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The 65% solution

in Peter/Statewide by

The moment I read his essay in the latest issue of The Journal of the James Madison Institute, I knew state Rep. Adam Hasner was going to take a lot of flak for his suggestion that a constitutional amendment be passed that would force school districts to spend at least 65 percent of their operating budgets on classroom expenses such as teachers, computers and student supplies.

The Times takes its first shot of what surely will be a series of critiques against the 65% solution, beginning with a snide remark that “the movement’s national chairman is a maverick businessman who has been accused of spreading Wall Street conspiracy theories while his company performs below expectations.”

There is also the criticism that by forcing 65% of the operating fund into the classroom, administrators have only 35% of the fund to deal with a wide array of budgetary needs. “Some critics say they see a high-stakes gimmick — an arbitrary, one-size-fits-all formula that could force districts to cut everything from librarians and guidance counselors to janitors and bus drivers.”

“I don’t want to say it’s sophomoric, but it’s an oversimplification,” Pinellas County school superintendent Clayton Wilcox said of the 65 percent idea.

Yes, it takes courage to knock the GOP leadership’s priority for education, especially a few months before the beginning of the legislative session. And supporters of real education improvement for our students, improvement that is based on neither an amendment that arbitrarily enforces class size or budgetary decisions, will need a whole lot of courage when fighting Bush, Phil Handy and Co.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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