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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Meek to Crist: Hurry up and apply for that stimulus money



It sure sounds like the opening volley in the U.S. Senate race: Florida Congressman and Senate candidate Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, fired off an urgent letter yesterday afternoon, telling Governor (and possible Senate candidate) Charlie Crist that Florida education officials need to hurry up and apply for Florida’s share of the stimulus money because U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was waiting to act on the state’s request.

“I shared with him the understanding that had been relayed to me through numerous conversations and news articles; that Florida was awaiting guidelines and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education in order to apply for that waiver,” writes Meek, who met with Duncan Monday. “Secretary Duncan surprised me by saying that the Department of Education was awaiting Florida’s initial application for the stimulus dollars.”

“High ranking members of the Secretary’s staff who sat in on the meeting, as well as the Secretary himself, are anxiously awaiting Florida’s application (and) have had several conversations with members of your office and the Florida Department of Education,” Meek continues. “They are inviting Florida to not only submit a DRAFT application, but are standing by to walk state education officials through the process before the application is finalized.”

Hmmm. We’ve certainly heard the same story Meek has. So who’s got their facts twisted – FDOE, Meek or Duncan? The Orlando Sentinel’s education blog is reporting the feds do want the FDOE to apply, now, and that FDOE shouldn’t be waiting.

A DOE spokesperson referred questions to Crist’s office. A Crist spokesperson couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Tuesday night.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:21am]


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