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Bush seeks to boost reading funds, goals

Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday he would seek to improve reading skills and change retention policies for middle school students, hoping to bolster student achievement in those years.

Bush said he wants to add $43.3-million for reading initiatives in his proposed 2005-06 state budget, while requiring middle school students reading below grade level to take an intensive reading course.

Beginning with sixth-graders, Bush's plan would phase in a requirement that pupils scoring below grade level on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test reading section take an intensive reading course. Based on last year's scores, about 100,000 sixth-graders would enroll, Education Commissioner John Winn said.

Underperforming seventh- and eighth-grade students would be added to the program in the following two years.

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