Florida Department of Public Education in front of voters during primary elections

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The big story: Floridians have been hearing for months how important their local school board elections are this fall in defining the future course of public education.

Today is the day they find out which direction schools could go.

After days of early and mail-in voting, the primary election ends when polls close at 7 p.m. and counts start rolling in. Voters across the state will know whether candidates backing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ agenda — many of whom benefited from DeSantis campaign financial support — gained seats, or whether those supporting a more traditional view of public schools take the lead. daytime.

DeSantis spent time in the days leading up to the election strain for some of his favorite prospectsreports the Miami Herald. More from the Herald-Tribune.

Some observers fear that the partisan tone of non-partisan races could shift the focus of school boards towards politics at the expense of children, reports Florida Phoenix. More from NPR.

Plank races are not the only ones to be considered. Several school districts, including Hillsborough and Pasco counties, have asked voters to approve sales or property tax referendums to bolster their bottom lines.

Marketing these initiatives can be difficult for district officials, who are not expected to use their taxpayer-funded positions to advocate on issues even if they declare the need. They try to walk a fine line in providing information to voters without campaigning.

Hot topics

Gender issues: A private Christian school in Hillsborough County asked all LGBTQ students leave immediately, reports NBC News. The pastor who runs the school says he won’t back down despite the threats he received, reports Fox News. • Palm Beach County School District again revised its guidelines on supporting LGBTQ students after a member of the State Board of Education questioned the legality of some districts’ policies, reports the Palm Beach Post. • Orange County educators said they were difficult to implement new state laws, which some have called confusing, Apopka Voice reports.

Campus Security: There was one increase in weapons brought to schools in Florida and across the country, reports the Fort Myers News-Press. • Duval County School District officials said they will cooperate with a grand jury which revealed that the district police department underreported crime on campus, WJXT reports. The grand jury also found mismanagement in Broward County schoolsreports WPLG.

Library books: New state rules on school book selections prompted the Sarasota County District to refuse a dictionary donationreports the Herald-Tribune.

School vacation: Some Palm Beach County residents have criticized the school board for including Eid al-Fitr as a district party for years to come, reports the Palm Beach Post.

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Vacancies for teachers: Several factors are at play in the teacher shortage in Southwest Florida, including new laws and low wagesreports the Fort Myers News-Press.

Intellectual freedom: About 2% of students in Florida’s public university system answered a survey to determine whether all viewpoints are reflected on campuses. Republicans have pushed for the inquiry amid claims that conservative views are unwelcome, Politico Florida reports.

Fact checks

Book bans: A purported list of books banned from Florida schools has been circulating on social media, including a important part by Randi Weingarten, leader of the National Teachers Union, reports the National Desk. It’s not truereports the Associated Press. More at Snopes.com.

Civic education : Critics have accused the DeSantis administration of requiring teachers to take civics training that has been questioned over its conservative content. No one was forced to attend the three-day seminars, for which teachers were paid, reports USA Today.

Excerpt from the court file… A federal court has ruled that an Osceola County school resource officer is not immune from civil suit following allegations he threw a student to the ground, reports the News Service of Florida. • Defense began to plead his case in the sentencing phase for the Parkland school shooter, reports the Associated Press. He seeks to avoid the death penalty.

Before you leave … Dog yoga, anyone?

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