With limited debate, with minutes remaining in a 4-hour meeting, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved two controversial education measures that have been the subject of scorn from some corners.
Chairman Jack Latvala told committee members that accepting the bills was important to put the Senate in position to have conference discussions with the House, which has prioritized both items. These bills were seen as key to the budget debate, which now has risen to the level of House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron.
U.S. News and World Report ranked Hillsborough's Plant High the 22nd best high school in Florida. The school, which has a 96 percent graduation rate and a college readiness score of 69, ranked 228th nationally.
Tampa Bay high schools didn't quite earn top honors in U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools rankings, but Hillsborough County at least has bragging rights for some of the best schools in the area according to the report's annual rankings.
Released Tuesday, the rankings show Plant High came in No. 22 among the top schools in Florida. The school, which has a 96 percent graduation rate and a college readiness score of 69, ranked 228th nationally.
Only one Florida school cracked the nationwide top 20 list: Pine View School in Sarasota County clocked in at No. 13 and topped the list of best high schools in Florida. Miami-Dade County schools crowded that statewide list, with four schools in the top 10.
Hillsborough's Newsome and Robinson high schools ranked 30th and 39th, respectively, and both earned gold awards. Two Pasco County high schools edged out Pinellas' top schools, with James W. Mitchell and Land O' Lakes high schools ranking 68th and 69th and took home silver awards. …
These relationships have led James Stanley, a plaintiff in the rezoning case, to request the disqualification of Mansfield. Stanley "fears that Plaintiffs will not receive a fair trial or hearing because of this prejudice or bias," attorney Robert Stines wrote in a recent filing with the court.
Stines cited previous cases as precedent, including a Broward County case where an attorney in a case represented the judge's wife in a separate matter.
Alfonso has opposed the motion, saying it was filed too late -- 84 days after Mansfield was assigned the case -- and that the request did not meet legal requirements for disqualification. He contended the cases cited by Stines were not germane to the Pasco rezoning matter. …
UNDER REVIEW: The principal of Pinellas County's Campbell Park Elementary will be moved to a district office while officials investigate her directive that white students be placed together in classes at the mostly black school.
Christine Hoffman, principal of Campbell Park Elementary school in south St. Petersburg, has been called on to resign for sending an email to staff instructing classroom teachers that "white students should be in the same class."
Christine Hoffman, the embattled principal of Campbell Park Elementary will leave campus while an "administrative review" is conducted, district officials said Monday.
Hoffman created an uproar last week when she sent an email to her school staff about classroom rosters for the coming year and said "white students should be in the same class" with no explanation or context. She later sent out a second email to staff apologizing for "poor judgment," and a letter went home to parents Friday with an invitation to meet with parents Monday morning and afternoon.
Hoffman requested the transfer off campus and will not return, said Lisa Wolf, a district spokeswoman. In her absence, an assistant principal will take over, assisted by a member of the school district's Transformation Zone team. Hoffman will be at district headquarters. It's unclear if she'll be reassigned to another school.
Parents and community activists have been calling for Hoffman to resign. Pressed by parents to do so Monday, two eyewittnesses said that Hoffman refused and said "I am the best thing that has happened to Campbell Park." …
They have pointed to two special magistrate opinions on the issue that arrived at differing takes on the 2011 law that did away with continuing contracts for any newly hired teachers.
Teachers in St. Johns and Pasco counties went to impasse in contract negotiations over demands that educators who received evaluation ratings of "effective" or better receive guarantees of another year's employment. District officials in each case insisted that the Legislature mandated annual contracts, without strings attached.
Like its counterpart in the Senate, the Florida House bill on state testing -- once 8 pages long -- has become its chamber's vehicle to push forward a patchwork of education policy initiatives found in a variety of other measures working their way through the legislative process.
HB 773, which goes before the House Education Committee on Monday afternoon, would balloon to 76 pages with a strike-all amendment filed over the weekend by sponsor Rep. Manny Diaz.
If adopted, the proposal would include much of the original language, plus provisions added into HB 549 last week. Those included the elimination of the Algebra II end-of-course exam, a return to paper-based testing for third through sixth grades, a move of the state testing window, and the publication of certain state tests, among other items.
This latest amendment would bring in recommendations from several other bills, as well. Among those: …
ST. PETERSBURG — Now that the pool of potential St. Petersburg College presidents has been narrowed to five, the college’s board of trustees will bring each finalist to campus for interviews.
The board’s four members plan to make their final decision at a special meeting on June 9.
The candidates will replace outgoing president William Law Jr., who is retiring this summer after seven years at the helm. A search committee was tasked with sifting through more than 50 applications to settle on the final five for the board to consider, but some tension emerged during that process.
The one-hour interviews will all take place at 4 p.m. in the St. Petersburg/Gibbs campus music center, located at 6605 5th Ave. N. They are all open to the public. Here’s the schedule:
May 4 — Edward Bonahue, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Santa Fe College (Gainesville)
May 9 — Stan Vittetoe, provost, St. Petersburg College (Clearwater)
May 16 — Tonjua Williams, senior vice president, student services, St. Petersburg College
May 22 — James Henningsen. president, College of Central Florida (Ocala) …
It's not all about the Legislature in Florida education news. We've seen a principal tell her staff to place all white children together in classes, a district ban D and F grades for its youngest students, and school board members say they welcome charter schools to help deal with crowding. Read all about it below.
You can keep up with our conversation on Facebook, hear our podcast, and follow our blog to get all the latest Florida education news. All tips, comments and ideas welcome. Know anyone else who'd like to get this weekly roundup or other email updates? Have them send a note to email@example.com.
Legislature vows transparency on negotiating education policy. History says otherwise., Kristen M. Clark "Conference is a common annual process for the budget, but lawmakers in recent years have shied away, in most cases, from using it as a vehicle to pass drastic policy reforms that are otherwise amended, debated and voted on on the House and Senate floors. By comparison to the day-to-day legislative process, conference committee proceedings typically are not transparent and are more unabashedly a display of a preordained outcome." …
The principal of Northeast High School is a finalist for Florida's 2017 Principal of the Year award, state officials announced Friday.
Kevin Hendrick, who has been Northeast High's principal for eight years, is one of three finalists for the honor. Other finalists include: Earl Johnson, principal of Matanzas High School in Flagler County and Rachel Shelley, principal of Booker High School in Sarasota County. The winner will be announced during a ceremony June 21.
Hendrick is credited with developing a finance academy at the school, which allows students to earn industry certifications. Under his leadership, Northeast High also has increased the number of Advanced Placement classes, seen an increase in the number of students who enroll in college, and an uptick in the average ACT score.
The 2017 Principal of the Year will get a $5,000 cash prize and $1,000 for their school.
Candidates for the awards were nominated by their superintendents.
Pasco County school district and union officials continued to negotiate in December even after declaring impasse in contract talks.
Special magistrate recommendations in hand, representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco and the county school district met this week to determine whether they could reach a final agreement on pay and other outstanding issues.
With significantly different interpretations of the district's finances coming from the two magistrates, the need for a compromise became more clear. The one who heard the school related personnel case sided more closely with USEP, while the officer who reviewed the teacher contract took the district's position.
USEP operations director Jim Ciadella acknowledged to the School Board that the goal was to avoid asking the board to make the final determination.
"That may come to you guys at some point," Ciadella told the board Tuesday. "We are hoping it doesn't come to that point."
On Friday, Ciadella said the sides are "very close" to getting things worked out. "We're trying to work out the final details," he said, without offering any specifics. …
Gradebook features education articles and insights on schools in Florida, focusing on Tampa Bay area schools. What's the latest from the Florida Department of Education? How is the FCAT being used to compare Florida schools? What's going on in Tampa Bay schools? Get an insider's view from the Times education reporting team.