Florida schools target teachers with affordable housing

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state

Tampa Bay Times | By Jeffrey S. Solochek | June 19, 2023

The big story: As school districts across Florida struggle to fill growing numbers of teacher vacancies, they must grapple with more than the working conditions they offer and the state creates.

They also must deal with the rising cost of living that in many locations has made it too expensive for many educators and other employees to afford homes near where they work.

To combat that situation, some school systems have turned to establishing low-cost housing for their faculty and staff. It’s an idea that they hope will attract applicants, but also draws criticism from those who liken it to creating a company town where the employer holds all the cards.

The Pinellas County school district is the latest to attempt this model. It recently picked a developer to transform a former junior high into 225 apartments.

Hot topics

Charter schools: An academically struggling Hillsborough County charter school is relocating and refocusing its core mission. • The Palm Beach County school district continues its court battle over whether it is required to share property tax revenue with local charter schools, the News Service of Florida reports.

School leadership: One day after reappointing the principal of Bayside High, the Pinellas County school district demoted him. No one is saying why.

Superintendents: Brevard County’s new superintendent wants to refocus his district back on classrooms and students, Florida Today reports. • Broward County’s new superintendent says his priority will be focusing on children’s needs, WPLG reports. • The Duval County School Board is preparing its search for its next superintendent, the Florida Times-Union reports. Seven Florida districts are currently looking for new chief executives.

Student conduct: The Duval County school district is looking into new ways to report crimes and other misconduct, after having faced state criticism, Jacksonville Today reports.

Book challenges: A new coalition has formed in Palm Beach County to fight school book bans. It calls itself Woke and Ready, WPTV reports. • The Miami-Dade County School Board has told schools to alert board members and district staff any time a school decides to change the status of a book, the Miami Herald reports.

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