Florida changes course on food aid for school children

·3 min read

For weeks, Gov. Ron DeSantis resisted applying for millions of dollars in federal assistance aimed at ensuring children get fed when school’s not in session. Florida schools are reopened, his staff contended, so the state didn’t need the money. The pushback was furious. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news.

This week, the Governor’s Office announced it reversed course on the food aid. Florida had been the only state not seeking the funding.

Coronavirus concerns

If at first you don’t succeed ... Rebuffed by an administrative law judge, lawyers for the Department of Health asked an appellate court to declare school districts have no standing to challenge its emergency school masking rule, the News Service of Florida reports.

Florida has a new surgeon general. The man now leading the health department doesn’t support mask mandates, advocating an approach to the pandemic that emphasizes personal rights over community-based precautions.

Some school districts still stand by masks. The Brevard County School Board on Tuesday extended its strict mandate for another 30 days, Florida Today reports. Two anti-mask protesters were arrested outside the meeting, Florida Today reports.

Schools are taking other approaches to fighting the virus, too. The Alachua County school district planned to have air purifiers in all classrooms by the end of the week, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Amid the mask arguments ... It might have been easy to miss the Monroe County School Board adopted a quarter-billion dollar budget, the Florida Keys Weekly reports.

Accountability

Testing, testing. Details remained scant as Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to promote his idea to scale back some spring assessments, Florida Phoenix reports.

Most districts didn’t ask for accountability ratings based on their 2021 spring exam results. The outcomes are available on the Department of Education website anyway, the Florida Times-Union reports. More from the Naples Daily News, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Gainesville Sun, TC Palm.

Student discipline

Before you involuntarily remand a student under the Baker Act ... The Palm Beach County school district is crafting a new policy to protect the children’s rights, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Seven male students at a St. Johns County high school face discipline for anti-gay bullying. The district won’t reveal the details of their punishment, the St. Augustine Record reports.

The ‘devious licks’ craze continues. Brevard County schools have warned students and parents that anyone caught vandalizing or stealing from campus will be punished, Florida Today reports. • Similar warnings are going out in south Florida, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • Citrus County schools are dealing with the TikTok challenge, too, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Other school news

The musical chairs in the Broward County school district’s administrative ranks seems to never stop. The chief technology officer resigned and un-resigned on Tuesday, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Jefferson County schools are getting back on stable footing. Once forced by the state to hand over control to a charter operator, the school district has boosted its fund balance to 15 percent, the Jefferson County Journal reports.

It’s time for a new school. The Polk County school district won permission to raze and rebuild an aging middle school in Lakeland, the Ledger reports.

The Flagler County school district is looking to better use a fitness center it owns. It’s exploring relocating several academic programs to the site, Flagler Live reports.

A former Palm Beach County high school principal has a new district job. Administrators tried to fire her, but the School Board blocked the dismissal, the Palm Beach Post reports.

From the police blotter ... A Bradford County high school coach was arrested on accusations of sending sexually explicit messages to a student, the Orlando Sentinel reports. A second Bradford district employee is expected to turn herself in on separate felony charges of soliciting sexual conduct with a student, WJXT reports. • A former teacher at IMG Academy in Bradenton has been arrested on allegations of having sex with a minor student.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... Keeping with our music theme for the week, what do you think about this performance? Irish Post says it’s “incredible.”

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