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School readiness group has its first meeting

The Citrus County School Readiness Coalition held its first meeting Wednesday morning, with organizational matters the top priority. The coalition, formed pursuant to the state's new school readiness legislation, will control distribution of state dollars for prekindergarten, subsidized child care and related programs. The group spent much of its time Wednesday reviewing the legislation and discussing coalition membership. The coalition is required to have at least one-third of its members employed outside the early childhood education field. Other members will include representatives from the County Commission, School Board and Department of Children and Families. The coalition's next meeting will be 8 a.m. Sept. 1. The location has not yet been announced. For information, call Linda Foy at Childhood Development Services in Ocala at (352) 629-0055.

State senator wins honor

from school boards group

CRYSTAL RIVER _ The Florida School Boards Association has selected state Sen. Richard Mitchell, D-Jasper, as recipient of the 1999 Freshman of the Year Award for his outstanding support of education issues in the state. In a news release, Mitchell attributed his receipt of this award to his role in raising the awareness of the needs of rural counties: advocating the sparsity funding supplement rural school districts receive, helping to readjust the formula by which school safety dollars are granted and opposing vouchers. "It's an honor to receive this award," Mitchell was quoted as saying. "I believe it is critical to work with the local school boards to better understand the issues facing our public schools."