Statement from Governor Rick Scott Regarding Race to the Top

10/19/2011 Tallahassee, Fla. – “Florida’s decision to compete in the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge is anchored on the bedrock conservative principles of smaller government and local solutions. This application will target at-risk children by offering support and training to existing private sector providers through block grants at the state-level, not by creating new government programs, to ensure every Floridian has a chance to receive a quality education.

“The grant application designed by the Office of Early Leaning is the product of extensive consultation with private providers to find creative solutions that address a true need of those Florida children that have fallen through the cracks. The key condition for Florida’s participation in the Race to the Top Program is our commitment to ensuring that no federal strings are attached to any grants awarded and that no new burdensome regulations will be placed on private providers.

“The Office of Early Learning, together with my own staff, worked hard to structure a Race to the Top application that requires no additional state spending obligations—current or future, no requirements for future legislative action, and no new government programs that unduly burden state taxpayers and commit state dollars to federal unfunded mandates.

“To be clear, Florida will only accept these grant dollars if the award comes back with no strings attached. Additionally, if during the process of implementing this grant, the state finds unexpected new regulations being placed on private businesses, I pledge that Florida will not move forward with implementation.

“Additionally, any provider receiving funds will be asked to acknowledge that these grant funds are temporary and are not intended to build programs that will require additional state spending when the grant dollars are gone. I am also committed to working with the Legislature to hold Florida’s Early Learning Coalitions accountable for spending these dollars wisely.

“Florida’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge application is consistent with my vision for a world-class education system in the Sunshine State and meets our goal of ensuring the every Floridian has an equal opportunity to gain a quality education. It is my sincere belief that focusing on these at-risk children will save the citizens of the State of Florida from the economic and social costs that come from long-term dependence on welfare programs that are funded with their tax dollars.”

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