News Cast 2/2


February 2, 2024

News Cast for February 2nd:

Fewer students graduating on time

The high school graduation rate in the state improved to 88 percent while most local schools saw a reduction for the 2022-2023 school year, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Okeechobee’s district graduation rate went from 75.3 percent to 71.7 percent.

The dropout rate in Okeechobee also went up from 4.9 percent to 8 percent.

The state had relaxed grad requirements for a few years as a result of COVID.

Assistant Superintendent Dylan Tedders said jobs and farm labor do impact our graduation rate.

“Students may be out on their own. They may be raising themselves. They’ve got to start supporting the family, pay the bills, and may have younger siblings. We also are from a migrant community. We may have students come in during the ninth and 10th grade and then they move and we can’t track them down. If we can’t track them down our records state they just withdrew.”

He noted at one elementary school this year they have had 66 students leave and 55 new ones come in.

Glades County had an 86 percent graduation rate and an 8 percent dropout rate.

Highlands County had 80 percent, and St. Lucie 91.5 percent.

A highway patrolman Zachary Fink was killed last night in a crash on I-95 in Port St. Lucie involving a tractor trailer. The road has been closed for hours between Okeechobee Road and Gatlin Boulevard.

19-year-old Justice Reynolds, a prisoner at the Everglades Youth Academy in Okeechobee, escaped while being treated at Lawnwood Hospital in Fort Pierce last night.

The Florida Senate Agriculture Committee voted to approve a bill to provide more housing, especially for those in farm labor.

Sponsor Jay Collins said housing for 52,000 farm workers is needed in Florida.

It would allow housing on agriculture land with fewer local restrictions and regulations.

Glades County Schools are not happy with the state for poor notification of a school threat email last month.

Superintendent Dr. Beth Barfield said she wasn’t kept informed at all by the state.

The threat was deemed not credible quickly but Glades was unhappy because other districts were notified and they weren’t right away.

The Glades County Sheriff immediately provided additional patrols around Glades schools as a precaution.

Scott Martin caught 33’2 ounces of bass including a 9’12 ounce bass to lead the way at the Bassmasters Elite Series season opener on Lake Okeechobee. 175 pros are competing in the tournament through Saturday.

Okeechobee City Police are conducting a death investigation into the apparent suicide of David Allen, the city public works director. He was found deceased on Thursday. Few details have been released. Allen had worked for the city since September 11, 2012.