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Crist offers to take all rejected stimulus money listen

04/13/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Despite the fact that Florida’s unemployment rate is at its highest level in more than three decades, Gov. Charlie Crist described the latest economic news in Florida "as incredibly uplifting" in a speech in Tampa this morning.

Whether he runs for re-election next year, or decides to run for the Senate, the governor enjoys the highest public approval ratings of any politician in the state. And though he was criticized severely by some in the GOP for his very public politicking for Bar...

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Liberia's president to give commencement speech at UT listen

03/30/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The University of Tampa announced today that the president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will give the commencement address at the school’s graduation ceremonies in May. She will also receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

In November of 2005, Sirleaf became Africa’s first female elected head of state.

It was a huge comeback for Sirleaf, who was imprisoned in the 1980s for criticizing the military regime of then-President Samuel Doe. She later backed Charles Taylorâ€...

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Major rally for public education set for Wednesday listen

03/17/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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More than a thousand people are expected to protest tomorrow at the state capitol to protest multimillion-dollar cuts to local school districts' budgets.

Over the past year and a half, the Hillsborough County school district has absorbed more than $82 million in cuts, according to Jeanne Clements, president of the Hillsborough County Teachers Association. She says at that same time, new schools have opened, more staff has been hired, and more students have been absorbed into the school dis...

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State educators lament fiscal situation in Tallahassee listen

03/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The Florida State Board of Education held a workshop where members heard from a variety of state educators today.

The administrators all acknowledged the tremendous challenges they are facing with reduced funding, but most said they were thinking positively.

Sanford Shugart, president of Valencia Community College, told Board member Roberto Martinez that the resource allocation model in the state has been broken for a long time.

Michael Greco is the superintendant with the Osceola D...

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Teachers Union official on plans to scale back Class Size Amendment listen

02/20/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Earlier this week, WMNF covered a press conference where Congresswoman Kathy Castor announced that over $100 million in federal funds for education would be going directly to her Congressional District, which encompasses most of Hillsborough County, a part of St. Petersburg and a part of Manatee County.

Much of that funding will go to programs like Head Start, Title I Schools and for children with special needs.

WMNF asked Jean Clements, president of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers ...

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Hillsborough School District makes plans for stimulus funds listen

02/17/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Some of the education money from the stimulus plan will be distributed through competitive funding.

Jeff Eakins is the Hillsborough County School District’s Director of Federal Programs. WMNF spoke with him after Kathy Castor's news conference today, and asked him about that and other aspects of how the district will spend its new funding.

That’s Jeff Eakins, he’s the Hillsborough County School District’s Director of Federal Programs, speaking about how the district will deal w...

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Castor, Hillsborough Schools officials celebrate windfall listen

02/17/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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As part of the federal stimulus plan signed into law by President Barack Obama, more than $5 billion in education funding is expected to come to Florida.

In Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor’s 11th Congressional District which encompasses Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Manatees Counties, $145 million is coming soon.

Castor spoke this morning from Chamberlain High School, her alma matter, where she was joined by dozens of people, including local school board officials, and dozens of...

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Here comes new attempt to scale back Class Size Amendment listen

02/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Two weeks before the Florida Legislature convenes for its formal regular session, there is again talk of class-size rules being scaled back because of budget issues.

As mandated by the passage of the 2002 Constitutional amendment, class-size rules are scheduled to be fully implemented by next year.

But according to the state board of education, approximately a quarter to a third of all of the state’s classrooms will be above the cap next year- and it’s expected to cost over $800 mil...

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Florida could get $5B in education funding from stimulus bill listen

02/13/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Public housing provisions total nearly $10 billion. Nearly $15 billion would go to clean-water and environmental protection projects.

And minus the construction money, education programs would receive nearly $100 billion in new funding, including $12 billion for special education, boosting the federal share for education services to the highest level ever, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Arne Duncan is the Secretary of Education. On a conference call with reporters t...

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Huge difference in stimulus bills would hurt Florida schools listen

02/11/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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According to the website ProPublica, Florida's public school districts would miss out on nearly $650 million in construction money, if the final stimulus bill resembles the Senate’s version more than the House version.

Hillsborough County schools would lose nearly $49 million, Pinellas more than $28 million, Pasco more than $12 million, and Sarasota more than $5 million.

Randall Moody is the chief lobbyist for the National Education Association based in Washington. He says the Collin...

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