Friday, June 2

Politics does not roil all Florida school board races

The big story: Across Florida, campaigns for school board seats have become increasingly political affairs despite the seats being nonpartisan by law. In parts of south Florida, for example, some conservative candidates are seeking support at gun shows, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Hillsborough County, the state’s third-largest district, appears an exception.

Though many of the candidates have known views on many of the hot-button issues, they’ve taken steps to avoid saying much that’s controversial. One of the biggest points of difference among them centers on the district’s property tax referendum in support of employee salaries. Read more here.

Hot topics

Intellectual freedom: State officials are trying to make it so former Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran, who now sits on the State University System Board of Governors, does not have to testify in a lawsuit challenging the state’s 2021 law on viewpoint diversity, the News Service of Florida reports.

Race lessons: Despite its campaign against “woke culture,” the DeSantis administration has paid thousands of dollars to an education firm that promotes racial inclusivity, Politico Florida reports. The Florida Department of Education criticized the report.

Student services: The Duval County School Board unanimously agreed to revise its rules regarding notification of parents of changes to their children’s support services, WTLV reports. That includes a child’s request to be called by a different name or pronouns.

School board service: After months of discussion, the Brevard County charter review commission decided to propose a recall provision for school board members, Florida Today reports.

School grades: Jefferson County High School is overhauling its faculty to counter its poor performance, WTXL reports. The school is regaining local control after five years under a charter operator. • The fate of one long-struggling Escambia County middle school hinges on the scoring of a late delivered box of tests, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • The Citrus County school district saw its grade drop to a C for the first time since 2010, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. Officials said they already have a response in place.

Textbook adoption: The Collier County School Board approved the use of new math books despite criticisms from some residents over the content, WBBH reports.

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On teachers

School districts across Florida continue to confront teacher shortages. Among them, Lee County schools are needing to fill nearly 300 teacher vacancies with four weeks to go before classes resume, WFTX reports. • The Broward County school district is looking to hire about 500 teachers, fewer than a year ago, WFOR reports. • Florida education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said his department is working on initiatives to bring more teachers into classrooms, The Capitolist reports. • Bay County school district officials said the lack of affordable housing poses their biggest hurdle, WMBB reports.

Florida’s controversial civics training goes on. The reaction has been mixed among educators, WINK reports.

The Orange County school district offered teachers a raise after lengthy negotiations. Some Orange County teachers are advocating against the district’s proposal, saying it’s not good enough because of inflation, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s the link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go … Argyle, the pizza guy on the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” is proving pretty popular these days. Some people even have tried to give him a call from the number on the side of his television delivery van. You should try it.

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