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Race to the Top Education Reforms Should Benefit Florida Students & Schools


CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, 850-413-2842

CFO Sink Brings Together State Education Officials, Local Teachers to Ensure New Federal Education Grants Work for Florida

TALLAHASSEE- Following the filing of Florida's application for millions in education funding through Race to the Top grants, Florida CFO Alex Sink highlighted her steps to bring together school superintendents, teachers and the Florida Department of Education in the week leading up to the final grant approval in the hopes of providing Florida's students with the best education possible. CFO Sink also urged the Obama Administration to fund Florida's full application, given the urgent need for a strong education system to grow Florida's economy.

"So many times in Tallahassee, we have a choice -- we can find a solution that works or work against a solution," said CFO Sink. "With regard to the Race to the Top grants, I felt strongly that we needed to do what was in the best interest of students. 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.  I am hopeful that Florida will receive this important funding, and would urge the Department of Education to continue to work with our teachers and school officials to find solutions that will have a positive impact on as many of Florida's students as possible."

In the week leading up the final approval of the grant application, CFO Sink spoke with Florida Department of Education Secretary Eric Smith, Florida Educators Association President Andy Ford, Executive Director of the Florida School Boards Association Dr. Wayne Blanton, and Former Leon County School 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 appreciate Alex Sink calling the parties together for a serious and frank discussion on Race to the Top," said Bill Montford. "Our meeting was productive and encouraging because it enabled the parties to discuss their concerns, and work towards a solution."

59 of Florida 67 school districts joined Florida's application for federal "Race to the Top" grant funds of up to $1 billion.  The deadline for school districts signing memorandums of understanding with the Florida Department of Education ended at midnight on Tuesday. If Florida's grant application is approved, school districts will have 90 days to sign merit pay deals with their teachers or they will lose the funding.

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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.