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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Crist speaks to St. Petersburg middle school students about the economic stimulus



Gov. Charlie Crist leaves Stetson University's Tampa Law Center this morning after speaking at an economic forum sponsored by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [MARTHA RIAL | Times]

Media professionals surrounded Gov. Charlie Crist this morning when he visited John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg to talk about the effect of the economic stimulus on education, but the best question came from a sixth-grade journalism student.

“How is the stimulus going to help schools like J-Hop?” asked 12-year-old Julia Mendez.

First and foremost, Crist said, the money will provide money to pay teachers what they deserve.

“I’ll let you in on a little secret,” he said. “We’re probably going to be able to increase salaries for our hard-working public school teachers. Without that money, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that.”

Speaking to the group at large, Crist added: “The stimulus money is really the taxpayers’ money. It’s your money, and I think you deserve to have it spent right here in Florida, right here at J-Hop, as you call it. I think that being able to do that will continue to guarantee you a world-class education.”

As to how long it will take for schools to reap the benefits of the stimulus – another student journalist question – Crist said he thinks the effects are already visible.

“What I mean by that,” Crist said, “is that I think it already has given us hope.”

Donna Winchester, Pinellas Education Reporter


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:20am]


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