Tuesday is shaping up to be a big day in Polk County. It’s the day that students are scheduled to report back to public schools throughout the county after they closed last Tuesday as Hurricane Ian approached, according to a news release. In addition, Lakeland Electric says power should be restored to all of its customers by Monday or Tuesday. More
12:30 P.M. UPDATE: Polk County public schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday as some schools activate as storm shelters for people evacuating their homes in advance of Hurricane Ian’s high winds and rain, Polk County Public Schools announced today. All after-school events, including athletics, are being suspended both days. No decision has been made yet on whether schools will remain closed beyond Wednesday. More
The Anti-Defamation League has documented more than 20 hate, extremism, anti-Semitism, or terrorism incidents in Polk County — 10 of them in Lakeland — that occurred between 2016 and 2021, The Ledger reports. Most involve distribution of propaganda; two involved schools: an anti-Semitic, conspiracy-filled letter faxed to a Florida Southern College department and two Jewish students being harassed at a tabling event at an unnamed school. | ADL’s H.E.A.T. map
Southwest Middle School is undergoing a $55.2 million reboot, with a completely new, two-story, 183,000-square-foot enclosed structure to be built in the next two years, with most of the old school scheduled for the wrecking ball once construction is finished. More
- STATE GRANTS: Thirteen projects in Polk County will benefit from $6.2 million in federally funded grants that were approved by the Florida Legislative Budget Committee. The biggest Lakeland projects are $950,000 for the first phase of an education center at the city’s Se7en Wetlands Park and $457,500 for a life skills house at Southeastern University’s school for special-needs secondary students.
- PICKLEBALL: Three of the eight tennis courts at the Kelly Rec Center will be converted for pickelball, under a provision of the 2022-2023 budget that will be considered by Lakeland city commissioners later this month.
County Citizens Defending Freedom has filed an appeal to Superintendent Frederick Heid’s decision to provide parents with only an opt-out process regarding 16 library books group members have complained are obscene, pornographic, age-inappropriate, or indoctrinate students. More
All 116,000 Polk County Public Schools students are getting their own electronic device, thanks to a $28 million grant from the federal government, along with other state funding, Superintendent Frederick Heid announced during a Thursday morning press conference. More
Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Frederick Heid is working to stem the district’s truancy issue by creating seven “community outreach facilitators” – what were once known as truancy officers. More
Former Polk School Board member Billy Townsend, who writes a newsletter about education and local politics, has filed a campaign finance complaint against Rick Nolte, who last week defeated incumbent Sarah Fortney for a School Board seat. More