February 24, 2021
Gov. DeSantis' budget increases school spending by $285 million

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Gov. DeSantis' budget increases school spending by $285 million

| 2/4/2021

Gov. DeSantis' budget increases school spending by $285 million

Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking lawmakers for a $285 million increase in public-school funding in the coming year and to keep tuition rates flat for college and university students --- a potentially stark contrast to what House and Senate budget leaders have signaled could be coming. DeSantis released an overall $96.6 billion budget proposal for the 2021-2022 fiscal year under the slogan “Florida Leads,” offering a rosy outlook on the state’s financial future. The rollout came as lawmakers brace to negotiate a budget amid a roughly $2 billion shortfall brought on by COVID-19. More from the News Service of Florida and WJHG.

Don’t count standardized tests this year, legislators say

In an academic year marked by a pandemic and poor academic performance, students and teachers shouldn’t face penalties for poor results on standardized tests, two Broward legislators say. Unlike last year, when the state canceled all standardized testing due to COVID-19, students would still take the exams, under a bill filed by freshman Rep. Robin Bartleman, D-Weston, and veteran Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale. But the tests would be low stakes, not high stakes. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Lawmakers, school officials eye drop in student enrollment

Florida legislators and local education officials are trying to pinpoint what happened to nearly 90,000 “missing” public school students, as public school enrollment estimates have dropped amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A mid-school-year estimate by state economists projects that 87,811 fewer students have enrolled in public schools than were predicted to sign up for the 2020-2021 academic year. “Imagine a school district just closing. That’s the size of this problem,” House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, said. [Source: News Service of Florida]

See also:
» Fewer students might lead to less money for Florida schools

Florida education officials make English-proficiency exam optional

In a win for advocates of English-language learners, Florida is allowing students to opt out of taking an annual English proficiency exam that is administered in person. The state Department of Education also is expanding the window of time for K-12 public-school students to take the test, if they choose to do so. Jacob Oliva, the chancellor of Florida’s public school system, announced the changes in a letter to school district superintendents. [Source: WJXT]

‘Not going to lie. It hurts.’ Class of 2021 tries to stay positive.

After watching prom, grad bash and large-scale graduations get canceled for last year’s senior class, Rohey Barrow felt bad for the students one grade ahead of her. Barrow figured her Class of 2021 would get to have it all. The coronavirus might have abated, and schools would get back to normal. “I thought we would all be good,” the Lakewood High senior said. “I didn’t think it would affect me.” The senior class only wishes. Instead of losing a quarter, this group in many ways lost the entire year. Schools opened for classes, but with masks, social distancing and other rules in effect, the experience has proved a pale imitation of what many had hoped for. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Florida Memorial University tapped for Google program at historically Black colleges
Florida Memorial University is one of 16 historically Black colleges nationwide tapped by Google to receive funding aimed at training students in digital skills. The school will receive $40,000 from a $1 million investment the company made through it’s Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program. The money will help strengthen the school’s career services center this semester.

› Schools demand refunds from Central Florida travel company after COVID-19 trip cancellations
A travel company that assists school groups with organizing musical performances at Central Florida’s theme parks is accused of failing to refund students’ payments after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of their trips. Musical Destinations Inc., based in Winter Garden, arranges transportation, hotels, dining, theme park tickets and activities for youth groups performing at Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World, according to the company’s website.

› Two UWF teams place in top 5 in national artificial intelligence competition
Hosted by the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific and the Naval Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Coordination Office, 32 teams from public and private institutions across the country participated in the competition. Various research institutions including those from the Ivy League, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutes competed in the $200,000-prize challenge.

› FSU’s Presidential Search Committee hosts virtual open forums with university constituents
As Florida State University continues its search for a new president, the Presidential Search Committee hosted a series of virtual open forums made up of individuals from the college. Undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff took the time to share their thoughts about what the new president should consist of.

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