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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

State CFO and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink weighs in on Race to the Top



A cynic would say you know the elections are looming when the state's chief financial officer weighs in on education. The counter: Well, education makes up a big chunk of the state budget and has a big impact on its finances. Debate among yourselves, but here's the latest:

Alex Sink, running for governor in the September Democratic primary, just sent out a release from the CFO's office highlighting "her steps to bring together school superintendents, teachers and the Florida Department of Education" to get their support for the state's Race to the Top application seeking federal funding. She also urged the Obama administration to approve Florida's application.

Resistance from the Florida Educators Association had education commissioner Eric Smith worried about lack of school district participation and what signal that might send to the Obama administration deciding where the money goes. Ultimately, all but eight of the state's 67 school districts signed on in hopes of getting $1 billion for Florida schools.

Sink's office said that in the week leading up to final approval of the grant application, Sink spoke with Smith, FEA president Andy Ford, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association Dr. Wayne Blanton, and former Leon County school superintendent and CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents Bill Montford. She also arranged meetings among representatives of teachers, superintendents and school boards to ensure that the needs of everyone who works to educate students were taken into account.

"I felt strongly that we needed to do what was in the best interest of students," Sink said in a release. "That's why I took the same approach that I used during my decades as a business leader - bringing together the interested parties to try and work out a solution that was in the best interest of our kids."

So far in campaigning, Sink has stressed her role as a mom of two who went through public schools.


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:47am]


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