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Category: Education

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Quick transition of Broward schools superintendent raises questions

Peter Licata plans to start negotiating his exit as Broward schools superintendent Friday and could leave with a payout of about $192,000. He could also leave with a smaller amount or stay on as an employee until the end of the year, depending on what he and the School Board agree to. Licata, who has only worked for the district for nine months, announced at an April 16 meeting he planned to retire Dec. 31 due to a health issue, which he declined to discuss publicly. The board agreed at the same meeting to replace Licata, 59, with Howard Hepburn, 45, who has been deputy superintendent for the...

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Cypress Bay High, Falcon Cove Middle in Weston closed Thursday due to water main break

Cypress Bay High School and adjacent Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston will be closed Thursday due to a water main break, which has left the buildings without water, School District spokesperson John Sullivan said Wednesday night. The city’s Public Works Department is repairing the break and classes are expected to resume Friday, Cypress Bay High Principal Kassandra Fried said in a message to parents Wednesday night. The school will provide parents updates when available, the principal’s message said. The schools were not damaged, Sullivan said. School District officials said no other schools...

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Arrested Broward schools volunteer won’t face criminal charges, state attorney says

A Broward schools volunteer won’t face criminal charges after being arrested and accused of battery on a law enforcement officer, the Broward State Attorney’s Office has determined. The decision to clear Debbie Espinoza came three days after the school district released a consultant’s report that concluded her arrest was avoidable and that school police failed to de-escalate tensions at a heated Oct. 17 School Board meeting. Espinoza spent 27 hours in the Broward County Jail after being arrested by John Mastrianni, 63, a detective with the school district’s Special Investigative Unit. In addition...

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‘You’re going to waltz right in’: Randy Fine talks of how FAU presidential bid fizzled out

State Rep. Randy Fine applied for the job of Florida Atlantic University president after the governor’s office assured him he was a shoo-in, only to discover those at FAU had other plans, the lawmaker said. Fine gave his first detailed account about his role in FAU’s search for a new leader in a phone interview Thursday with the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said in March that Fine would make a good president of FAU, but the decision was ultimately up to a search committee and Board of Trustees at FAU. When the search committee announced three finalists July 5 for the...

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Controversial Promise program is ending in Broward schools. Here is what’s planned.

The Promise program, an initiative that was once heralded for keeping kids out of jail but got tarnished as a symbol of leniency in the wake of the Parkland tragedy, is ending after a decade in Broward schools. The School Board voted last week to approve the updated student Code of Conduct, which eliminates referrals to the Promise program as an action that can avoid a student getting suspended or arrested for non-violent misdemeanor offenses, such as vandalism, petty theft and marijuana possession. But while the name Promise will no longer be associated with the school district, the intervention...

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With little controversy, Palm Beach County Schools support LGBTQ history resolution

A resolution to honor LGBTQ History Month created division and strife in two South Florida counties, but in Palm Beach County, it sailed through with little controversy. The School Board voted 5-0 with no discussion Wednesday evening to recognize October as LGBTQ History Month. The vote followed a half hour of public comments, where almost all speakers voiced support for it. Several speakers told personal stories about their own journey as an LGBTQ person or loving someone who is gay or transgender. “Acknowledging the existence of queer people through history, we are proving the fact that Palm...

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DeSantis’ move to pull Sagemont scholarships: Concern about Communist China ties or a political stunt?

Florida’s move to cut off a high-end private school in Weston from state subsidies to parents has raised political and policy questions: Were the schools really an “imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare” of the students and the public? Or was the state’s move a political stunt to bolster Gov. Ron DeSantis’ struggling presidential campaign? At least 229 students were receiving taxpayer-funded scholarships at the two Sagemont Preparatory School campuses in Weston that were targeted late Friday by DeSantis for alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party. His office on Monday referred...

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NSU president to step down in 2025. His successor is already set.

After more than a decade of serving as Nova Southeastern University’s president and CEO, Dr. George Hanbury will step down in January 2025, when Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Harry Moon will take over. NSU’s Board of Trustees finalized and approved the succession plan at its Thursday meeting. Board members unanimously voted for Moon to become the seventh president and CEO, and the change will take effect Jan. 1, 2025, the university said in a news release. Before Hanbury became president in 2010 and CEO in 2011, he served as the university’s executive vice president...

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Florida’s African-American history standards blasted at South Florida town hall

Hundreds arrived a historic Black church looking for answers about Florida’s controversial African-American history standards and left ready to fight against what they see as increasing racism in the state. The one person they hoped to get answers from at Thursday night education town hall — Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz — declined to appear after initially agreeing to attend. So those attending spent much of the evening discussing how to fight against the DeSantis movement and the growing conservative activism marked by groups like Moms for Liberty, who have fought to get books...

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Broward School Board approves LGBTQ resolutions after heated debate

An effort by the Broward School Board to honor its diverse communities over the next year turned into more of a feud than a celebration Tuesday. In past years, resolutions recognizing certain events or groups have passed with little notice. But this year, resolutions to support the LGBTQ community and the instruction of African American history fueled the same angry culture war debates that have become increasingly common statewide. By the time the 3½-hour discussion was over, the left-leaning majority on the School Board prevailed in passing 98 resolutions, including three in support of the...

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