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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough backs Race to the Top with no caveats this time

TAMPA -- The last time Florida education officials asked school districts for support on the state's Race to the Top application, they got few takers. And we all know how that turned out.

Even the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers' Association -- which had supported similar reforms as part of the district's seven-year, $202 million partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- balked at signing what they saw as a rushed first-round application back in January. They only did so after reaching a side agreement with the district that, in effect, protected their right to negotiate such changes.

But all of that has changed with Florida's second attempt to win a $700 million share of the federal stimulus funds. This time, said HCTA executive director Nick Whitman on Tuesday, the state went out of its way to include the perspectives of unions, districts and Hillsborough County.

"The document that resulted from that meeting is one that we can recommend signing without a local memorandum of understanding," he told the School Board.

Doing so quickly might encourage other districts to sign on, Whitman added.

The board took his advice Tuesday, unanimously approving the district's second-round application.

Tom Marshall, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:02am]


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