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Two seats to open on Florida Board of Education

We've spent much time discussing who might become Florida's education commissioner, and how big of an imprint Gov. Rick Scott will make in the selection of a replacement to his first pick for the job.

But little attention has been paid to another choice facing Scott that will have perhaps even more impact on the state's education system: Two seats on the Florida Board of Education become vacant on Dec. 31.

One of those posts belongs to former U.S. attorney Roberto Martinez, a Jeb Bush appointee who isn't eligible for another term. Martinez, of Coral Gables, recently has been one of the board's most questioning and sometimes critical members, raising many concerns on issues such as English language learners and the state's school grading system.

Martinez has said he'll stick around until he's replaced.

The other board member whose term expires is former Monroe superintendent John Padget, who has become a consistent voice for increasing academic standards. Charlie Crist put Padget on the board, and Scott could reappoint him if Padget wants another stint.

Scott has made a bid to prioritize education in the coming year, saying he doesn't want to decrease funding and calling for reductions in red tape and regulations that hinder classroom education. He's suggested expanding charter school operations, perhaps even allowing districts to open their own. What type of people might he find to push his agenda?

His earlier appointments include Barbara Feingold, a health care executive, and current chairman Gary Chartrand, a Jacksonville-area businessman with ties to charter schools and his local education foundation. Might he mix things up and appoint a teacher, a profession currently not represented on the board? His picks could provide further insights into Florida's real direction on education matters.

Posted by Jeff Solochek at 1:07:49 pm on November 16, 2012