Mediation to begin in Florida’s school reopening suit. Will it work?

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Tampa Bay Times | by Jeffrey S. Solochek | August 17, 2020

As another round of schools across Florida welcome students back to classes this week, a big question looms over the state’s reopening: Will mediation between lawyers for the Governor’s Office and the Florida Education Association yield results that can satisfy two sides with very different agendas? It might seem unlikely, with education commissioner Richard Corcoran repeatedly having called the union’s lawsuit “frivolous.” But Leon County Judge Charles Dodson, whom Corcoran labeled “progressive” in a conversation with superintendents, has strongly encouraged the sides to look for common ground. If they can’t find any, he’s ready to begin hearings Wednesday morning on the FEA’s push to stop Corcoran’s reopening order. Have you decided what to do with your kids yet?

“This is a case that cries out for the parties to come together.” Judge Dodson denied the state’s motion to dismiss the union’s complaint during a 90-minute hearing, where he also ordered mediation. Late Sunday, the sides turned to Twitter to draw their lines in the sand.

Feature Photo: Patty Hanley, who teaches entrepreneurship to students with intellectual abilities, moves a cart of classroom supplies while setting up her socially distanced classroom for nine students on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, at Wendell Krinn Technical High School in New Port Richey. The first day of classes for Pasco County Public Schools is Aug. 24. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]