Coronavirus has unanticipated effects on Florida school budgets

Laveta Brigham

The coronavirus pandemic prompted Florida schools to make plenty of changes to the way they do business. One thing they tried to do, especially during the unsettled earliest days, was keep faculty and staff employed — even if they didn’t have any work to do. They never expected see see […]

The coronavirus pandemic prompted Florida schools to make plenty of changes to the way they do business. One thing they tried to do, especially during the unsettled earliest days, was keep faculty and staff employed — even if they didn’t have any work to do. They never expected see see unemployment bills like they later received. Read on for this story and other Florida education news.

Did you say 32,874 percent? That’s how dramatically one Florida school district’s claims jumped from quarter one to quarter two of 2020. Others saw smaller increases, but they were still significant. Challenges are mounting.

‘We want to be your partner.’ University of South Florida College of Education leaders said they hear the complaints about their plans to end undergraduate programs, and they’ll try to work with school districts to continue serving teachers’ needs. They attended a Zoom conference that district leaders called after learning the unwelcome news.

Keep your cool. Revenue from the Hillsborough County school district’s local-option sales tax is down because of the pandemic. The district is scaling back its air conditioning renovation project list as a result.

Teachers are stressed out. Seminole County teachers say their workload of leading in-person and online classes is too much, WFTV reports. • The St. Johns County school district is offering incentive pay to substitutes willing to take spots at certain schools, WJXT reports.

School closures are still taking place, here and there. A Lake County charter school reverted to online classes for two days because of COVID-19 cases, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • The Manatee and Sarasota school districts haven’t seen major outbreaks that many feared might occur, the Herald-Tribune reports. • The United Teachers of Dade estimated that about 1,000 district students are quarantined from their schools, the Miami Herald reports. Parents are trying to figure out if it’s okay to send one child to school if another has been told to stay home because of potential exposure to the virus, the Miami Herald reports.

The Porter Campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College. Enrollment is declining at state colleges across Florida.

Students are putting off college. The state’s colleges have seen enrollment drop 5 to 10 percent during the pandemic, the News Service of Florida reports.

Is it okay to discuss redrawing student attendance zones while dealing with the coronavirus? Collier County’s School Board chairwoman wants to kick off the conversation, saying shifts are needed, the Naples Daily News reports.

It’s hard to know what’s real online. Miami-Dade teachers are showing their students how to figure it out, WLRN reports.

Improving school safety remains a priority. The Palm Beach County school district and area law enforcement agencies entered an agreement that details each group’s responsibilities in case of a major emergency, WPTV reports.

Show them the money. Marion County’s teacher contract negotiations landed at impasse over raise proposals, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. • Martin County teachers also announced impasse in their contract talks, while in nearby Martin County bargaining continues, TC Palm reports.

Who’s Brennan Asplen? Sarasota County’s new schools superintendent talks about himself with the Sun.

From the campaign trail … Clay County voters will decide whether to approve a sales tax for construction and maintenance needs on Tuesday, the Florida Times-Union reports. The district’s collection of portable classrooms is deteriorating, WJXT reports. • The campaign supporting the Duval County school district’s sales tax referendum collected $1.7 million in support, the Florida Times-Union reports.

From the police blotter … An Alachua County middle school teacher is arrested on accusations of sending inappropriate photos to a minor student, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Before you go … We received a special request for a video showing cute puppies. If the political television ads get to you, just watch a few moments of this one. It might just cheer you up.

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