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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Scott seeks superintendents' input on red tape



After a week-long "listening tour" with parents and teachers, Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday he will seek ideas from county school superintendents within the next 30 days on how to improve Florida's education system. The visits to schools was "just the start of a conversation,"Scott said.

Scott said a recurring theme of his meetings last week was that teachers in Florida are overburdened by red tape and paperwork that reduces the amount of time they actually spend with their students. Five superintendents from large and small school districts will be chosen to suggest ways to reduce education regulation at the state level.

The superintendents have not been chosen. Florida has a hybrid system in which most superintendents (42 of 67) are elected by voters, with the remainder (25) appointed by school boards. Most elected superintendents are in small counties and most appointed superintendents are in large counties. As the Tampa Bay Times' Jeff Solochek noted on the Gradebook blog, 10 elected superintendents lost re-election bids in the Aug. 14 primary. 

The chief executive of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents is Bill Montford, a Democratic state senator from Tallahassee. The group's latest press release, posted on its web site ( in July, followed glitches in the school grading system. In the release, Montford said that "recent changes in the (school) accountability system have cast doubt on the credibility of the system."

During a Cabinet meeting, Scott said he's committed to making Florida "the No. 1 place in this country for our kids to get an education." He said one focus of the red-tape review will involve the Legislature, which he said enacts new education regulations every year. The governor said he wanted to find out "what we are doing that's just not helping."

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 10:43am]


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