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Education bid goes awry amid allegations of favoritism – Tampa Bay Times



The big story: Florida has rules about how to hire companies to do work for the government. They’re designed to prevent favoritism and maintain a transparent process.
In seeking a vendor to steer the troubled Jefferson County school district, the Florida Department of Education ran afoul of those rules.
The initiative appeared designed to benefit a single firm, MGT Consulting, whose chief executive has ties to commissioner Richard Corcoran. It floundered when three department officials made their own bid for the work.
Political accusations have flown in the aftermath. Two officials have resigned their positions. Investigations are ongoing. And MGT looks likely to walk away. Read the story here.
Gov. Ron DeSantis highlighted his education agenda during his State of the State address. He mentioned the successes of Pinellas County’s Lakewood Elementary when calling for more bonuses and higher pay for teachers. You can watch the full 35-minute address here. Or read it here.
As part of his plan, DeSantis wants to decrease spring student testing, and focus instead on progress monitoring. The Senate Education Committee advanced legislation to make his goal a reality. But members acknowledged that many details still must be worked out.
A bill to shield university presidential search records came before lawmakers for an eighth time. The Senate Education Committee favorably reported the measure, which also faced some significant opposition, Florida Politics reports.
Education-related issues are expected to remain hotly debated during the session. Republican legislative leaders are promoting several contentious measures that center on school curriculum and leadership, WFSU reports.
Superintendent searches: The Pinellas County School Board took a step toward beginning its search, naming veteran board member Carol Cook to lead the effort. The board also approved an increase in substitute teacher pay rates. • Broward and Miami-Dade counties also are looking for superintendents. Their approaches are quite different, WPLG reports. Miami-Dade’s rushed process has generated criticism in the community, the Miami Herald reports.
Sexual harassment: Advocates again called for the Hillsborough County school district to investigate its handling of sexual harassment complaints. Officials have offered little response.
Sex education: Don’t want your child to learn sex education in school? There’s an opt-out form for that, the Keys Weekly reports.
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Book bans: Hillsborough County’s Burnett Middle School used Ghost Boys, a novel about police brutality that some schools around the nation have removed, to help students learn more about law enforcement works in the real world, Bay News 9 reports.
Staff shortages: Northwest Florida schools are feeling the effects of teacher resignations, WEAR reports.
Hillsborough County superintendent Addison Davis has COVID-19. The district’s central office has reported 73 staff cases this month.
Safety first. The Duval County school district adopted a new policy to send information about gun safety and storage laws to parents every year, WTLV reports. • Volusia County schools plan to change student teaming in an effort to decrease violence and other behavior problems, WKMG reports. • The Broward County School Board purchased handheld metal detectors for random searches at schools, WFOR reports.
School bus drivers face tough times. Two Lee County residents collected gift cards and donations to offer local drivers some support, WINK reports.
A group of Lake County parents is holding a gun raffle to support the Class of 2022. The school district distanced itself from the raffle, which has raised concerns in the Umatilla community, WKMG reports.
From the court docket … A Miami-Dade County parent announced plans to sue the school district over alleged bullying of her daughter by a teacher, the Miami New Times reports.
Need to catch up? Yesterday’s roundup is right here.
Before you go … What if Fresh Prince of Bel-Air wasn’t a sitcom? We’ll soon find out.
• • •
Every Thursday, get the latest updates on what’s happening in Tampa Bay area schools from Times education reporter Jeffrey S. Solochek. Click here to sign up.
Education Reporter


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The Rise of Online Businesses: A Comprehensive Guide to Success



In a world increasingly connected through the internet, the possibilities for starting and growing online businesses have expanded exponentially. Whether you’re looking to escape the traditional nine-to-five grind, want to tap into a global market, or are simply passionate about a niche interest, launching an online business is a promising venture. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key steps to success in the dynamic world of online entrepreneurship.

1. Choose Your Niche

The first crucial step in starting an online business is selecting the right niche. Identify your passions, expertise, and market demand. Research the competition and look for gaps that your business can fill. A well-defined niche will help you target the right audience and stand out in the crowded online marketplace.

2. Develop a Business Plan

Just like traditional businesses, online ventures require a solid business plan. Your plan should outline your business goals, strategies, financial projections, and marketing tactics. It’s a roadmap that will keep you focused and serve as a valuable reference point as your business grows.

3. Legal Structure and Registration

Choose a legal structure for your online business, such as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. Register your business with the necessary authorities and obtain any required licenses or permits. This step is vital to ensure your business operates legally and efficiently.

4. Website Development

Your website is the heart of your online business. Create a professional, user-friendly website that reflects your brand and offers a seamless customer experience browse around this site. Ensure your site is mobile-responsive and optimized for search engines (SEO) to maximize your online visibility.

5. Branding and Identity

Build a strong brand identity that differentiates your online business. This includes designing a captivating logo, crafting a unique value proposition, and maintaining a consistent visual style and tone across all your online platforms.

6. E-Commerce and Payment Solutions

If your online business involves selling products or services, choose a reliable e-commerce platform and payment gateway. Offer various payment options to cater to your customers’ preferences and ensure secure transactions.

7. Content Creation

High-quality content is key to attracting and engaging your target audience. Develop a content strategy that includes blog posts, videos, and other relevant content that provides value to your audience. Consistent and relevant content can drive traffic and establish your authority in your niche.

8. Digital Marketing

Promote your online business through various digital marketing channels. These may include social media marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and search engine optimization. Tailor your marketing efforts to reach your specific target audience.

9. Customer Service

Deliver excellent customer service to build trust and loyalty. Respond promptly to inquiries, resolve issues, and seek feedback to continually improve your products or services. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and refer others.

10. Data Analysis and Adaptation

Regularly monitor your online business’s performance through analytics tools. Analyze the data to make informed decisions and adapt your strategies accordingly. The online landscape evolves quickly, so staying agile and open to change is essential.

11. Legal and Tax Compliance

Stay informed about legal and tax obligations relevant to your online business. Compliance is vital to avoid legal issues and financial penalties. Consider consulting with a professional accountant or attorney to navigate the complexities of online business regulations and taxation.

12. Scale and Diversify

Once your online business is thriving, explore opportunities for growth. This might involve expanding your product or service range, reaching new markets, or diversifying your income streams. Continual innovation is key to long-term success.

In conclusion, the world of online businesses offers endless possibilities for aspiring entrepreneurs. By following these essential steps, you can increase your chances of creating a successful online venture. Remember that persistence, adaptability, and a commitment to providing value to your audience are fundamental qualities of a thriving online business owner.

The internet has revolutionized the way we do business. If you have a unique idea, a passion, or a solution to a problem, there’s never been a better time to start your online business. So, why wait? Take the plunge and embark on your journey to online business success today.

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