DeSantis looked to rewrite laws governing Florida university system

The big story: Back in 2002, Florida voters established the state’s current model for overseeing its public universities.

The arrangement, promoted by former governor and senator Bob Graham, involves an overarching Board of Governors that makes systemwide decisions after receiving input from local boards of trustees. The Legislature maintains some financial controls.

Graham pushed for the idea after Jeb Bush reorganized the structure to do away with the single Board of Regents and establish boards of trustees at each campus. Here’s some history on the changes, which won 60% voter approval.

We mention all this as prelude to a new report from investigative reporter Jason Garcia on his “Seeking Rents” website. In it, he details how Gov. Ron DeSantis attempted this year to again rewrite the laws governing state public higher education:

“The governor’s proposal would have centralized more power in boards run by the governor’s political appointees, made colleges and universities more dependent on money controlled by politicians in Tallahassee, and imposed more restrictions on what schools can teach.”

Read more here.

Hot topics

Dunedin Highland Middle School is one of seven Pinellas County schools to get a new principal for the fall. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

School leadership: Seven Pinellas County schools got new principals for the coming year. Officials said it’s the earliest they’ve had all school-based leadership positions filled.

Student rights: Student journalists at a Seminole County high school are fighting to protect First Amendment rights after a battle over photos in their school yearbook, WUFT reports.

Safety and security: The Duval County school district is hiring a New York-based company to review the district’s security efforts and recommend improvements, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Race relations: Students at a Seminole County high school started a Black Student Union to help unify students of color on the campus, WESH reports. It’s the second Seminole school to have the club.

Guns and schools: A Miami-Dade County charter school student was suspended after a video surfaced on social media showing him holding up a BB gun and a teacher’s name, WSVN reports. The student said it was intended to be a joke. • A Madison County charter school is raffling off rifles and other weapons as a fundraiser. The giveaway took a short break after the shooting massacre at a Texas elementary school, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Other school news

A Miami-Dade County graduating senior wanted to see if she could get accepted to all eight Ivy League schools. She did, and then she picked Harvard, the Miami Herald reports.

A Seminole County eighth grader could win the national spelling bee. Ekansh Ratogi made it to the finals on the word “kaiserin,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Follow what’s happening in Tampa Bay schools

Follow what’s happening in Tampa Bay schools

Subscribe to our free Gradebook newsletter

We’ll break down the local and state education developments you need to know every Thursday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

A Broward County philanthropist wanted to give some children “a shot at the same kind of American dream” that he had. He joined with Florida Prepaid to give two-year college scholarships to 87 students at a local school, WPLG reports.

St. Lucie County superintendent Wayne Gent spent his last day in office. He said he hopes he leaves a culture of positive relationships and climate, WPTV reports.

Citrus County School Board member Thomas Kennedy is to be sworn in as the new Florida School Boards Association president. He is the first person from Citrus to hold the post, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s news roundup is just a click away.

Before you go … There’s a new Netflix movie coming with Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson. How bad could it be, right? What makes it strange is that the promo came up in a YouTube search for Pasco County schools. Still not sure why.

• • •

Sign up for the Gradebook newsletter!

Every Thursday, get the latest updates on what’s happening in Tampa Bay area schools from Times education reporter Jeffrey S. Solochek. Click here to sign up.