A bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March now means students will see “In God We Trust” displayed at all schools in the state.
WPTV reported that the law requires the state motto to be shown in a “conspicuous place.”
According to state statute 1003.44, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.”
According to the Florida Department of State, “In God We Trust” was adopted by the state legislature as part of the state seal in 1868. It was officially designated as Florida’s state motto in 2006.
A physical education teacher in Georgia resigned after he accidentally showed pornographic images in class, WSB reported.
The sixth-grade teacher meant to show Sandy Springs Charter Middle School students an instructional video Tuesday from his personal laptop, WSB reported.
Instead, officials said, “a few seconds” of porn were displayed on the screen.
Fulton County Schools officials investigated the teacher, who eventually submitted a letter of resignation, WSB reported.
“It is our expectation that teachers and staff maintain a safe and appropriate instructional environment for all students,” a Fulton County Schools official said in a statement to the news station. “Our focus will continue to be student achievement and the safety or our students and staff.”
Four children found their parents – including their airline pilot father – dead Thursday in their Centerville, Ohio, home in what investigators said appears to be the latest incident in a scourge of drug deaths plaguing Montgomery County and Ohio.
The husband, Brian Halye, was an active pilot for Spirit Airlines, flying for them nine years, and captaining a passenger jet as recently as last Friday.
He and his wife, Courtney Halye, were found in a bedroom of their home on East Von Dette Circle, a suburban cul-de-sac.
The deaths appear “drug related due to paraphernalia found at the scene,” Centerville Police Officer John Davis said. Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, said the incident resembles other opioid cases and “could be consistent with what we’re seeing with fentanyl products in our community.”
“We’ve been talking about this for how long now?” Betz said by phone. “Here I go again … year-to-date, accidental drug overdoses exceeded 160 already this year.”
Official causes of death for the couple have not been released, as a full medical exam will be performed today.
‘They were very cold’
The couple each had two children from previous marriages. In two 911 calls to Centerville police shortly before 8 a.m., the children ages 9 to 13 told dispatchers their parents are on the floor and “not waking up.”
“They were very cold,” said the oldest child, politely answering “yes, ma’am” to the dispatcher as his sisters cried in the background.
The children ran outside the home to relatives as police conducted an investigation. By 10:30, police and emergency response vehicles cleared the usually tranquil neighborhood.
The Halyes purchased their home in summer 2013. The neighborhood, Pellbrook Farm, is just southwest of the Ohio 725-Wilmington Pike intersection. The quiet suburban cul-de-sac features homes valued around $150,000 to $225,000.
Warren County Court records show Brian Halye was divorced in 2011 in a shared parenting case. Courtney Halye was convicted of a felony drug possession charge in 2009, but the case was expunged. Her previous husband Jacob Castor, the father of two of the children, died in 2007 at age 27.
Neighbors were stunned by Thursday’s news.
“There’s never much activity going on over there,” said a neighbor, who declined to be named. Added another neighbor, “That’s what surprises us, because he was an airline pilot, and he flew for Spirit.”
Pilot flew last week
Halye last flew for Spirit on Friday, according to the “ultra low fares” carrier. The pilot’s social media accounts indicate he was based at its Detroit operations center. The airline does not provide service to Dayton International Airport.
“Captain Halye served at the airline for just over nine years,” Paul Berry, the company’s spokesman, said in a statement expressing the company’s sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.
The Dayton Daily News asked Spirit Airlines officials to provide more details about Halye’s last-flown routes and upcoming flights, as well as the dates and results of any drug screenings. Spirit declined to answer.
Federal regulations require employers to administer drug and alcohol testing in pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, reasonable cause and follow-up situations, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said.
Pilots must hold valid medical certificates in order to fly. The Airline Transport Pilot certificate, which Halye held, requires a first-class medical certificate, which must be updated every 12 months for a pilot under the age of 40. Halye was 36.
The FAA database lists Halye’s medical certificate date as September, 2011, which would mean the certificate expired more than four years ago. Asked to double check, Cory said Halye’s certificate was up-to-date, with it due to expire this fall.
“I’m not sure why the online database does not have that information,” Cory said in an email to the Dayton Daily News. “The system could be in the process of update.”
Dr. Richard Garrison is among the doctors who conducts such tests locally. Garrison said that exam is roughly similar to an annual physical, and also includes vision testing and EKG heart tests for pilots over a certain age. But he said those exams do not include substance-abuse testing.
Drug issues everywhere
Multiple-death overdoses at a single site happened at least four times in Montgomery County in 2016 — including to Jamie Haddix and Darrell Morgan, who were found dead on Christmas Eve. The place where they died, a four-unit apartment building on Wiltshire Boulevard in Kettering, isn’t ground zero in the region’s opioid crisis because there is no ground zero.
“You always hear, ‘It can’t happen in my neighborhood,’ ” said Michael Link, who lives around the corner from the Halyes in Centerville. “But it does.”
Centerville ranked comparatively low on Montgomery County’s 2016 overdose list, with only five residents dying from drug causes, according to preliminary coroner’s data. That’s much lower than comparably sized Trotwood (17), Miamisburg (14) and Riverside (13). But nearly every community in the county had a spot on that list, which included 355 deaths.
Two of the children attended Centerville’s Tower Heights Middle School and two attended another district. Centerville schools Superintendent Tom Henderson said the district “continues to support friends of the students who were part of this family. Centerville had guidance counselors “on call and on deck as needed.”
Henderson said so many students know each other not only from school, but from sports and other cross-community activities that a tragedy like this can have a wider impact that people might think.
“These two students have come up through our district, so we try to be cognizant of that and get out to the other buildings they’ve attended,” Henderson said. “We’ll be ready (Friday) when students come in, and we’ll be ready when the students (in that family) come back to attend school again.”
Staff Writers Chris Stewart, Malik Perkins, Katie Wedell and Hannah Poturalski contributed reporting.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this story.
Complete legislative and political coverage, MyPalmBeachPost.com/politics
Clothing, shoes and backpacks costing $60 or less will be exempt from the state’s 6 percent sales tax the weekend of Aug. 5-7, while school supplies costing $15 or less also will be tax-free.
The back-to-school break amounts to $28.7 million of the $129 million tax-break bill (HB 7099), with the biggest savings going to manufacturers. They’ll get to keep $73.1 million they would have paid in sales taxes on equipment purchases.
The elimination of the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment is permanent, while the three-day sales tax holiday for school supplies is just for this year. It’s also scaled back from last year’s tax holiday, when shoppers got a 10-day holiday.
House Finance and Tax Chairman Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, touted the cuts, saying, “We have made the decision in Florida that we can grow our economy, meet the needs of our state and care for the vulnerable not by having more taxes, but by having more taxpayers. These tax cuts welcome new families, businesses, and visitors to our state each day.”
Other reductions included in the bill affect taxes paid on aviation fuel, asphalt and pear cider. It also affects taxes paid by fruit and vegetable packing houses and how the state levy on some tobacco products is calculated.
The bill signed by Scott was a central part of just over $400 million in tax breaks approved by lawmakers this year.
The biggest share of the reduction, however, will go to property taxpayers, with lawmakers having agreed to reduce taxes used to finance schools. That property tax cut was set in motion when Scott last month signed the state’s $82 billion budget for the year beginning July 1.
Scott’s fellow Republicans in the Legislature sharply scaled back a $1 billion tax-cut plan he sought, and also ignored his pitch for $250 million in economic incentives — which might explain why Scott’s signing of HB 7099 came with little flourish.
Scott held a ceremonial bill-signing as the undercard of his attendance of an announcement by Novolex — which makes plastic bags — that it’s expanding a manufacturing facility in Jacksonville.
In a release, the governor’s office noted that “during the announcement, Gov. Scott also ceremonially signed HB 7099.”
“This bill will not only give Florida families an important back-to-school sales tax holiday, but it will also permanently eliminate the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment so companies like Novolex can invest more money in growing their business and creating new jobs,” Scott said in the release.
Scott had campaigned vigorously for his more expensive plan, running television ads, conducting a bus tour in January, and soliciting letters of support from dozens of city and county officials for the tax breaks and economic incentives that he cast as a blueprint for sparking the Florida economy and creating more jobs.
Lawmakers, however, were uneasy about the potential long-term impact of Scott’s plan on Florida’s financing. They also were skeptical of his approach.
Scott’s $1 billion in cuts were aimed almost exclusively at businesses. His bid for another $250 million in economic incentives also was dismissed by state lawmakers wary of handing the governor cash he could use to woo companies of his choice.
Instead, lawmakers tipped tax breaks more toward property owners.
The almost 6 percent reduction in the property tax that the state requires all school districts to collect for public schools — a portion called the “required local effort” — should mean a tax savings of $58 a year to the owner of a $250,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption.
That amounts to about $290 million of the $400 million in overall tax breaks passed by the Legislature this year. At the same time, lawmakers increased public school funding by $458 million, a 1 percent boost, by using other types of taxes and fees collected by the state.
“By reducing local millage rates we are ensuring that state tax dollars, rather than local property taxes, cover a larger share of the unprecedented K-12 per-student funding allocated this year in our budget,” said Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando.
Compiled from Associated Press and Florida News Service reports.
Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.
The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.
Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.
The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.
The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.
A bipartisan Senate agreement expected to be voted on Wednesday will include some changes to the meals your children will be offered at school, and it may be changes that would bring them to the table.
The bill, which is expected to be passed by the full Senate, will offer more flexibility to the nations nearly 100,000 public schools as it eases requirements on the use of whole grains and delays a deadline to cut the level of sodium in school lunches.
The legislation has grown out of complaints by some schools that the requirements for their meals – changed in 2012 with the support of first lady Michelle Obama – are burdensome and that children are not eating the food.
To qualify for federal reimbursements for free and reduced-cost meals, schools are required to meet federal government nutrition guidelines. The guidelines set in 2012 imposed limits on the amount of fats, calories, sugar and sodium that meals could include.
Many schools balked at the standards, saying children would not eat the healthier options. Wednesday’s vote comes after a bill that would have allowed schools to opt out of the program entirely failed in 2014.
Per the bill, the Agriculture Department would be required to revised the whole grain and sodium standards for meals within 90 days of its passage.
Here’s how the legislation would change what school lunchrooms are serving:
Grains: Currently, all grains served in public schools must be whole grains, meaning the food made from grain must have been made using 100 percent of the original grain kernel. The new legislation requires that 80 percent of the grains used be whole grain or more than half whole grain. (Currently, schools may request waivers from the whole grain requirement.)
Salt: The implementation of stricter standards for the amount of sodium in school meals would be delayed until 2019 under the new legislation. The bill would also fund a study into the benefits of lowering salt levels in school meals.
Waste: The problem of waste is a big one in school lunches. Under the new legislation, the Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be tasked with coming up with a way to reduce what is not eaten by students – particularly fruits and vegetables. Children are currently required to take the food on the lunch line, but many toss them without touching a bite.
Summer programs: More money would be allocated for summer feeding programs – where school lunchrooms offer meals for children who qualify.
The House is set today to vote on a rewrite of the controversial No Child Left Behind education bill that has, for nearly a generation, increased the federal government’s role in elementary and secondary education in America.
The update to NCLB, called the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” (ESSA) will loosen some of the restrictions the NCLB placed on schools and transfer much of the job of measuring school progress to the states.
Here’s what NCLB is, what it requires and how it will change under ESSA
What is NCLB?
The No Child Left Behind Act increased the role of the federal government in elementary and secondary education holding schools responsible for the academic progress of all its students – particularly focusing on poor, minority and special education students and students for whom English is a second language.
It was not without many critics who railed against its heavy federal involvement in local school districts, the goals which many came to believe were unrealistic and the penalties that were deemed harsh for “underperforming” schools.
How will it change under “Every Student Succeeds” Act, or ESSA?
Click here for the final text of a compromise bill that rewrites No Child Left Behind.
Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!