February 28, 2024
Florida schools seek to save programs as federal funding cliff nears

Florida Trend Education

Florida schools seek to save programs as federal funding cliff nears

| 2/8/2024

Florida schools seek to save programs as federal funding cliff nears

For three years, schools across Florida and the nation have relied on millions of federal relief dollars to pay for programs, personnel and equipment needed to overcome the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This fall, the money runs out. Some school officials have raised concerns about how to deal with the looming “funding cliff,” anticipating cuts across the board. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Year-round school in Florida?

Nearly a year ago, state legislators approved a law introducing a pilot program designed to test year-round schools in Florida. Under the "modified calendar," students still would attend 180 days of school, just like other students at other schools. But instead of having a concentrated time off in the summer, the students' 12 weeks of time off would be spread throughout the year. [Source: Ocala Star-Banner]

Are kindergarteners too young to be taught about communism? In Florida, maybe not

Proposals that could lead to instruction on the history of communism in school grades as low as kindergarten have sparked a debate about whether such lessons are appropriate for young students. Under current state standards, public-school students do not encounter lessons about communism until seventh grade. But the Senate and House are considering bills (SB 1264 and HB 1349) that could lead to changes. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida considers allowing volunteer chaplains in public schools

Florida school districts could opt to allow volunteer chaplains in schools under a bill approved Tuesday by a Senate committee. Supporters of the legislation said it will provide another resource for children during tumultuous times, while opponents said there could be consequences ranging from children receiving bad or unwanted spiritual advice to white Christian nationalists using the program to indoctrinate students. [Source: WPTV]

Affordable housing push has Florida school districts worried

The Live Local Act, a Senate priority initially approved last year, would give developers tax breaks and land development advantages. And particularly in growing areas, the initiative is causing angst among school district leaders. They fret that the effort would allow housing to rise in commercial and industrial areas where they have no plans for schools to serve the families that move in. Compounding the concern, the measure would decrease tax revenue that might be used to meet those children’s needs. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› University of Florida student fights against corporal punishment in schools
Corporal punishment is a common disciplinary practice in schools across the state, but many are trying to redefine how it’s used. University of Florida student Graham Bernstein is a strong opponent of corporal punishment in public schools. As the Political Affairs Director of the Florida Students Policy Forum, he’s pushing a bill that will protect parents’ rights and disabled students from corporal punishment.

› Will Broward close at least 5 schools next year? Ideas take shape as enrollment shrinks
With enrollment continuing to plummet, the Broward school district plans to close or overhaul at least five schools in 2025, with dozens more possible in the next few years. The first affected schools should be determined by June, after the school district holds a series of public forums, meetings with community groups and School Board workshops. The district would spend the 2024-25 school year planning and making necessary changes to school boundaries.

› At Spotlight Tampa Bay forum on education, strong views and a standing ovation
For more than two years, Florida’s education battles have drawn national attention with debates over book bans, gender issues, sexual orientation, indoctrination, school vouchers and teacher shortages. The clamor spilled onto the Tampa Theatre stage Tuesday evening during a two-hour community conversation titled “Conflicts, Challenges and Culture Wars in Florida’s Classrooms.”

› UCF’s online degrees get kudos in U.S. News & World Report rankings
The online degree programs at the University of Central Florida (UCF) are attracting national recognition. In Tuesday’s latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, UCF tied for No. 7 for the best online bachelor’s programs in the outlet’s prestigious rankings. It was a jump one spot higher than last year.

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