State colleges see enrollment drop during pandemic
Reversing historical trends during economic downturns, state college enrollment has dropped dramatically as the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague Florida. Student enrollment is down between 5 and 10% at most of Florida’s 28 state colleges, according to St. Johns River State College President Joe Pickens, who serves as chairman of the college system’s Council of Presidents. The biggest drop is among first-time college students who recently graduated from high school. More from the News Service of Florida and Miami Today.
Unemployment claims spike for Florida school districts. No one knows why.
When Florida schools closed in March, district leaders quickly announced they’d protect jobs — even if the positions had little to do during the coronavirus-fueled transition to remote classes. They didn’t have mass layoffs. They didn’t impose major furloughs. Paychecks went out as usual. So imagine the shock that went through district offices this month when they opened their second quarter unemployment reimbursement bills from the state Department of Revenue, and they saw amounts anywhere from two to 328 times higher than what they owed in first quarter. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Floridians are voting for special school taxes. Are lawmakers paying attention?
Pinellas County voters smashed all expectations Tuesday with their 80 percent support of their school district’s property tax referendum. A similar scenario played out across the state. Add to those the 21 successful ballot initiatives that districts won in 2018, and the trend becomes clear. But the idea that voters may boost revenue for their local schools has raised questions about whether that jibes with Florida’s decades-old financing rules, devised in the face of lawsuits across the nation that accused states of not spending public education money equitably. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida Polytechnic University starts virtual tutoring initiative to help students
Many students returned to school this year suffering from a learning gap, what some called the “COVID slide.” Students at Florida Polytechnic University set out to not only help high school students succeed but also spark new leaders in STEM careers. “Having to do everything virtually is just a big change, but that’s what we’re here for,” said Florida Poly junior Lillian Frometa. [Source: WFTS]
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind has chosen someone within its ranks as the new president of the school, which was founded about 135 years ago. Tracie Cascio Snow, who was the administrator of instructional services at the school, began her first day as president on Monday, according to a press release from the school. She succeeded Julia Mintzer, administrator of business services, who was the interim president. [Source: St. Augustine Record]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Sarasota's Bridge Angel Investors backs adult learning and online education companies [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Bridge Angel Investors in Sarasota invested nearly $300,000 this year in two companies whose goal is to change how people approach learning. The fund put $140,000 into Knack Technologies Inc. in February and then $130,000 into the Next Big Ideas Club in July.
› United Faculty of Florida at UF files grievance against University of Florida [WCJB]
United Faculty of Florida has filed a grievance against the University of Florida over the school’s spring 2021 reopening plan. UF President Kent Fuchs issued a video statement last month to faculty and staff, saying he and the school administration are planning for more in-person classes in the spring. “We argue that the university has violated its contractual responsibility to provide safe working conditions for its employees and to make a fair and reasonable attempt to accommodate faculty members wishing to work remotely for health reasons,” said the UFF-FL in a statement.
› Florida principal who refused to say Holocaust was a fact is fired a second time [Miami Herald]
The former Florida high school principal who made national headlines last year for refusing to say the Holocaust was a “factual, historical event” has been fired again, about a month after he was rehired. The Palm Beach County School Board voted unanimously Monday morning to rescind an Oct. 7 vote rehiring former Spanish River Community High School Principal William Latson.
› Joseph Joyner to step down as Flagler College president [Florida Times-Union]
Joseph Joyner, president of Flagler College, announced Monday that he will retire June 30 due to "personal" reasons. Joyner, who has held the post since 2017, made the announcement during a town hall-style meeting broadcast to the college community via live stream on Facebook.