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UCF campus protest restrictions, Brevard guardian program ripped, contract talks in Leon, and more

Around the state: University of Central Florida trustees approve a ban on campus camping and place time limits on protests, the Brevard school board’s decision to arm some employees other than teachers draws harsh criticism at a board meeting, contract negotiations begin between the Leon school district and its teachers, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoes a bill that would have protected resident status for college tuition purposes for people who are incarcerated, and in an Oklahoma case that could have implications for Florida, the state supreme court calls public funding for a religious school unconstitutional. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Broward: Lessons in such core subjects as math and English are mixed with instruction about entrepreneurship, fashion designing, modeling, hair styling and more at the private K-12 South Florida Fashion Academy in Lauderdale Lakes. “Our goal … is to birth the next generation of fashion, beauty and business entrepreneurs and trailblazers, with an emphasis on our local black community here in Miami-Dade and Broward counties,” said Taj McGill, a former fashion event facilitator who started the school in 2021 and has grown it to 85 students. Miami Herald.

Pinellas: Three more schools are getting new principals: Kathryn Gualtieri at San Jose Elementary in Dunedin, Dustin Adams at Fuguitt Elementary in Largo, and Stephanie Blackman at Sawgrass Lake Elementary. Kristina Stratton from Hernando County had been hired earlier this spring for the Sawgrass job, but later changed her mind. Tampa Bay Times.

Brevard: The school board’s recent decision to join the state’s guardian program was harshly criticized by all 12 speakers at Tuesday’s board meeting. One of them was ejected after telling board chair Megan Wright that if anything happens to a child because of the policy, “we’re coming for you.” Another speaker, Cassidy Nicholas, a teacher and school shooting survivor, said she was “disgusted” that the district chose to arm school employees other than teachers and added, “Instead of investing in actual security measures, such as metal detectors, you’re putting students, teachers and staff at risk.” Florida Today. WOFL.

Leon: Contract negotiations began Tuesday between teachers and the school district, just four months after an agreement was reached for the past year. Union president Scott Mazur is asking for higher salaries, expanded planning time for teachers, changing class size limitations and expanding paid leave. “Our superintendent and school board are committed to trying to pay living wages for all of our employees but then to balance that with being able to pay the bills,” said assistant superintendent Bill Epting. The next bargaining session is July 31. Tallahassee Democrat. WCTV.

Okaloosa: The appointment of three administrators was approved by the school board. Beke Heald has been named specialist of student services, and Lydia Hanneken and Aimee Lewis will become assistant principals at Fort Walton Beach High and Northwood Elementary, respectively. Okaloosa County School District.

Bay: Problems in the school district’s exceptional student education program have been uncovered in an audit done by an outside consultant. Staffing was one of the concerns. There’s a shortage of paraprofessionals, the auditor said, staffing is based on the budget instead of the needs of students, and there have been issues with student misidentification. Superintendent Mark McQueen said the district will create new positions in the program, improve training and consider combining New Horizons Learning Center and St. Andrew’s School. WMBB. WJHG. District officials said Tuesday that charter schools will get double the amount of money they received last year from local property tax revenues, which was the first time charters had received a share of those taxes. The district is expected to receive about $48 million in tax revenues. WMBB.

Colleges and universities: Camping will be banned on the campus of the University of Central Florida as a way to control protests, and the duration of protests will be limited, the school’s trustees decided Tuesday. Unless events are approved by UCF at least 15 days in advance, they will be limited to the hours between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and cannot run for more than five consecutive days. Exceptions will be made for university-sponsored activities, such as tailgating at football games. Orlando Sentinel. Politico Florida. Central Florida Public Media. Businessman Ken Dixon has pledged to donate another $10 million to UCF, which school officials said will be spent on career services and athletics. Florida Politics.

DeSantis on pot in schools: Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his campaign against making recreational marijuana legal by again arguing that if voters approve the constitutional amendment in November, there would be no usage restrictions. “That means, like, you have it in the schools, they can’t punish you,” he said Tuesday. “I think it means you bring it into restaurants and use (it), and they’re not going to be able to do anything. The indoor smoking law in Florida does not apply to this. There’s no limitations in the amendment language.” Earlier this month, he warned, “I think you’re going to see people, you will be able to bring 20 joints to an elementary school. Is that really going to be good for the state of Florida? I don’t think so.” Florida Politics.

Education bill vetoed: Gov. DeSantis also vetoed a bill that would have protected resident status for college tuition purposes for people who are incarcerated. “We should not reward criminal activity by providing inmates with the same benefits as law-abiding citizens,” he wrote in his veto letter. WKMG. Florida Politics.

Around the nation: Oklahoma’s Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 vote Tuesday that using public funds for a first-of-its-kind religious charter school is unconstitutional, and overturned the state’s approval of the application for the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Charter School. The court called the state’s agreement with the Catholic charter school a violation of state law and the Oklahoma and U.S. constitutions because it violates the Establishment Clause, which bars government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected. Associated Press. New York Times. Politico. K-12 Dive. The 74. Chalkbeat.

Opinions on schools: School districts, while nominal democracies, have proven to be easy prey to regulatory capture by unionized employee interests, especially in large urban districts. The main goal of unionized district employees is to preserve the jobs of their members, followed closely by increasing the number of jobs for their members. Closing district schools is not on the agenda. Matthew Ladner, NextSteps. A la carte learning, one of the best education stories in America, is happening in South Florida in the shadow of some of the nation’s biggest school districts. Ron Matus, Florida Politics.



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