Florida education commissioner suggests takeover authority for long-struggling schools
Florida school districts that fail to follow state rules to improve persistently low performing schools might need to face the possibility of state takeover to force new approaches, education commissioner Richard Corcoran said Wednesday. That could mean never approving the districts’ turnaround plans required in state accountability law, he suggested, or asking lawmakers to grant the Department of Education emergency powers to step in when districts refuse to comply. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Former Florida State University president and politician Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, widely regarded as one of Florida’s most prominent statesmen and a leader on issues from open government to higher education, died Monday afternoon. He was 85. A lawyer and professor for much of his career, D’Alemberte’s influence on state politics was nothing short of titanic, from pushing the state Supreme Court to allow video cameras into the courtroom to guiding higher education policy as a state representative from Miami-Dade County and as an FSU administrator. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
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» Florida Icon: Talbot 'Sandy' D'Alemberte
Nearly a year after a federal judge’s ruling allowed early-voting sites on college and university campuses, state elections officials and plaintiffs in the case remain locked in a legal battle. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker last week scheduled a June 19 hearing after the two sides have argued about whether the case is moot — or whether Walker should enter a permanent injunction to make sure the state doesn’t block campus early voting in the future. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
Outgoing University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft is giving the school $20 million to build a new honors college that will bear her name. The announcement came during a highly anticipated ceremony at USF Tampa on Wednesday. USF trustees chairman Jordan Zimmerman called the gift “transformational.” See the announcement here and read more at the Tampa Bay Times.
Full Sail University on Tuesday celebrated the grand opening of a new gaming arena that could be a major step toward making Central Florida an e-sports destination. At 11,200-square-feet, The Fortress is the largest esports arena on a U.S. college campus and can seat up to 500 spectators. At a ribbon cutting ceremony, Full Sail President Garry Jones said the venue is a big addition for the university. [Source: WKMG]
› Santa Fe adjuncts rally for union, protest red tape [Gainesville Sun]
About 50 Santa Fe adjunct faculty, along with students and other community groups, rallied inside and outside Santa Fe’s board of trustees’ meeting Tuesday afternoon for the right to organize a union, while protesting what they call Santa Fe’s efforts to block a vote to form one.
› NASA selects USF researcher for the first female-dominated crew for underwater mission to simulate space exploration [Florida Trend]
Csilla Ari D’Agostino, PhD, research assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, was selected to join NASA’s next underwater mission to study what happens when one lives underwater for an extended period of time. She’ll serve on a four-woman crew, known as aquanauts, for the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operation (NEEMO) 23.
› Nova Southeastern gives bonuses to employees weeks after laying off 101 staffers [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Three weeks after Nova Southeastern University laid off part of its workforce, its president has announced bonuses for remaining staffers. George L. Hanbury II, the private university’s president and chief executive officer, told employees in a May 17 memo that full-time staffers will get $1,000 and part-timers $600 in a special June paycheck as part of the university’s merit pay program.
› Effects of Hurricane Michael wide-ranging in Bay District Schools’ budget [Panama City News Herald]
As more solid numbers from the state have become available, the Bay District Schools officials are more fully realizing the extent of Hurricane Michael’s damage on their budget and prepare for next year. During a budget workshop last week, board members discussed these numbers based on the state’s projections for next year’s Full Time Equivalency (FTE) funding and what they mean as the school year wraps up and budget work begins for next year.