Lynn Hatter

News Director

Lynn Hatter is a  Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has been a member of the WFSU news team since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative.  When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.

Florida has more than 100 schools that it labels persistently failing. Those schools have earned D’s and F’s for several years in a row. Many of them suffer from high poverty and high teacher turnover. The issues facing parents, teachers, and students in such schools are complex. Now a House panel has unveiled a plan that would change the way the state deals with such situations.

Florida State University

Florida State University is considering whether to open a primary care clinic near Sabal Palm Elementary school. The move would give students in the university’s medical school clinical experience.

Affordable housing programs could be getting nearly $6 million more than they did last year.
Nick Evans

A rift has emerged along a now-familiar fault line in the House and Senate Education spending plans. The chambers are again at odds over how to count what’s known as the required local effort to fund public schools.

Leon County Schools

Months of building tension between newly-elected Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna and the school board came to a head Tuesday as board members postponed a decision to move the Adult and Community Education Center to the Lively Technical Center campus next to Tallahassee Community College.

Ronny Ahmed
youcaring.com

Florida State University could soon face a lawsuit following a shooting on campus that left one student paralyzed. Ronny Ahmed was shot multiple times by the man who opened fire in Strozier Library on a late night in November 2014. At issue is whether the school was negligent in its security.

Florida’s public colleges and universities could lose about $164 million under budget cut proposals rolled out Monday in the House.

Leon County Schools

As the Florida legislature weighs whether to make recess mandatory for elementary schoolers, the Leon County School board is trying to get ahead.

A Senate education panel has temporarily postponed a school testing overhaul bill—putting one of the two major testing proposals in jeopardy.

Florida’s unemployment rate remains at 5 percent, where it’s been throughout the first quarter of the year. Lynn Hatter reports state employment officials say that’s a good thing.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control

Both prescription and illegal opioids are driving a national spike in overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, they were involved in more than 33,000 deaths in 2015. Florida has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-driven overdoses, up more than 20 percent.  Yet, lawmakers are still grappling with how to address the issue.

Tallahassee's Community Redevelopment Agency has approved the sale of the Bloxham Building and old jail near Cascades Park.  The move is part of a redevelopment effort in the area, and could become the new home of a mixed use development project.

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Artist renderings of what a possible mixed use housing development in Frenchtown would look like.
City of Tallahassee

Tallahassee Commissioners are postponing the sale of a parcel of land in Frenchtown. Residents protested the sale of the land to a student-housing developer, saying it jeopardizes the historic nature of the area.

Three charter school companies expressed interest. Two fit the criteria. Only one submitted an application. This week the Jefferson County School District became Florida’s first charter school district. The move got a round of support from the state board of education Wednesday.

Florida Department of Education

The Florida Department of Education says it’s investigating whether some school districts are inflating their graduation rates.  Leon and Gadsden County Schools use a company called EdMentum, also known as EdOptions. Hamilton, Dixie and Levy County Schools use a company called Smart Horizons. Others use Giant Campus. Such programs are at the center of the state's probe.

The Jefferson County School District will be back before the state board of education Wednesday. It may have found a charter school operator to take over its struggling school system, and is a step closer to becoming Florida's first charter district.

The Florida House is promising big cut to higher education funding. And it also has another idea for changes that should be made to the system.  The chamber unveiled its answer to one of Senate President Joe Negron’s top priorities this week.

North Florida Congressman Neil Dunn hosted a nearly four hour town hall meeting in Panama City this weekend. Dominating the conversation: Dunn’s view on Congress’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

North Florida Congressman Neal Dunn will host a town hall this weekend in Panama City   Last month Dunn clashed with a small group of local residents who wanted to speak to him during a stop in Tallahassee.

Healthcarelist.com

A Florida Senate Panel has voted down a plan to allow recovery care centers in Florida. The facilities provide nursing care for people recently discharged from hospitals or those in need of post-operative care.

Bonnie Brown / Flickr.com

The price tag for Florida’s class size amendment is now at $34 billion. The state has spent that much since the measure was put into the Florida constitution by voters back in 2002. Since that time, its caused headaches for schools and districts which undergo the tricky task of trying to meet the standard. Now  state lawmakers are trying again to grant districts a little more wiggle room when it comes to class sizes.

sunshine.com

For the past several years, Florida’s public colleges and universities have sought to shield high-level position searches from the state’s sunshine law. The measure has repeatedly been swatted down, but its effort is back again.

Mayor Andrew Gillum
Nick Evans

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has only been running for governor for about a week, but he’s already facing a controversy about his use of a political email system. Now Gillum says he will comply with an investigation.

The FL Supreme Court took up arguments in this week in a high profile death penalty case.
Nick Evans

Florida lawmakers have approved a fix to the state’s death penalty sentencing system that if approved by Governor Scott, will require unanimous jury recommendations.

Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart) speaks to members of the Florida Board of Governors Tuesday, 6/21/16
Florida Channel

The Florida Senate has approved wide-ranging changes to the state’s higher education system. It’s a top priority of Senate President Joe Negron. But that doesn’t mean it’s a priority for the House.

Sen. Bill Montford,D-Tallahassee, is flanked by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and local school district officials as he unveils a testing overhaul bill (3/8/17).
The Florida Channel

Tallahassee Democrat Bill Montford is out with a plan to revamp the state’s testing system. A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Senate and House flanked Montford Wednesday in the Capitol as he unveiled his plan.

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