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March 24, 2004

Hearing today about FSDB regulation proposal

From: St. Augustine Record - St. Augustine,FL,USA - Mar 24, 2004

Associate Editor

A proposal to regulate the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind gets another hearing today before a state legislative committee.

The state Administration Committee of the Florida House of Representatives takes up the bill at 8 a.m. in Reed Hall in the House Building of the state Capitol.

State Rep. Doug Wiles, D-St. Augustine, sponsor of House Bill 1059, says he expects the committee to pass the bill.

Wiles said the bill is intended to clarify the school's relationship with the state and local governments and provide greater accountability for its board of trustees.

The bill is co-sponsored by state Rep. Don Davis, R-Jacksonville. Davis represents a part of St. Johns County including the North City area where the school is located.

The bill is in direct response to a critical state audit, released in 2002, of the school's business practices. In the audit, state auditors found 13 violations of state laws in the school's operating procedures. The school has said it corrected many of the violations and is disputing others because school officials say they were following state laws or regulations.

The next committee to hear the bill will be the Appropriations Committee. The bill passed the House Committee on Education K-20 earlier this month.

Wiles said he expects the bill to be heard by the full House in mid-April. The Senate also will consider a similar bill. The Legislature ends April 30.

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