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Rick Scott hears superintendents' testing concerns

Gov. Rick Scott did more than just unveil his budget recommendations on Wednesday.

He met with nine superintendents and Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

The meeting gave the superintendents a chance to express their concerns about the state's new tests.

The issues aren't new: The superintendents want to see a temporary freeze on school grades, elimination of end-of-course exams for each subject and grade, and a change in how the state ties teacher evaluations to test scores. Superintendents also expressed ongoing concerns about having the technology and training for computer-based testing.

Pinellas County schools Superintendent Mike Grego, who attended the meeting, said the group is concerned that a rushed implementation of the new tests could cause the state's accountability system to "implode."

Sen. Bill Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat and CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, said he plans to draft a bill that would address some of the superintendents' concerns.

Montford expects the Senate to work "feverishly" to address the issues.

"If we're going to make any changes, they have to happen quickly," he said.

Montford said he believes the superintendents' concerns could get more traction than in previous years because parents and community members also have raised concerns as the state moves away from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests.

Also in attendance Wednesday, according to the governor's office: Escambia Superintendent Malcolm Thomas, outgoing Hillsborough Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Nassau Superintendent John Ruis, Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning, St. Johns Superintendent Joe Joyner, Santa Rosa Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick and Orange Superintendent Barbara Jenkins.

-- Cara Fitzpatrick and Kathleen McGrory