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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sink weighs in on education, supports Race to 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 amongst yourselves, but here's the latest:

Alex Sink, a Democrat running for governor, 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 ed commish 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 schools 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 our 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: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:14pm]


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