSLF. We've curated many of them here.

On the morning of Monday, Aug. 27, Seth Frotman told his two young daughters that he would likely be home early that day and could take them to the playground. They cheered.

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A recent story on the Huffington Post website revealed that some Florida private schools have discriminatory policies despite accepting students with publically-funded school vouchers.

OverDrive

A 42-foot long traveling exhibit that is crossing the country to encourage digital reading is coming to the Tampa Bay area.

The Digital Bookmobile National Tour will be stopping in Ruskin on Thursday and Largo on Friday to educate the community on using digital books.

Federal Judge Blocks Releasing Records of FIU Bridge

Oct 7, 2018

Siding with arguments of transportation-safety officials, a federal judge Friday blocked an attempt by the Miami Herald to get records related to a March bridge collapse at Florida International University that killed six people.

Flickr

The founder of a company that operated charter schools in several Florida counties was found guilty of using those schools to steer millions of dollars into his personal accounts.

Sarasota High School / Sarasota County Schools

Starting next school year, the State College of Florida will no longer offer college-level courses in Sarasota and Manatee county high schools.

Instead, students can only access dual enrollment classes online or at SCF campuses.

Wikimedia

Last month was the Tampa Bay Area’s hottest September on record and because of constant air conditioning problems, some Hillsborough County students felt the heat more than others.

Pixabay.com

Tampa Bay school districts are working to implement new safety measures based on assessment feedback.

End Common Core. Pay new teachers $50,000 a year.

These education platforms are likely to be politically effective for the major party gubernatorial candidates — Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, respectively. But actually implementing them would be more complicated than voters might glean from candidates' stump speeches.

The state's newest school voucher program is ramping up.

Beginning Monday Oct. 1, Floridians purchasing a new car will now have the option to designate up to $105 of the vehicle's sales tax to fund what's called Hope Scholarships.  The money generated from the new car sales tax program will help fund scholarships for students who are being bullied at school.

East Park / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Central Florida is extending its offer of in-state tuition to students who came to the school from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria.

At midnight, Oct. 1, the rush begins.

Eillin Delapaz / WUSF Public Media

Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum's running mate came to Tampa Tuesday to unveil the Democrats' $1 billion "Fair Share for Florida's Future" plan to revamp the state's public schools.

teacher in class with children
U.S. Department of Education

The Florida Board of Education on Friday advanced a $21.8 billion request for public school funding in the next budget year, including a $200 boost in per-student funds and increased funding for school-safety initiatives.

To millions of parents and students, they're magical words: free college.

But is the idea pure fantasy?

More than a dozen states now offer grants, often called scholarships, promising to help qualifying students pay for some or all of their college education. In fact, that word, "promise," shows up again and again in these programs' official names: Nevada Promise, Oklahoma's Promise, Oregon Promise, Tennessee Promise ... you get the idea.

A controversial education amendment will not go to voters in November.

In a 4-3 decision, Florida's Supreme Court has ruled that Amendment 8 should remain off the ballot.

The court upheld the order of a Leon County Judge who decreed the measure's title and summary to be misleading.

Pixabay.com

Hillsborough County residents will see a new tax referendum on their November ballots.

Voters will decide if they support a half-cent sales tax to help pay for improvements to the county's public schools.

Before Lori Alhadeff ran for a seat on her local school board, she had no experience in politics. She didn't even consider herself a "political person," she says.

That changed when her daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, died in the Parkland school shooting. In February, a former student killed 14-year-old Alyssa and 16 other people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The mother of a Florida high school massacre victim easily won a school board seat Tuesday, but the father of another victim was trailing an incumbent and a former teacher lost to another in an election seen as a referendum on district policies before and after February's shooting.

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Members of the Hillsborough County School Board voted Friday to add a new tax referendum to November's ballot.

Florida's top incoming legislative leaders are rejecting Gov. Rick Scott's push to redirect $58 million so school districts can hire more campus police officers. The lawmakers say the state should stay with a program they crafted that puts armed security guards and staff members in its public schools.

A long-running lawsuit over whether the state is properly funding its public schools is now before the Florida Supreme Court.  Oral arguments have been scheduled for November 8th.

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