Florida education news: Irma's aftermath, school fire, sales tax and more
WHEN IS SCHOOL REOPENING? Hurricane Irma brushed the Tampa Bay area more than smashing it. Yet it still left chaos in its wake. So while some families returned to life as usual, it wasn't so simple for everyone including the schools, which did not — or should we say could not — reopen for classes right away. Why not? Lingering refugees, evacuated employees, storm damages and let's just say less than ideal conditions left behind in shelter schools. Hillsborough and Pinellas districts joined others in deciding to reopen Monday instead of earlier. Friday night lights are also dimmed, as most high school football games are canceled. • The Manatee County school district anticipates spending $1 million on the cleanup, the Bradenton Herald reports. • More from the Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today, Fort Myers News-Press, Herald-Tribune
WILL THERE BE MAKEUP DAYS? Yes, kids, you very well might have to go to school on days that were scheduled for vacation. Florida requires a certain amount of instructional time per year, based on grade level, and six or seven days off cuts deep into it. District officials around Tampa Bay are looking into if and when they will have to reschedule Irma-related absences. The state might issue a waiver. Stay tuned.
BURNED DOWN: Hillsborough County's Lee Elementary School, built in 1906, catches fire as power returns and is no longer usable. School district officials will seek another location to educate Lee's students.
CONSTRUCTION FUNDS: The Okaloosa County School Board agrees to seek voter approval for a local sales tax in support of capital needs, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.
BAD ACTS: Several Okaloosa school district employees face warrants in connection with a child abuse investigation, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.
LABOR NEWS: Santa Rosa County teachers reject the school district's contract offer from 2016-17, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.
TIME TO GO: Longtime Sarasota County School Board member Caroline Zucker, a past president of the Florida School Boards Association, decides to retire after more than 20 years, the Herald-Tribune reports.