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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A bill racing through the Florida Senate would allow elementary and middle school students to repeat a grade next year if their learning has suffered during the pandemic, the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald's Ana Ceballos reports.

Why it matters: Evidence is mounting that the "COVID slide" is real and troubling.

  • Just 1.6 million of the state’s 2.8 million schoolchildren signed up for in-person instruction when classes resumed in August,
  • An analysis of South Florida schools showed the percentage of students getting Fs had more than doubled.

What it means: If the bill becomes law, parents with children enrolled in elementary and middle schools would have until June 30 to ask permission for their child to repeat a grade next year.

  • Superintendents would have to approve all requests.
  • High school students could not repeat a grade.
  • Students repeating a grade must complete the entire year; no mid-year promotions.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

Tampa Bay housing inventory drops as home sales soar

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In the last year, the Tampa Bay area had the 10th largest decline in housing inventory out of the country's 50 largest metros, according to a recent realtor.com report.

Why it matters: High demand and unusually low inventory is a recipe for rising home prices. In other words, it's a sellers' market.

St. Petersburg and Miami mayors issue bipartisan call to pass Biden's relief plan

Rick Kriseman and Francis Suarez. Photos: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images; Taylor Hill/FilmMagic via Getty Images

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez don't agree on everything. But the mayors both know Florida needs help addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

What's happening: Kriseman, a Democrat, and Suarez, a Republican, co-wrote a guest column in the Tampa Bay Times in support of the Biden administration's COVID relief package.

Suzuki's marine division picks location for corporate HQ in Tampa

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Suzuki Motors of America has settled on an office building off Tampa Road near Oldsmar as the corporate headquarters for its new company, Suzuki Marine USA.

Why it matters: The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council said the company will create "numerous jobs over the next several years" and operations are set to begin in April.