Florida’s education labor woes aren’t limited to K-12 schools

ByAlyssa R. Elliott

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Published Jun. 13|Updated Jun. 15

The big story: Like many Florida colleges, St. Petersburg College relies heavily on part-time adjunct instructors to teach its classes.

It has more than double the number of adjuncts as it has permanent professors on staff.

Aiming to protect their employment interests, the adjuncts unionized. In collective bargaining, they received some benefits from the administration including a $150 fee for classes cancelled in the two weeks prior to their start, if another class was not assigned.

When the deal came to the Board of Trustees for ratification, the governing body balked. After added negotiating, the sides landed at impasse, sending their disagreements to a special magistrate, who agreed with the adjuncts.

Trustees are still saying no. Adjuncts have one more opportunity to try to convince them.

This summary was updated to clarify the benefits offered to the adjunct faculty, as opposed to demands made by the union.

Hot topics

Voting signs are seen on Election Day outside of the polls in Clearwater, Fla. Qualifying for the August 2022 primary starts Monday.
Voting signs are seen on Election Day outside of the polls in Clearwater, Fla. Qualifying for the August 2022 primary starts Monday. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]

School board elections: The five-day ballot qualifying period begins today. Races for three seats in Marion County are shaping up, the Ocala Star Banner reports. • Some members of the Lee County Republican Party say they’re aiming for a takeover of the local School Board, WBBH reports.

School books: The Citrus County School Board will hold a public hearing in advance of adopting new instructional materials, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. • Palm Beach County educators are reviewing books on their shelves to determine whether they violate any of Florida’s new laws relating to teaching about race and gender, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Gender issues: LGBTQ students are finding their voice as they confront opposition to teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation, which they say is an attempt to marginalize them, the Hechinger Report reports.

Now hiring: The Palm Beach County school district is working to fill hundreds of job vacancies during the summer, WPTV reports. • Tampa Bay area school officials said they’re confident they can fill many of their teacher and staff openings in time for the next academic year, WFTS reports.

Struggling schools: The Duval County school district had more schools on the state’s high-priority list than any other district, WJXT reports. • South Florida schools experienced test score declines and learning losses amid several challenges over the past year, the Miami Herald reports.

Campus safety: Robert Runcie, who led the Broward County school district at the time of the Parkland school shooting massacre, now oversees a $1 million national effort to improve school security, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

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Kayla Cruz graduated on Thursday, June 9, from Wiregrass Ranch High after participating in the Pasco County school district's Save Our Seniors program.
Kayla Cruz graduated on Thursday, June 9, from Wiregrass Ranch High after participating in the Pasco County school district’s Save Our Seniors program. [ Courtesy of Kayla Cruz ]

During graduation season, never forget every student has a story. Pasco County teen Kayla Cruz once thought she was so far behind in school she would never catch up. She didn’t give up.

The Flagler County school district had a Friday afternoon administration shakeup. Two district-level leaders were sent to principal jobs, Flagler Live reports.

Bay County schools are undergoing several construction projects. The district is coping with growth at the same time it winds down repairs from 2018 Hurricane Michael, the Panama City News Herald reports.

Florida Virtual School has expanded its course list. New offerings include Hebrew language, Technology for Hospitality and Tourism, and Cambridge AICE for full-time students, the Orange Observer reports.

Before you go … Playing for Change recently posted a new collaborative version of “Oye Como Va” including Floridian Tito Puente Jr., whose father wrote the classic.

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