Florida school district overcomes community upset to build new campus

The big story: It’s not often when a NIMBY school development story ends with everyone happy.

But that’s what happened in Pinellas County, where a subdivision nearly derailed a joint school-YMCA project that had been discussed for years. The neighbors had serious concerns about traffic the site could generate in their community, which has no sidewalks.

The fact that they weren’t given proper public notice about the hearings leading to the city of St. Petersburg’s design review riled them further.

After winning a round with the city, community association leaders met with school district planners to talk through their differences. By the time the item returned to the City Council, everyone was singing from the same page. Read about how they compromised to let the project move ahead.

Hot topics

Book challenges: A Polk County group that challenged several school books as pornographic has said it will sue the school district if the district’s new library check-out policies do not satisfy the group, the Ledger reports.

Federal stimulus funds: The Volusia County school district plans to spend its federal pandemic relief money on ongoing expenses, raising questions about how funding will continue when the money runs out, the Ormond Beach Observer reports.

Public input: The Sarasota County School Board resumed a meeting a week after it abruptly went into recess amid a disruptive public commenting period. Board members said they want to listen, but need for everyone to follow rules and decorum, WFTX reports. • The Marion County School Board announced it will hold one of its two monthly meetings in the morning to allow people who work evenings to attend, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

School board elections: A candidate for Volusia County School Board says she’s running as part of a spiritual war to defend western civilization, the West Volusia Beacon reports. She decided to run after being trespassed from a 2020 board meeting for refusing to comply with the district’s mask rule.

Teacher shortage: The Nassau County School Board is scheduled to discuss strategies to keep teachers from leaving the district, Florida Politics reports.

Graduation season: Duval County high schools return to indoor commencement ceremonies after two years of outdoor events because of the pandemic, the Florida Times-Union reports. • Seniors in some Florida districts are being warned to keep politics out of their graduation speeches, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Other school news

Remember the Palm Beach County middle school Lunch Lady Squad whose videos dancing to Vanilla Ice went viral? Vanilla Ice sure does, WPTV reports.

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The Lake County school district released its investigative findings on two former district educators accused of running a “cult.” Officials said the two violated standards of ethical conduct, but added the district found no evidence of a cult, the Daily Commercial reports.

School buses from a Broward County middle school are running late every day. It’s because of a new traffic pattern that won’t let the buses turn left at a key intersection, WPLG reports.

The Flagler County Education Foundation is getting a new director. Teresa Rizzo replaces her husband, who died unexpectedly, Flagler Live reports.

Rumors of violence circulated around a Monroe County high school. Few students attended the next day, the Florida Keys Weekly reports.

The Volusia County school district is considering random student searches as a security measure. Some students and parents have raised worries about the idea, WOFL reports.

From the police blotter … A man raced into a Palm Beach County high school after crashing a van, and he fought with a school police officer. A city police officer arrived and shot the man to death, the Palm Beach Post reports. Students were on campus but not at the site of the incident.

Before you go … Who doesn’t enjoy an entertaining rendition of the three little pigs story? A random spin through Sirius XM ‘90s mix turned this one up. It rocks.

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https://www.tampabay.com/news/education/2022/05/16/florida-school-district-overcomes-community-upset-to-build-new-campus/

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