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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

65 percent pitch: It's baaacckk



You didn't really expect an education financing scheme that's easily reduced to a sound bite to go away.

Supporters of the so-called 65 percent solution --a pitch for a rigid funding formula that steers dollars into the classroom -- want bring the plan directly to voters in a constitutional amendment. They would require school districts to spend 65 percent of education funds on classroom instruction, rather than administration. A group called First Class Education wants to see the concept enacted in every state by the end of 2008. The simple pitch has been wildly popular in polls, even though critics decry a gimmick.

The 65 percent idea surfaced in Tallahassee two years ago, backed by Republican lawmakers hoping it would help sell plans to water down the class size amendment. (Ultimately, class size politics led to its defeat.) Now it's back as a constitutional amendment before a powerful state commission that can put ideas directly on the ballot.

Greg Turbeville, a former policy director for Gov. Jeb Bush, sponsored the proposal that will get vetted by the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission over the next two or three months. Voters have the final say over approved ballot initiatives in November 2008.

-- Letitia Stein, Hillsborough schools reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:31am]


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