A $12 billion question: Florida’s education budget hinges on COVID-19 relief
Many graduating college students will get the chance to celebrate at in-person events this year. Last year, the rising pandemic canceled the pomp and circumstances. The 2021 graduation season began Saturday, April 17, at Florida State University in Tallahassee. In South Florida, on Saturday, April 24, Florida International University honors its students. The season runs through May. Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic that upended last year’s ceremonies remains. But nearly five million Floridians are fully vaccinated as several schools began finalizing their graduation ceremony plans this week. [Source: Tampa Bay Times ]
Florida education partnership announced
The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is partnering with Florida Power and Light Co. to help teachers, students and families learn about Florida’s environment and wildlife. GHOF conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs in Florida aimed at conserving the marine environment. “We are thrilled to welcome one of Florida’s most prominent and largest companies as a partner,” Guy Harvey, scientist, conservationist and artist, said in a statement. [Source: Trade Only Today]
Florida school district refuses hackers’ $40 million ransom, sees 26,000 files published
Hackers who sought $40 million in ransom from a South Florida school district that refused to pay have now published nearly 26,000 stolen files. Many of the files, dated from 2012 to March 2021, contain Broward School District accounting and other financial records, which include invoices, purchase orders, and travel and reimbursement forms, the South Florida SunSentinel reported. None of the files reviewed by the newspaper so far contained Social Security numbers. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Biden taps ex-Florida Congresswoman Graham for education post
President Joe Biden announced that he plans to nominate former Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham to serve as an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education. Graham, an attorney, represented the Tallahassee area and other parts of North Florida in the U.S. House from 2015 to 2017 and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018. Friday’s announcement by the White House said Graham would serve as assistant secretary for legislation and congressional affairs at the Department of Education. [Source: News Service of Florida]
The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into whether a Florida school district broke federal law when it shared private information about students with the local sheriff’s office. The Pasco County School District shared information on student grades, discipline and attendance with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The agency then used the data to compile a list of students officials believed could “fall into a life of crime," the newspaper reported. [Source: WJXT]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› UNF, JU offering new graduate degree programs [Jacksonville Daily Record]
The University of North Florida Coggin College of Business is offering a new Master of Science in Business Analytics program beginning this fall. The curriculum will enable future business leaders to use data to influence decision-making and drive business innovation, according to a news release from the university. Graduates of the program will be trained to drive better business results by transforming data into a strategic asset.
› Florida State students start new website helping local businesses [WTXL]
Secret Recipes no more. With the help of Staying in Online, a new business started by Florida State students Will Miles, Jake Seaman, Harrison Prieto, and Wyatt Wilkes, they're giving restaurants in Tallahassee a new way to sell to their customers. The website Staying In, which started in February of 2021, allows customers to shop menu items straight from the site, pick those ingredients up from the restaurant, and then make those dishes from home with a video from the chef who shows you exactly how to make your dish.
› Central Florida STEM programs receive $201K from Duke Energy grants [Orlando Sentinel]
Nine Central Florida STEM programs received just over $200,000 from Duke Energy. They include the Orlando Science Center, Foundation for Orange County Public Schools Inc., Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools and the Orange County Library System. They are among 23 organizations in Florida to collectively receive $653,000 in grants from the Duke Energy Foundation.
› Florida school superintendent arrested on perjury charge [Tampa Bay Times]
Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools Robert Runcie was arrested Wednesday morning on a perjury charge related to his grand jury testimony centered funding of school safety. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested him on a charge of perjury in an official proceeding, according to Broward Sheriff’s Office online arrest records.