Tim Wyrosdick

Escambia Co. School District

Gov. Rick Scott’s call for the release of $58 million to beef up school safety appears to be falling on the deaf ears of one incoming legislative leader.

Meanwhile, some school districts are feeling the crunch.

“It leaves us where we were at the end of legislative session; we’re going to be about $300,000 to $400,000 short from what was allocated to take the armed security through the school year,” said Escambia County Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

In part two of “Back to School,” WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody sits down with Santa Rosa County Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick, and what that district is facing in the new term.

For one thing, Wyrosdick is looking at higher numbers district-wide when classes kick off August 14.

“We’ll bump close to 29,000 students this year, and maybe go over that,” he says. “Our growth this year, probably in the neighborhood of 550-600 students.”

Screengrab from YouTube: Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos Opening Statement (C-SPAN)

Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as U.S. Education Secretary is drawing praise from supporters and derision from opponents. Meanwhile, a couple of local school superintendents are watching what could happen next.

Vice President Mike Pence broke the 50-50 deadlock in the Senate on Tuesday to confirm DeVos. Two Republicans voted with Democrats against confirmation. Florida’s U.S. Senators split along party lines. Republican Marco Rubio voted for DeVos, Democrat Bill Nelson voted against.

Photo via Flickr//Allison Meier / https://flic.kr/p/5KRnrx

  First, the good news: statewide, the number of failing schools was cut in half. When it comes to school districts, the results were mixed. Not a single district in the state improved its grade and half of them went down.

U.S. Department of Education

The new school year starts next week and area educators are hoping this year’s innovations will turn last year’s disruptions into distant memories. "We're looking forward to a very vanilla year, this year" said Santa Rosa Country School Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. It's not that he has anything against the other flavors in the ice cream aisle, it’s just that last year had a little more flavor than educators were expecting.

After a very shaky roll out last week, the first round of writing tests for the new Florida Education Standards have been taken by 8th, 9th and 10th graders. But confidence in the new system is still pretty low.

Photo via Flickr//cybrarian77 / https://flic.kr/p/azj5bZ

Teachers in Santa Rosa County have been working without a contract this school years as negotiations continue. County School Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick says that while it's not unusual to go into a school year without a new contract for the teachers, this year's negotiations are going longer than everyone would like. He says they have disagreement over the implementation of a performance pay schedule  that's mandated by the state of Florida that is ready this year.