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Quality of Life Index // OUR TIMES AS TOLD BY STATISTICS

Percentage change in spending at stores in Tampa during the Thanksgiving weekend this year versus the same weekend last year: -7.8

Percentage change in spending at stores nationwide for the same two weekends: -4.7

Percentage of first-grade classes with 30 or more pupils statewide: 7.8

Percentage of first-grade classes with 30 or more pupils in Florida's five largest school districts: 16.1

Percentage of first-grade classes with 30 or more pupils in Hillsborough County alone: 1.2

Robberies in Tampa, January through September 1993: 2,194

Robberies in Tampa, first nine months of 1994: 2,438

Robberies in Tampa, January through September of this year: 1,884

Fine for fraudulently using a blue handicapped parking tag to park for free in the city of Tampa: $250

Number of motorists fined for improperly using the tags during the first three weeks of a city crackdown on abuse of handicapped parking privileges: 41

Sources for Quality

of Life Index, 1B

Thanksgiving weekend sales: TeleCheck Services Inc. of Houston, the world's largest check-acceptance company. The company bases its conclusions on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of authorized checks written by consumers at nearly 22,000 of TeleCheck's 150,000 subscribing locations. Checks account for 37 percent of spending, compared with 13 percent combined for debit and credit cards. Cash accounts for almost all the rest of holiday spending.

Classroom crowding: Florida Department of Education. The state's top five school districts are Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Duval. Despite being one of the five biggest school districts, Hillsborough has only six of 488 first-grade classes with 30 or more students.

Robberies: "Preliminary 1995 Third Quarter Crime Report," October 1995, prepared by the Tampa Police Department support services division.

Handicapped parking: City of Tampa Parking Division Manager Gene Bressler.

Compiled by RICHARD DANIELSON with contributions from STEPHEN HEGARTY and BARBARA HIJEK.

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