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Education spending continues to dominate gubernatorial race


Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist released a new TV ad on Friday, accusing Republican Gov. Rick Scott of lying to a constituent about his education record.

"We thought it really important to remind Floridians that you cannot trust Rick Scott about public education," said former state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, speaking for the Crist campaign. "You cannot trust him to care about your school children or to fund your schools properly."

The ad will debut in Orlando this weekend, campaign spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said.

It was the latest strike in the war over education funding.

Last week, Crist toured the state in a yellow school bus, reminding Floridians that Scott cut $1.3 billion from the state education budget in 2011.

The Scott campaign responded Thursday with a plan to pump millions of dollars into public schools and boost per-student spending to historic levels. (Democrats point out that the $7176 figure Scott proposed still lags the high watermark set in 2007-08 when you account for inflation.) 

Crist unveiled his latest ad on Friday morning.

The Scott campaign said Crist, a former Republican governor, was suffering from "education amnesia."

"While Rick Scott has funded education at record total levels –- and is proposing record per-pupil funding next year –- Charlie Crist left schools in worse shape, with his last budget giving each student $550 less than his first budget," campaign spokesman Greg Blair said. "And when Crist was in office, Florida Democrats said his cuts to education were 'harmful.' We give Crist an 'F' in both math and history."