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                               T H E   C A B I N E T 
                          S T A T E   O F   F L O R I D A
                              DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE
                             ADMINISTRATION COMMISSION
                              STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
                              BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE
                           INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT TRUST FUND
                        The above agencies came to be heard before 
               THE FLORIDA CABINET, Honorable Governor Bush 
               presiding, in the Cabinet Meeting Room, LL-03, 
               The Capitol, Tallahassee, Florida, on Tuesday, 
               October 26, 1999, commencing at approximately 
               9:14 a.m. 
                                    Reported by:
                                 LAURIE L. GILBERT
                          Registered Professional Reporter
                              Certified Court Reporter
                            Certified Realtime Reporter
                             Registered Merit Reporter
                              Notary Public in and for
                           the State of Florida at Large
                         ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.
                                  100 SALEM COURT
                             TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA 32301



                        Representing the Florida Cabinet: 
                        JEB BUSH
                        BOB CRAWFORD
                        Commissioner of Agriculture
                        BOB MILLIGAN
                        KATHERINE HARRIS
                        Secretary of State
                        BOB BUTTERWORTH
                        Attorney General
                        BILL NELSON
                        TOM GALLAGHER
                        Commissioner of Education












                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
                                    I N D E X
               ITEM                  ACTION                PAGE
               (Presented by J. Ben Watkins, III,
                1             Approved                       5
                2             Approved                      40
               (Presented by Sandra Sartin,
                   Policy Coordinator)
                1             Approved                      42
                2 through 5   Approved                      42
                6 and 7       Approved                      43
                8             Approved                      43
                9             Approved                      43
               (Presented by Wayne V. Pierson,
                   Deputy Commissioner)
                1             Approved                      45
                2             Approved                      45
                3             For Information Only          46
                4             Deferred                     110
                5             Approved                     110
                6             Deferred                     111
                7             Approved                     111
                8             Approved                     112








                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
                                     I N D E X
               ITEM                  ACTION                PAGE
               TRUST FUND:
               (Presented David B. Struhs,
                1             Approved                     113
               Substitute 2   Approved                     116
                3             Approved                     117
                 Substitute 4 Approved                     184
                        CERTIFICATE OF REPORTER            185 















                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE              5
                                 October 26, 1999
         1                    P R O C E E D I N G S

         2              (The agenda items commenced at 9:36 a.m.) 

         3              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Division of Bond Finance.

         4              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Going to announce 

         5          the next Cabinet meeting? 

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  The next Cabinet meeting is 

         7          November 9th, Commissioner Gallagher. 

         8              Thank you.

         9              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Thank you.

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Division of Bond Finance. 

        11              You ready, Ben?

        12              MR. WATKINS:  Yes, sir.

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Motion on the minutes.

        14              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Move them.

        15              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Second.

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded. 

        17              Without objection, it's approved.

        18              Item 2.

        19              MR. WATKINS:  Item 2 is a presentation of a 

        20          Debt Affordability Study we conducted.

        21              As you all know, we have been in the 

        22          process of studying the State's debt.  And what 

        23          we call this is a Debt Affordability Study.  

        24          And -- and I believe each of you has a 

        25          presentation in your book, so you can follow 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          there, or on the screen. 

         2              You might ask yourself, what is debt 

         3          affordability?  Well, debt affordability is 

         4          more of a process.  It's an analytical approach 

         5          to evaluating the State's financial position.  

         6          And -- and what it results in is a financial 

         7          management tool to assist policymakers in 

         8          evaluating the long-term impacts of financing 

         9          decisions based on standard industry benchmarks 

        10          in the form of debt ratios.

        11              And at the end of the process, what we have 

        12          developed for providing information to 

        13          policymakers is a financial model to calculate 

        14          what the State's theoretical bonding capacity 

        15          is, based on two different variables.

        16              One is reasonable borrowing levels measured 

        17          by debt ratios, and the second is the amount of 

        18          State revenues available to make our debt 

        19          service payments.

        20              Well, what I would like to do is walk you 

        21          through the methodology that we used in 

        22          conducting the debt affordability analysis so 

        23          you can understand how we arrived at the 

        24          conclusion, and how we developed the model 

        25          to -- to provide information to policymakers.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE              7
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              The first thing we did was catalog all 

         2          State debt.  And it includes our major 

         3          financing programs, PECO, P2000. 

         4              It also includes other financing programs 

         5          that are not necessarily -- that are not 

         6          administered through the Division of 

         7          Bond Finance that are typically one-shot deals 

         8          created through the legislative process where 

         9          the -- where the bonds are sold away from the 

        10          Division of Bond Finance.

        11              The third thing that we did was calculate 

        12          our debt ratios.  And then we compared the debt 

        13          ratios to both national medians, as well as 

        14          medians of our ten-state peer group.

        15              And based on that comparison, we 

        16          established guidelines for calculating what our 

        17          theoretical debt capacity is, we calculated the 

        18          debt capacity within the guideline range 

        19          established, and we performed a sensitivity 

        20          analysis on the ratio in order to determine the 

        21          relative volatility of the ratio based on 

        22          different economic climates.

        23              The State has a total of 16.8 billion 

        24          dollars of debt outstanding.  And of the total 

        25          outstanding, approximately 8.8 billion, or 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE              8
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          53 percent of all State debt relates to 

         2          education, funding of education facilities, 

         3          with PECO being the mainstay of the financing 

         4          program for educational facilities. 

         5              Approximately 4.6 billion, or 27 percent of 

         6          State debt, relates to transportation 

         7          facilities -- transportation.  And that's 

         8          primarily toll roads. 

         9              And the third major component in terms of 

        10          programmatic area is 2.8 billion dollars of 

        11          debt, or 16.4 percent of State debt relating to 

        12          the acquisition of environmentally sensitive 

        13          land.  And that's primarily the implementation 

        14          of the P2000 program.

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Ben --

        16              MR. WATKINS:  Yes, sir.

        17              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Can I ask a 

        18          question as we go? 

        19              MR. WATKINS:  Absolutely.

        20              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Is this debt all 

        21          guaranteed by the State, or is some of it just 

        22          based on revenues from, say, tolls, or revenues 

        23          from some other set place that is, you know, 

        24          made specifically -- in other words, the debt's 

        25          based on that -- on the revenues coming in, as 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE              9
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          opposed to the State assigning full faith and 

         2          credit?

         3              MR. WATKINS:  Right. 

         4              There are two different types of debt 

         5          outstanding that we have.  And the -- and the 

         6          relative -- the -- the categorization from a 

         7          credit analyst standpoint is net tax supported 

         8          debt, which is considered State debt proper and 

         9          secured by tax revenues; and then 

        10          self-supporting debt.

        11              And of the 16.8 billion dollars, 

        12          approximately 13.1 billion is net tax supported 

        13          debt.  And -- with the remaining 2.-- 

        14          3.7 billion being self-supporting debt.  And 

        15          self-supporting debt is primarily toll roads, 

        16          with some dormitory facilities included in that 

        17          for the State University System, as well as 

        18          parking garages.

        19              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Now, when you 

        20          take, for example, the PECO dollars, that's -- 

        21          that's a tax.  But is only the utilities tax 

        22          that covers PECO, is it locked into receipts 

        23          from that tax, and not other taxes, or are we 

        24          signed up to cover it on any taxes that would 

        25          come in? 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             10
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              MR. WATKINS:  It's only -- Florida has a 

         2          very unique credit structure in the sense that 

         3          we have a dedicated revenue stream serving as 

         4          primary security for all of our debt.  With the 

         5          State general obligation -- or the State's full 

         6          faith and credit standing as a -- as a back-up  

         7          to any shortfall in the revenue stream.

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  This -- this is an 

         9          important point, I think, because when we're -- 

        10          when Ben and I talked about this, we're being 

        11          compared with our peers, many of whom are 

        12          general --

        13              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Right.

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- are -- are admitting 

        15          debt into the marketplace under a general 

        16          obligation basis.

        17              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Well, that's sort 

        18          of where I'm heading here.

        19              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I knew you were.  I just 

        20          wanted to get to it.

        21              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  You wanted to get 

        22          me there quick. 

        23              Okay. 

        24              Okay.  I've been undermined.  Go right 

        25          ahead, Ben.

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              MR. WATKINS:  So, in effect, what we have 

         2          when we -- when we go through these debt 

         3          ratios, and it becomes especially important 

         4          when we try to compare ourselves to other 

         5          states, and the peer group, and to -- to be 

         6          mindful of the fact that we -- we in Florida 

         7          have a unique credit structure, in that there's 

         8          a self-regulatory mechanism built in place in 

         9          terms of constitutional requirements, and 

        10          statutory limitations that are tied to each 

        11          specific revenue stream that supports that 

        12          particular financing program.

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  And that's the -- and 

        14          that's Tom's point I think he was making, and 

        15          it's a very good one, that does distinguish us 

        16          in the top ten.  How many other states have 

        17          this conservative approach to debt? 

        18              MR. WATKINS:  The -- typically -- there's 

        19          some other states that have revenue bond 

        20          programs where they just have the revenue 

        21          stream securing repayment of the debt without 

        22          the State's full faith and credit backup. 

        23              To my knowledge, Florida is really the only 

        24          one that uses that methodology in terms of a 

        25          finance structure as a matter of course.  And 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             12
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          most states pay their -- pay their debt 

         2          directly out of general revenues. 

         3              And so you're subject to swings in economic 

         4          cycles, and the amount of revenues you then 

         5          have left over to provide other governmental 

         6          services.

         7              So repeating myself, Florida is unique in 

         8          that respect, and so you need to be mindful of 

         9          that when comparing ourselves to other states.

        10              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  And when you look 

        11          at -- at the other comparative states, I think 

        12          they're doing it strictly by population, as 

        13          opposed to other methods.

        14              MR. WATKINS:  And that's --

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  In other words --

        16              MR. WATKINS:  -- correct.

        17              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- and it -- 

        18          because of the way they compare us -- because 

        19          of the way we're compared, we're compared at a 

        20          disadvantage with states that have an income 

        21          tax, where we don't have one, and with the 

        22          income tax are using that as the basis for 

        23          their bonds whereas we don't, one then, have 

        24          the income tax; and, two, we have other income 

        25          streams that are dedicated to the paying of 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             13
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          those bonds. 

         2              And so there's major differences between us 

         3          and our --

         4              MR. WATKINS:  That's correct.

         5              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, Commissioner.

         6              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  This is my prelude 

         7          to getting some additional bonding money --

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I know where it's --

         9              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- for education.  

        10          I --

        11              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- going.  I just -- 

        12              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- just want you 

        13          to know where I'm heading.  In case 

        14          anybody's --

        15              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I know where you're going.

        16              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- wondering.

        17              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  -- in 

        18          income tax, Tom?

        19              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  No.  We let you -- 

        20          your party handle that.

        21              MR. WATKINS:  Looking at the 16.8 billion 

        22          dollars in debt, that only gives you a snapshot 

        23          at a point in time. 

        24              And from an analytical perspective, it's 

        25          very important to evaluate trends over a period 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             14
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          of time in order to get a better picture of 

         2          where the State of Florida has been, and where 

         3          we're going with respect to our debt profile.

         4              At -- the total debt outstanding over the 

         5          last ten years has increased 10.9 billion 

         6          dollars, from approximately 5.9 billion in 

         7          1989, to approximately 16.8 billion in 1999.

         8              That's a total increase of 285 percent.  So 

         9          we've nearly tripled the amount of debt that we 

        10          have outstanding over the last ten years.

        11              However, there are no real surprises in 

        12          terms of the investment that the 

        13          State of Florida has made in its 

        14          infrastructure.  Four point six billion dollars 

        15          of the increase was attributable to PECO; 

        16          2.7 billion dollars was attributable to the 

        17          implementation of the P2000 program, which is a 

        18          ten-year program, 300 million a year, and 

        19          commenced in 1991.  So we've got nine years 

        20          worth of PECO -- I mean, P2000 under our belt.

        21              And thirdly, the expansion of toll 

        22          facilities accounted for approximately 

        23          2 billion dollars of the increase.

        24              So of the -- there are -- there are no 

        25          surprises in terms of the tremendous investment 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             15
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          that the State has made with respect to the 

         2          dollars that were generated through the 

         3          borrowing.  And the aggregation of these three 

         4          different programs accounts for 9.3 billion 

         5          dollars of the 10.9 billion dollar increase, or 

         6          85 percent of the increase that's attributable 

         7          to those --

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Just as an --

         9              MR. WATKINS:  -- three investments.

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- editorial comment about 

        11          the State's role in -- in the first two 

        12          programs at least, is -- isn't it correct that 

        13          we spend -- we pay as a percentage of capital 

        14          outlay dollars going to schools, the State of 

        15          Florida, at least among the larger states, 

        16          pays -- has the highest percentage of any of 

        17          the states. 

        18              And, in fact, nominally last year, we had 

        19          the most investment in -- in schools, capital 

        20          outlay dollars going to schools of any state.

        21              And I would assume that Preservation 2000, 

        22          that program is probably the most aggressive as 

        23          well, or near the top for any state as well.

        24              MR. WATKINS:  Well, to -- to give you a 

        25          sense for that, New Jersey recently passed an 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             16
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          initiative for a 500 million dollar program, 

         2          and that was -- that was a tremendous deal 

         3          nationally and got a lot of press. 

         4              So that gives you an idea of the order of 

         5          the magnitude and the commitment that the 

         6          State of Florida has made in acquiring and 

         7          setting aside environmentally sensitive lands, 

         8          vis-a-vis other states.

         9              These are real dollar -- well, these are 

        10          nominal dollar growth terms.  Even when you 

        11          deflate these dollars based on a CPI Index of 

        12          3.3 percent over the last ten years, it's still 

        13          more than double the amount of debt that we 

        14          have outstanding in the investment and 

        15          infrastructure.

        16              The next thing that we evaluated is the 

        17          growth in the annual debt service requirements, 

        18          the amount necessary to make our debt service 

        19          payments on an annual basis. 

        20              And actually, that measure is more 

        21          important from a budgetary perspective than is 

        22          the -- the total amount of debt that we have 

        23          outstanding.

        24              And it gives you an indication of our 

        25          long-term fixed costs associated with running 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             17
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          the state.  You assume debt comes off the top, 

         2          like for most of us.  Then the money left over 

         3          is -- is the amount that we have for 

         4          policymakers to provide all the other 

         5          governmental services that the State sovereign 

         6          provides.

         7              So the higher the level of debt service, 

         8          the less money we have left over to provide 

         9          critically needed services.

        10              And this -- it gives -- has an impact on 

        11          your prospective budgetary flexibility.  So to 

        12          the extent that you build up your annual 

        13          requirement, it inhibits your ability to 

        14          redirect resources to other policy initiatives 

        15          in the future, because this obligation 

        16          continues for the next 20 to 30 years.

        17              As you can see, the -- the -- the annual 

        18          debt service requirements have increased 

        19          approximately 717 million dollars over this 

        20          ten-year period, from 354 million dollars to 

        21          just over 1 billion dollars.

        22              The increase in the annual debt service 

        23          payments mirrors the increase in the -- in the 

        24          amount of debt that we currently have 

        25          outstanding.  And it represents a 202 percent 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             18
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          increase, as opposed to a 285 percent increase 

         2          for total debt outstanding. 

         3              And that's primarily attributable to the 

         4          historically low interest rates that we've 

         5          experienced over the last ten years, and the 

         6          significant amount of refundings, or 

         7          refinancings we've done on existing outstanding 

         8          debt over the last ten years. 

         9              We have executed 39 refundings, 

        10          approximately 5.9 billion dollars of 

        11          refinancing.  So that's basically a third of 

        12          our portfolio has turned over and been 

        13          refinanced at lower rates, generating gross 

        14          debt service savings of approximately 780 

        15          million dollars, and present value savings of 

        16          450 million dollars.

        17              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Ben, what -- what is the 

        18          typical debt service coverage ratio for 

        19          these -- the main bond programs we have? 

        20              MR. WATKINS:  The minimum coverages vary, 

        21          depending on what the program is and the 

        22          stability of the revenue stream, or the 

        23          perceived stability of the revenue stream.

        24              For example, the coverage on PECO is 1.11.  

        25          So it's a one eleven cover.  But on P2000, with 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             19
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          the more volatile doc stamp taxes, which are 

         2          highly dependent on economic cycles, the 

         3          coverage is a one fifty or one --

         4              GOVERNOR BUSH:  One fifty?

         5              MR. WATKINS:  -- point five zero.

         6              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Lots of room.

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Man.

         8              MR. WATKINS:  So it depends on which 

         9          program we're talking about in terms of the -- 

        10          either the statutory coverage requirements, or 

        11          coverage requirements embedded in -- in the 

        12          bond resolution.

        13              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  You have to think, 

        14          when you have a turndown in our economy, those 

        15          real estate transactions just stop.

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Well, you can look at the 

        17          PECO dollars and be -- be a little worried 

        18          about --

        19              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  That's utilities.

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- deregulation.

        21              I know.

        22              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Yeah -- oh, yeah.   

        23          That -- that is a concern --

        24              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I mean, you --

        25              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- with --

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- I was -- I'm not going 

         2          to tell the bond writers how to underwrite.  

         3          But historically --

         4              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Is it --

         5              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- our doc stamp revenues 

         6          have been pretty steadily upward, and it 

         7          flattens out during tough times, not --

         8              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Is that -- is that 

         9          set by statute, or is that just done by our 

        10          method to -- for underwriting?

        11              MR. WATKINS:  Constitutionally -- some of 

        12          the programs are constitutionally -- if it's a 

        13          State GO Program, then those constraints are 

        14          embedded in the Constitution.

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  So is PECO 

        16          embedded in the Constitution, or is that -- 

        17              MR. WATKINS:  Correct.

        18              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  And -- and what 

        19          about the P2000?

        20              MR. WATKINS:  P2000 is set by statute.

        21              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Statutory? 

        22              MR. WATKINS:  Correct.

        23              The next step in the process was to 

        24          calculate Florida's debt ratios, and compare 

        25          those debt ratios to both national medians and 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          the medians of our ten-state peer group.

         2              This -- the three standard measures used by 

         3          the municipal industry are debt service as a 

         4          percentage of revenues, debt to personal 

         5          income, and debt per capita.

         6              And Florida exceeds both the national and 

         7          peer gro-- our peer group medians in both of -- 

         8          in all three of those ratios.  And the growth 

         9          rate in those ratios over the last ten years 

        10          has exceeded both the national medians, as well 

        11          as the ten-state peer group median. 

        12              So basically what that means is we have -- 

        13          we are incurring debt faster over this ten-year 

        14          period in Florida than the national medians in 

        15          our ten-state peer group reflects.

        16              But in order to get -- these -- these are 

        17          very macroeconomic measures in statistics.  So 

        18          in order to get a better indication of how 

        19          Florida ranks relative to its peer group, the 

        20          next thing that we did was to compare our 

        21          ratios to our peer group, which is considered 

        22          the -- the ten most populous states.

        23              And based on this comparison, you can see 

        24          Florida ranks second in debt service as a 

        25          percentage of revenues, and -- behind New York, 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          and third in debt to personal income and debt 

         2          per capita behind New York and New Jersey.

         3              To give you a better indication of the 

         4          relative ranking in relation to the 50 states, 

         5          for the last date that the ratio was 

         6          calculated, Florida ranked 16th in debt service 

         7          to revenues, which is what we consider to be 

         8          the most important measure from a financial 

         9          management perspective, to use as a benchmark.

        10              However, despite Florida's apparent 

        11          relatively high debt burden, these debt burdens 

        12          and these ratios are considered moderate by the 

        13          rating agencies.

        14              No -- no analysis of the State's debt 

        15          position would be complete without some sort of 

        16          explanation about what our -- what our bond 

        17          rating is.

        18              The State of Florida has a very strong 

        19          general obligation bond rating.  We're AA, Aa2, 

        20          AA+.  And what that means is the highest credit 

        21          rating you can get is a AAA.  So we're two 

        22          notches below a AAA rating by two of the rating 

        23          services, and one notch below a AAA bond rating 

        24          by Standard & Poor's Corporation at a AA+.

        25              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Ben, I see on the 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          group of ten states, Georgia's the only one 

         2          that has a AAA. 

         3              Are there other states that have AAA? 

         4              MR. WATKINS:  There are nine other states 

         5          that have AAA credit ratings.

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  The market though 

         7          underwrites our bonds close to a AAA; does it 

         8          not?

         9              MR. WATKINS:  That's correct.

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I just want to make sure 

        11          for these -- all the writers writing script, 

        12          write it down --

        13              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Interest rate.

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- here, make sure the 

        15          story's --

        16              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- based on the 

        17          interest we pay.

        18              MR. WATKINS:  Florida's considered a 

        19          specialty state because of the tremendous 

        20          in-state retail demand for our debt.  And 

        21          normally we trade five to ten bases points off 

        22          a AAA high grade scale. 

        23              So it is -- it is received in the 

        24          marketplace -- our bonds are received in the 

        25          marketplace at better than the rating agencies 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             24
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          are -- are rating us.

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you.

         3              MR. WATKINS:  There's one important thing 

         4          to understand, is that there's not a direct 

         5          correlation between debt burden and credit 

         6          rating.  There are a number of other factors 

         7          that the rating agencies evaluate in terms of 

         8          assigning a credit rating to a governmental 

         9          issuer.  And those are financial condition, 

        10          economic factors, and administrative or 

        11          management factors.

        12              So regardless of the answer that we 

        13          generate pursuant to this analysis, the mere 

        14          fact that the State of Florida is evaluating 

        15          its debt and -- and taking a more active role 

        16          in managing its debt will be received very 

        17          positively by the rating agencies.

        18              The next step in the analysis was to 

        19          designate a benchmark debt ratio to use in 

        20          order to -- as a guideline for future debt 

        21          issuance.  And to perform a sensitivity 

        22          analysis on the ratio in order to see how that 

        23          ratio -- to assess the relative volatility in 

        24          that ratio during different economic cycles.

        25              So what we did was to lay out the 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             25
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          historical growth and -- the ratio that we 

         2          designated was debt service as a percentage of 

         3          revenues available to pay debt service because 

         4          the State is largely in control of both of 

         5          those variables where the other two benchmarks 

         6          are more mac-- macroeconomic measures.

         7              So the base case scenario uses the Revenue 

         8          Estimating Conference revenues to project what 

         9          we expect our revenue collections to be over 

        10          the next ten years.  We developed a more 

        11          pessimistic scenario, which takes that revenue 

        12          growth rate and cuts it in half. 

        13              And then we developed a more optimistic 

        14          scenario, which is based on the ten-year 

        15          average growth rate in State revenues.

        16              And you can see the red line is the 

        17          pessimistic scenario, the blue line is the 

        18          base case scenario, and the green line is the 

        19          optimistic scenario.

        20              These projections also include 9 billion 

        21          dollars of additional bond issuance that we 

        22          expect over the next ten years under the 

        23          State's existing programs. 

        24              So you can see, we exceed 6 percent in the 

        25          near term because of the -- completing the 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             26
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          Lottery Revenue Bond Program, which was 

         2          recently authorized, and the pace of our debt 

         3          issuance in the near term outstrips our revenue 

         4          growth. 

         5              But then the revenue growth in the out 

         6          years exceeds the -- the expected level of 

         7          issuance of debt and the ratios decline 

         8          somewhat.

         9              The last step in the process is to 

        10          calculate what our theoretical bond capacity 

        11          is, based on this targeted debt ratio. 

        12              We've set -- have suggested guidelines of 

        13          6 percent as a -- as a target debt ratio, and 

        14          8 percent as a -- as a cap.

        15              And then for each of the scenarios, we laid 

        16          in an additional 9 billion dollars of debt 

        17          issuance, and calculate what the theoretical 

        18          bonding capacity is based on each of these 

        19          scenarios at both the 6 and the 8 percent 

        20          level.

        21              And you can see based on the 6 percent 

        22          target level, in addition to the 9 billion 

        23          dollars of expected issuance, there's 

        24          3.3 billion dollars in additional debt capacity 

        25          over the next ten years.  And if the ratio is 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             27
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          pushed up more to the 8 percent level, then we 

         2          have 12 billion dollars in additional debt 

         3          capacity available.

         4              And under the more pessimistic scenario, 

         5          the 6 percent level because of declining State 

         6          revenues, the model would indicate that we have 

         7          no theoretical bonding capacity available; and 

         8          at the 8 percent level, 5 billion dollars of 

         9          bonding capacity available.

        10              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Let me just throw 

        11          out something for whatever it's worth. 

        12              I -- this is -- I mean, we're a very 

        13          conservative state when it comes to debt, in my 

        14          personal opinion, spent the last 25 years 

        15          involved in it. 

        16              If you look at the allowable debt for 

        17          individuals in long-term debt, such as 

        18          purchasing a home, which is what most 

        19          individual's long-term debt is, that sets in a 

        20          very high percentage, compared to 6 percent.  

        21          It's usually in excess of 25 percent. 

        22              So we -- in looking at a -- how 

        23          conservative is 6 percent, I think that it -- 

        24          that we can say it's pretty conservative.  And 

        25          it ought to be.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             28
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          advocating going to 25. 

         2              I just think it -- it's good to put it in 

         3          perspective, and let everybody realize how 

         4          conservative that truly is, compared to what 

         5          banks and credit agencies, who are purchasing 

         6          the mortgage backed securities that are backing 

         7          most of the mortgages that are done, and 

         8          they're sitting at 25, 30, 33 percent, some 

         9          cases higher, income ratios for the individuals 

        10          that are -- that are assigned on the debt.

        11              MR. WATKINS:  The -- the --

        12              TREASURER NELSON:  Ben, how do you get a 

        13          6 percent debt service to revenue as a target, 

        14          and how do you get 8 percent as a cap? 

        15              How do you arrive at those figures? 

        16              MR. WATKINS:  There's -- there's not an 

        17          analytical process.  I mean, it was through the 

        18          analytical process and assessing the volatility 

        19          during various economic cycles. 

        20              The external measures that we have to go by 

        21          indicate that from the rating agency's 

        22          perspective, once you reach 10 percent, it's 

        23          considered excessive; 5 to 10 percent is 

        24          considered moderate; and below 5 percent is 

        25          considered low.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             29
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              So it's really based on our best judgment 

         2          based on the analysis and the relative 

         3          volatility establishing the 6 and 8 percent as 

         4          guidelines.

         5              It -- you never want -- once you get to 

         6          10 percent, you've obviously gone too far.  In 

         7          my judgment, when you get to the 8 percent 

         8          level, we're -- we're talking about some very 

         9          negative rating implications potentially.

        10              So the 6 -- and the 6 percent is our 

        11          current level of expected investment in debt 

        12          service.  So it seemed reasonable based on 

        13          those parameters to establish the guidelines at 

        14          6 to 8 percent, but it's not a scientific 

        15          process.

        16              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Ben, if -- you 

        17          started in 1989.  It seems to me though that it 

        18          dropped to, like, two-and-a-half percent 

        19          I guess in 1990. 

        20              Back in the '70s and '80s, do you know -- 

        21          have an idea what the ratio was?  I mean, that 

        22          was before some of the constitutional 

        23          amendments passed that allowed additional debt 

        24          other than the original PECO debt.  That was 

        25          about the only thing that was allowed back 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             30
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          then.

         2              Do you know what the percent -- were we 

         3          sitting about 1 or 2, or some number like that? 

         4              MR. WATKINS:  It's -- it's got to be low.  

         5          I mean, the phenomenon of debt issuance is not 

         6          unique to the State of Florida.  I mean, 

         7          increasing the amount of debt, both for 

         8          governmental and from a personal standpoint. 

         9              There is a lot more acceptance and 

        10          liquidity in the credit markets, and -- and 

        11          people are using debt to their advantage. 

        12              The State of Florida has prior -- back in 

        13          the '70s, I don't know what the ratios were.  

        14          But they had to be less, simply because we 

        15          didn't have any constitutional authorization to 

        16          issue debt.  And in order to pledge taxes in 

        17          the State of Florida, you have to have a 

        18          constitutional referendum.

        19              And so it's really in the last ten years 

        20          that we've seen this tremendous investment in 

        21          infrastructure through the use of debt.  

        22          Although we had debt outstanding, it was not of 

        23          the magnitude that it is today.

        24              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  I think the other 

        25          thing that has to be looked at is in the 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             31
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          infrastructure that we've been financing 

         2          primarily in roads has been new, as opposed to 

         3          replacement and fixing. 

         4              Like, many of the northern states in what 

         5          they call the rust belt have a tremendous 

         6          backlog in necessary fixing of roads, fixing of 

         7          bridges, they're -- you know, they have -- 

         8          they're old, they need to be replaced.  And 

         9          we're not to that point yet.  But we're going 

        10          to face that soon ourselves. 

        11              And I don't know what kind of planning 

        12          we've been doing for that.  But if we look at 

        13          our sister states in the north, if you don't 

        14          plan for that, you're going to end up in the 

        15          critical place they're in without dollars to 

        16          replace that infrastructure.

        17              MR. WATKINS:  Well, largely our 

        18          infrastructure needs have been driven by 

        19          population growth in the state obviously, and 

        20          they relate to new facilities in schools and 

        21          roads and acquisition of environmentally 

        22          sensitive lands being the major programs.

        23              So that it's -- the -- the model that we're 

        24          suggesting is timely in the sense that we're 

        25          now taking a more active role in providing 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             32
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          information to policymakers about our -- our 

         2          relative debt burden so that they can take that 

         3          information into account in formulating policy 

         4          initiatives and in -- in prioritizing capital 

         5          spending.

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  One of the things that's 

         7          important to -- to recognize, that 9 billion 

         8          dollars is in the pipeline, in essence.  

         9          It's -- it's monies that have been committed, 

        10          correct? 

        11              MR. WATKINS:  That's correct.

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Programs that have been 

        13          committed.

        14              So not -- not doing anything, we will have 

        15          close to a net 9 billion dollar increase.  And 

        16          then if you consider ideas that have been in 

        17          the political realm being discussed right now:  

        18          Restoration of the Everglades, the unmet 

        19          transportation needs of the state, seaports, 

        20          airport issues that -- that may have some State 

        21          role to play --

        22              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Education.

        23              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- education and the -- and 

        24          the needs for continuing, you know, to -- to 

        25          lead the nation, and -- and the State's 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             33
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          commitment to building more schools.  And this 

         2          policy is -- is overdue. 

         3              I mean, it is -- or it's timely.  Let's 

         4          just say it's timely to factor this in, because 

         5          we also have current obligations that -- 

         6          that -- I mean, if we lined up the needs of the 

         7          State -- or the wants of the State, at least, 

         8          there's significant pressures on general 

         9          revenue now. 

        10              We're -- we're close to the debt service 

        11          capacity of the doc stamp revenue.  We can't 

        12          expand it much more in the out years, we get 

        13          below that 1.5 coverage ratio.  So we're -- 

        14          we're beginning to see some constraints because 

        15          of the doubling of our debt. 

        16              And it's a -- it's all intertwined with our 

        17          growth management issues that are being looked 

        18          at over the next couple of years, and -- and 

        19          the -- the adequate level of reserving for the 

        20          State, and the adequate level of spending for 

        21          the State on an ongoing basis.

        22              One thing I think I'd love to see is a 

        23          balance sheet for the State as well, what we 

        24          own, an actual balance sheet of assets so that 

        25          we could have a little bit more comfort that 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             34
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          this debt is -- is also being, as Tom said, 

         2          being invested in things of value that we own, 

         3          and -- and look at asset management as part of 

         4          this strategy as well, because the State does 

         5          not manage its assets.  We don't even know what 

         6          we have.

         7              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  I -- Governor, if I 

         8          may. 

         9              You know, we have been required now to, 

        10          in fact, get our arms around the assets.  And 

        11          that certainly will either help or hurt our 

        12          rating on the street. 

        13              But that is one of the reasons why our 

        14          rating is, in fact, what it is, is largely 

        15          because of asset management.

        16              I -- I was -- I'm glad you threw a little 

        17          water on what I was beginning to think was a 

        18          very optimistic view of where we are, because 

        19          Ben and I have been at this now for several 

        20          years. 

        21              In fact, back in '97, when he did the first 

        22          of these efforts, very few people paid much 

        23          attention to it.  And -- and frankly, it wasn't 

        24          so bad because we were probably at about -- a 

        25          little over 4 percent I think at that time, 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             35
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          four-and-a-half percent, somewhere in that 

         2          region. 

         3              And certainly my knowledge of benchmark 

         4          debt ratios of 5 percent was always in the -- 

         5          in the -- in the world of economics and in the 

         6          university is 5 percent was always considered 

         7          kind of the -- the cut line.

         8              And, of course, we are now well above that.  

         9          And if we do nothing, we are at worse, going to 

        10          be moving up if we have a slight cut in growth, 

        11          and hold our own if -- if we continue to grow 

        12          at the rate we're growing. 

        13              So I -- this is a very serious situation, 

        14          not one to be optimistic about what we can do 

        15          in anything in terms of bonding.  You know, 

        16          my -- my view of his 8 percent is it's too damn 

        17          high, if you want to know the truth.

        18              I don't think 8 percent is the ceiling we 

        19          ought to have.  But, nevertheless, it's for 

        20          policymakers to try to talk about this, and 

        21          it's certainly important to get it out on the 

        22          table.  And I think --

        23              GOVERNOR BUSH:  That's good.

        24              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  -- that's the best 

        25          thing that is happening here is it's now being 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             36
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          talked about, where we couldn't get any 

         2          conversation on it two or three years ago.

         3              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Governor, just -- I 

         4          just want to make a couple of comments, since 

         5          we're kind of making some general comments 

         6          here. 

         7              That I think it's good we're taking a 

         8          long-term look at this, and where we're going 

         9          and -- and where we need to be.  Where we've 

        10          been, I -- I feel very comfortable with that in 

        11          that as many people have said here, that the -- 

        12          I think a lot of this -- the borrowing has been 

        13          smart. 

        14              When I see the -- the increase in the debt, 

        15          and it kind of, like, alarms me, it may alarm 

        16          taxpayers.  But I think taxpayers can be 

        17          assured that -- and take comfort in that we 

        18          don't borrow money in the State of Florida 

        19          for -- to meet operational expenses, never 

        20          have, and I hope never will.

        21              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Here here.

        22              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  And -- and, 

        23          secondly, all these increases that you've 

        24          delineated in debt have been debt with 

        25          dedicated revenue sources to, in fact, retire 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             37
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          that debt.  So that makes it a very 

         2          conservative way of -- of moving forward with 

         3          debt.

         4              And then thirdly, as -- as mentioned, this 

         5          debt was issued to purchase capital assets that 

         6          have tremendous value that would likely 

         7          increase with inflation.  So it makes it wise 

         8          to make those kinds of investments for the 

         9          State. 

        10              So I think we're better off today because 

        11          of that.  And I think taxpayers can take 

        12          comfort in that what this state has been doing 

        13          has been smart, and not dumb.  Like maybe the 

        14          Federal government gets into borrowing for 

        15          operational expenses, we don't do that.   And 

        16          I think that's -- that's the underpinning of -- 

        17          of a solid financial strategy for the State.

        18              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Ben.

        19              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Actually when we 

        20          do borrow for operational expenses, we borrow 

        21          from ourselves.  So it doesn't go -- 

        22              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  That's right.

        23              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  But each year, we 

        24          do -- we do have a few months at the very 

        25          beginning of a year where we do have a cash 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             38
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          shortfall.  But we borrow against our existing 

         2          money, so it doesn't -- it's not a big deal.

         3              MR. WATKINS:  Of the 9 billion dollars in 

         4          additional debt, Commissioner Gallagher, 

         5          three-and-a-half billion is for PECO, and 

         6          one-and-a-half billion's for the Lottery 

         7          Revenue Bond Program.

         8              So that's 5 billion dollars in additional 

         9          debt devoted to education.  And then we have an 

        10          additional 3 billion dollars expected under the 

        11          Florida Forever Program. 

        12              And so those are the major components of 

        13          the 9 billion dollars of expected debt issuance 

        14          over the next ten years.

        15              In conclusion, Florida's debt ratios have 

        16          risen sharply over the last ten years, but are 

        17          still manageable at their current level.  Debt 

        18          ratios and estimated debt capacity are 

        19          significantly affected by revenue growth. 

        20              And what that means is economic cycles do 

        21          have a -- a dramatic impact on our estimated 

        22          debt capacity.  What we're recommending here is 

        23          that we integrate debt management policies with 

        24          the capital budgeting process. 

        25              So that this debt capacity model can be 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             39
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          used at the front end in formulating budget 

         2          recommendations, and information considered by 

         3          policymakers so that they have information 

         4          available to them about the long-term impact of 

         5          financing proposals when they're formulating 

         6          their capital spending plans.

         7              And by doing this, you have a more 

         8          systematic way to prioritize capital spending 

         9          and develop capital spending plans.  And the 

        10          model is -- is dynamic, it's not static.  It 

        11          can be updated for information with respect to 

        12          the amount of debt issued, as well as future 

        13          revenue estimates. 

        14              So it -- it should be updated annually, and 

        15          should be evolved based on the facts -- the 

        16          best information that we have available at the 

        17          time.

        18              And this information ought to be made 

        19          available to policymakers to guide them in 

        20          prioritizing capital spending, and in 

        21          formulating the capital budget for the State.

        22              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Any comments?

        23              We're -- I guess we have a -- a motion to 

        24          accept this --

        25              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Motion to accept 

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                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             40
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          it.

         2              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Second.

         3              GOVERNOR BUSH:  There's a motion to accept, 

         4          and a second.

         5              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  I think this is 

         6          a --

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Without objection, it's 

         8          approved.

         9              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- at least 

        10          annually.

        11              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Ben, I commend you for 

        12          your -- for this --

        13              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Good job.

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- effort.  It -- it was 

        15          really well done, and very appropriate and 

        16          timely.

        17              MR. WATKINS:  Thank you very much. 

        18              I'd like to thank my staff publicly for all 

        19          the hard work that they put together in 

        20          assimilating the data. 

        21              What you see here is really just the tip of 

        22          the iceberg in terms of the data that was 

        23          assimilated and analyzed in coming up with a 

        24          recommendation and establishing some -- the 

        25          guidelines that we've used here.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE             41
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              Thank you very much.

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, Ben. 

         3              (The Division of Bond Finance Agenda was 

         4          concluded.)

         5                                 *





















                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             ADMINISTRATION COMMISSION            42
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Administration Commission.

         2              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Motion on the 

         3          minutes.

         4              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Is there a second? 

         5              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Second.

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

         7              Without objection, it's approved.

         8              Item 2.

         9              MS. SARTIN:  It's a request for a transfer 

        10          of general revenue for Department of Children 

        11          and Families. 

        12              Also Items 3, 4, and 5 are requests for 

        13          transfers for Children and Families.

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Can you get a little closer 

        15          to --

        16              MS. SARTIN:  Yes.

        17              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Motion on Item 2 

        18          through 5.

        19              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Is there a second? 

        20              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Second.

        21              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

        22              Without objection, it's approved.

        23              MS. SARTIN:  Thank you.

        24              Items 6 and 7 are requests for a transfer 

        25          of general revenue appropriations for 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             ADMINISTRATION COMMISSION            43
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          Department of Corrections.

         2              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Motion on 6 and 7.

         3              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Is there a second? 

         4              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Second.

         5              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

         6              Without objection, they're both --

         7              MS. SARTIN:  Ite--

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- approved.

         9              MS. SARTIN:  Item 8 is a request for 

        10          approval of a temporary loan for the Department 

        11          of Business & Professional Regulation.

        12              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Motion on 8.

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Motion. 

        14              Is there a second? 

        15              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Yes.

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

        17              Without objection, it's approved.

        18              MS. SARTIN:  Item 9 is a request for 

        19          approval of proposed rule revision to the 

        20          Florida Administrative Code for the Department 

        21          of Management Services.

        22              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Motion.

        23              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Second.

        24              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

        25              Without objection, it's approved.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             ADMINISTRATION COMMISSION            44
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              MS. SARTIN:  Thank you.

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, Sandy. 

         3              (The Administration Commission Agenda was 

         4          concluded.)

         5                                 *





















                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION             45
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  State Board of Education.

         2              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Thank you, 

         3          Governor. 

         4              We need a motion on the minutes. 

         5              I'll move it.

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Is there a second?

         7              Moved and seconded.

         8              Without objection, it's approved.

         9              Item 2.

        10              MR. PIERSON:  Item 2 is distribution of 

        11          100 million dollars from general revenue to 

        12          fixed capital outlay for restroom facilities 

        13          for K to 3 students.  This item has been 

        14          deferred from previous meetings.

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Does anybody want 

        16          to --

        17              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Commissioner Gallagher.

        18              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- speak on this?

        19              Okay.  Motion.

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

        21              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Second.

        22              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Without objection, it's 

        23          approved. 

        24              Okay.

        25              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  It went through a 

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         1          few --

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  It did.  I -- 

         3              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- minor changes.

         4              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- I thought you'd want to 

         5          show your scars or something at least.

         6              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Everybody is 

         7          putting up with the way it is.

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Everybody's happy?  No 

         9          one's here to --

        10              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  No.  Everybody's 

        11          putting up with the final decision.

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Oh, okay.  There is a 

        13          difference, I guess.

        14              MR. PIERSON:  They're not all happy.

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  That's right.  

        16          They're not all happy.

        17              MR. PIERSON:  Item 3 is a report by 

        18          Escambia County Schools on progress of the 

        19          failing schools.  Andrea Willett from the 

        20          Department will introduce the presenters.

        21              MS. WILLETT:  Good morning.

        22              I came before you in June with the 

        23          Escambia County School District.  And I'm back 

        24          again for a very brief introduction to their 

        25          report on what they have been doing.

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         1              I wanted to walk you through your green 

         2          packet. 

         3              On the left-hand side, you have a copy of 

         4          the transparencies that you will be seeing very 

         5          shortly. 

         6              Behind that, you have Escambia County's 

         7          analysis in July, what they presented to their 

         8          own Board of -- of the number of students where 

         9          their -- where their students were, what they 

        10          needed to do, and the focus that they had for 

        11          the students that they were working with.

        12              On the right-hand side, you have a copy of 

        13          the District Assistance and Intervention Plan 

        14          Update for Spencer Bibbs Academy. 

        15              Behind that, you have an update of the 

        16          Department recommendations from Spencer Bibbs 

        17          Academy. 

        18              Behind that, you have the District 

        19          Assistance and Intervention Update for 

        20          AA Dixon, and the Department recommendation 

        21          updates for AA Dixon.

        22              A lot of material to read through, and so 

        23          we thought we'd kind of give it to you in -- in 

        24          very brief form through the Power Point 

        25          presentation.  But we wanted you to know we had 

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         1          the backup material for you.

         2              In general, let me just remind you about 

         3          the school and where we are with these two 

         4          schools.

         5              Escambia County is currently having 

         6          85 students attending a different public school 

         7          in Escambia County.  They have -- in your 

         8          packet it says 56, but we've just updated that 

         9          to 53 students on opportunity scholarships.  

        10          Currently their class sizes at all grade levels 

        11          are approximately 1 to 22, or a little less. 

        12              They have addressed the attendance zone 

        13          issues by making sure that they reduce the 

        14          mobility by transporting children back to 

        15          wherever they originally enrolled in school so 

        16          that students are not moving from school to 

        17          school due to the parents moving because of 

        18          changes in residence, they're staying at the -- 

        19          at the home school.

        20              Ongoing parent teacher conferences have 

        21          been held starting in July, and they -- they 

        22          continue, although they're very formal in some 

        23          cases, they're also very informal.  And 

        24          probably almost every day, there will be a 

        25          teacher and a parent talking.

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         1              The school year has been extended.  The 

         2          staff changes, there have been some staff 

         3          changes again made this school year.  And 

         4          additionally, AIPs are being implemented and -- 

         5          and just as a reminder, that's -- 

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  What are AIP?

         7              MS. WILLETT:  -- education jargon for 

         8          Academic Improvement Plans.

         9              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you.

        10              MS. WILLETT:  It's an individual plan for 

        11          each individual low performing student, 

        12          Governor.

        13              The State has an obligation here, and our 

        14          State support with these schools, we have 

        15          provided, and are continuing to provide on-site 

        16          assistance. 

        17              And the highly accomplished professional 

        18          you see working this computer is Jane Selman, 

        19          who is the team leader for this area, and has 

        20          been working directly with them.  And we 

        21          couldn't do it without her, and her partner, 

        22          Jenne Palmer.

        23              District level collaboration has occurred.  

        24          The District has formed a collaborative 

        25          assistance team for both of these schools.  

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         1          We -- the Department is -- are members of the 

         2          team, as well as District folks, people from 

         3          out the area.  And they work directly with the 

         4          school, they support the school, do a lot of 

         5          tutoring with the students.

         6              There is a regional support network of 

         7          groups that are funded by contract with the 

         8          Department of Education.  They include the 

         9          Panhandle Area Educational Consortium; 

        10          certainly some Title 1 services; the Panhandle 

        11          Area Center for Educational Excellence funded 

        12          through the Department of Education, and the 

        13          Department are part of this regional support 

        14          network to reach out for additional people or 

        15          resources that they can use for these schools.

        16              Certainly the District and the schools have 

        17          received additional grant opportunities.  CSRD 

        18          is Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration 

        19          Program, a Federal project.  They've gotten --

        20              (Commissioner Crawford exited the room.)

        21              MS. WILLETT:  -- local innovations money, 

        22          Line 134 in the budget. 

        23              Dixon Elementary has a School to Work 

        24          grant, and this year it was over -- over 

        25          $3,000.

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         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  What does an elementary 

         2          school do with a school to work grant?

         3              MS. WILLETT:  They begin a Career 

         4          Preparation Program using reading to read about 

         5          other things.  But it -- reading about careers.

         6              Reading is obviously the focus of what 

         7          they're doing, and they have reading grants.

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  So --  

         9              MS. WILLETT:  Yes, sir. 

        10              They have extended the school year.  And 

        11          the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium has 

        12          also put in some grant money for staff 

        13          development opportunities. 

        14              And, Governor, the School to Work also does 

        15          staff development on reading issues as well.

        16              Additionally -- additional funding, as you 

        17          can see by the slide, eight schools are getting 

        18          currently throughout the state $100 per 

        19          unweighted FTE per student in the school. 

        20              These two schools right now are -- have 

        21          received in excess of about 500 dollars per 

        22          student for the additional monies that we have 

        23          put into there.  And you'll see them listed 

        24          below.

        25              And I --

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         1              (Commissioner Crawford entered the room.)

         2              MS. WILLETT:  -- need to turn around here 

         3          just a moment.

         4              The extended school year dollars were put 

         5          in for both of the schools.  The reading 

         6          initiative was $25,000 per school; $50,000 for 

         7          each of the schools for CSRD, Comprehensive 

         8          School Reform. 

         9              And those combined really are over 500 per 

        10          student for D and F schools.  And this is 

        11          occurring across the state for -- for the lower 

        12          performing schools.

        13              The State Board of Education and Department 

        14          recommendations to the school.  The District is 

        15          implementing its assistance and intervention 

        16          plan as they said they would, going a little 

        17          bit farther.  There are District people 

        18          tutoring students on their own times at these 

        19          schools.

        20              And for the Department recommendations at 

        21          the school level, they again are doing what it 

        22          is we expect them to do, looking at each 

        23          particular student at each grade level and 

        24          working very diligently with them.  And 

        25          supplying a great deal of extra help to lower 

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         1          performing school -- students. 

         2              That's a big overview.  I would like for 

         3          you to hear the actual Depar-- Department -- 

         4          District report and hear what they are doing, 

         5          and hear it from their mouth, because all the 

         6          information in the packet is from 

         7          Escambia County schools. 

         8              Superintendent May will be speaking to you 

         9          now.

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Welcome, 

        11          Mr. Superintendent.

        12              MR. MAY:  Thank you very much.

        13              Jane, you want to give a little hand signal 

        14          or something?

        15              Governor Bush, Honorable members of the 

        16          Cabinet, thank you very much for the 

        17          opportunity to come present to you this 

        18          morning.

        19              If you would please allow me just a quick 

        20          introduction, I would like to introduce two 

        21          people who accompanied me here this morning. 

        22              First of all is Gene Pettis.  He is the 

        23          Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and 

        24          Instruction, a man who really is the mover and 

        25          shaker behind any reform issues with these two 

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         1          schools. 

         2              Then Barbara Fry, who is the Director of 

         3          Information Services.  And, Barbara, thank you 

         4          for coming.

         5              Would like to begin by saying to you, first 

         6          of all, how much we've appreciated the 

         7          assistance of the Department of Education, 

         8          various members of the staff, Andrea Willett, 

         9          and others, have truly been a champ in working 

        10          through some very tough times for all of us.

        11              And before we actually begin the report, I 

        12          know this is going to sound really strange for 

        13          anybody in education to talk about their local 

        14          newspaper. 

        15              But I'm going to just mention quickly my 

        16          local newspaper.  The reporter's here, and it's 

        17          about time I get some good press, so I thought 

        18          I'd do this.

        19              But this is the paper that has been 

        20          distributed for the last three days in 

        21          Escambia County.  And what they have been 

        22          doing, they have done a special section, which 

        23          I would like to provide to all members of the 

        24          Cabinet in its entirety.  Because it talks 

        25          about the baseline, talks about the behind the 

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         1          scenes of what's happening with students at 

         2          both AA Dixon and Spencer Bibbs. 

         3              I think what it does, it gives you a feel 

         4          for those students' lives.  And nothing that I 

         5          can say to you here this morning means nearly 

         6          as much as going out and living the life of a 

         7          student who goes to one of those two schools.

         8              And so I would ask your indulgence before 

         9          we leave to give you the distribution of that 

        10          newspaper.  It's one of the finest articles 

        11          I've -- I've seen in a long time.

        12              Okay.  The -- you will see up there quickly 

        13          is just our District aims.  And then we will 

        14          move to the Activities for Implementation.

        15              Those activities -- and the way that we 

        16          have presented this to you, we basically took 

        17          the two schools and talked about the various 

        18          activities which we agreed upon together.  That 

        19          was the staff development and staff meetings. 

        20              The next one is common planning time for 

        21          the various teams. 

        22              And the third one then is implementing 

        23          alternative deliveries of classroom teaching 

        24          and coaching. 

        25              If we move to the next slide, this is 

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         1          another area upon which we agreed, and that 

         2          was, we're going to try to reduce the 

         3          absenteeism among our students. 

         4              I know, Governor, when you -- you made your 

         5          visit to our county, that you actually visited 

         6          the home of a kindergarten student.  And I'm 

         7          sure that gave you a real good feel for what 

         8          it's like trying to get some of these students 

         9          to come to school. 

        10              It truly is an effort, and it truly has 

        11          been just major hard work by the teachers and 

        12          principals.

        13              But --

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  How's it going? 

        15              MR. MAY:  Sir? 

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  How's the attendance? 

        17              MR. MAY:  The attendance has -- has 

        18          basically improved, but only slightly.  But -- 

        19          but I think the slight improvement is due to 

        20          those efforts of everyone, including yourself. 

        21              The next --

        22              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I don't --

        23              MR. MAY:  -- thing would be --

        24              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- won't get much credit I 

        25          don't think.  That's -- the day I went, the 

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         1          child didn't go to school.  It took your 

         2          principal going back and -- heroically the next 

         3          Monday to do it.  So she deserves all the 

         4          praise.

         5              MR. MAY:  Well, thank you for saying that. 

         6              And, of course, I could go into that and 

         7          talk about that, and -- and probably that's 

         8          what I need to be talking about instead of 

         9          these things. 

        10              You know, we -- we have a principal, and 

        11          both of those principals, when kids have not 

        12          had their immunizations, they pick up those 

        13          children, take them to the Health Department, 

        14          and arrange for those things to be done. 

        15              I think that's the part that will be 

        16          missing in my report is the heroics of all 

        17          those people and what they do on a daily basis. 

        18              And -- and I wish I could do better at 

        19          that.  But I thank you for bringing that up, 

        20          Governor.

        21              The -- the next item, of course, is the 

        22          daily calls to parents.  We are waiting 

        23          delivery still of our automated phone system.  

        24          But there are pluses and minuses to any phone 

        25          system in the classroom, because they do cause 

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         1          disruptions.  In the last one, we are referring 

         2          the students with lots of absenteeism to the 

         3          Child Study Team. 

         4              I will also assure you, Governor, that as 

         5          has been passed in the House Bill 751 

         6          legislation, I will be pressing charges against 

         7          those parents who do not bring their students 

         8          to -- the child in excess of those 20 days. 

         9              As a matter of fact, the day after that 

        10          went into effect, I filed three sets of 

        11          charges.

        12              The --

        13              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  There's one other 

        14          thing that I want -- I might want to mention 

        15          here.

        16              MR. MAY:  Sure.

        17              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  There's also a 

        18          provision in the law that -- that states that 

        19          welfare payments that are collected by parents 

        20          whose children don't show up in school are at 

        21          risk.  And we haven't done a very good job in 

        22          this state in enforcing that. 

        23              So I think that's something else that we 

        24          need to look at jointly, Governor, in letting 

        25          parents know that if their children aren't in 

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         1          school, and they are collecting money through a 

         2          welfare program, that they are at risk of 

         3          losing it.

         4              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Give the 

         5          check to the child to take home.

         6              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  That may be one 

         7          way to do it.

         8              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  For the 

         9          report card.  If the child's not in school, he 

        10          doesn't -- he doesn't get the check.

        11              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  But right now, we 

        12          haven't -- we haven't very well coordinated 

        13          absenteeism with -- with payments, but we need 

        14          to do that.

        15              Sorry.  Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt.

        16              MR. MAY:  No -- no, that's -- that's fine.  

        17          I think that's an excellent point.  And, 

        18          of course, there's a catch-22 with that. 

        19              When you have kids who come to school 

        20          hungry, you know, you wonder about that issue, 

        21          too.

        22              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I don't think the law 

        23          provides for taking benefits away from the 

        24          children.

        25              MR. MAY:  Okay. 

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         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  In fact, this -- wasn't 

         2          this law, Tom, passed as -- before WAGES -- 

         3          before the welfare to work?  Because now we 

         4          don't have welfare, we have --

         5              MR. MAY:  Right.

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- women are -- are -- have 

         7          to spend at least 30 hours working or going to 

         8          school. 

         9              So it may be a little different now than it 

        10          was, but maybe not.  I don't know.

        11              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  There's still a 

        12          connection that we've got -- I think we can 

        13          work that out.

        14              MR. MAY:  Okay.  The -- the next part, 

        15          which we agreed upon, was to return students to 

        16          their home schools from anywhere in the County 

        17          where they might move.  We have been doing 

        18          that, and that has already been occurring. 

        19              And we're hoping that that will be a real 

        20          plus, because it will provide a continuity of 

        21          education that hasn't been there before.

        22              GOVERNOR BUSH:  How much -- how -- 

        23          Superintendent, how many students have been 

        24          impacted by your mobility policy? 

        25              MR. MAY:  At this time, only three.  But --

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         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  In the two schools?  Or --

         2              MR. MAY:  That's correct. 

         3              But they were three students who will be 

         4          tested.  They -- they are in the fourth and 

         5          fifth grades, which will be a part of the FCAT 

         6          testing.

         7              The next item, of course, was to give the 

         8          principal and School Advisory Councils the 

         9          ability to create budgets on their own. 

        10              And as you'll see at the next one, we've 

        11          had staffing requisitions, purchase orders, 

        12          lots of additional things spent to enhance 

        13          instruction.  So we're -- we're pretty proud of 

        14          that. 

        15              The next thing again that we had agreed 

        16          upon was to have school-wide conferences for 

        17          each grading period.  And you can see that the 

        18          conferences are held each grading period, and 

        19          reports are given to parents on the next --

        20              Yes. 

        21              And then, of course, the third thing is, we 

        22          have weekly conferences, home visits, phone 

        23          calls.  I think that's the thing that has 

        24          impressed me the most about the -- the staff.  

        25          And -- and not just teachers, the entire 

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         1          staff -- would be the number of calls and the 

         2          number of visits they keep making to homes in 

         3          hopes of enhancing these students' education.

         4              The next thing is the after school tutorial 

         5          programs.  And we are trying to target, as you 

         6          might well guess, reading, writing, and 

         7          mathematics.  We have an extended day program 

         8          and a neighborhood learning program. 

         9              And, of course, the -- the next one is 

        10          we've extended the hours of operation from 9:00 

        11          to 12:00 on Saturdays for what they call a 

        12          Super Saturday. 

        13              I can give you those numbers if you'd 

        14          actually like to know --

        15              GOVERNOR BUSH:  How many kids are 

        16          participating? 

        17              MR. MAY:  At Dixon, we've had 63 students 

        18          participating; and at Bibbs, 47.

        19              The next item, you can really see something 

        20          about the number of community volunteers that 

        21          have been participating in these two schools.  

        22          I just want to share with you these numbers, 

        23          because to me they're -- they're truly 

        24          incredible. 

        25              We have over 400 just business partners.  

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         1          And I'm just talking business partners, I'm not 

         2          talking about the individual partnerships. 

         3              Those business partners alone volunteered 

         4          over 500,000 hours last year.  And I think 

         5          that's pretty incredible, and it tells me 

         6          something about the community, and the way that 

         7          they've rallied around.  They haven't 

         8          forgotten, they haven't trashed, they haven't 

         9          discarded these schools.  Basically they have 

        10          rallied around them, and I'm very proud of 

        11          that.

        12              The next item is some of the technical 

        13          assistance, which --

        14              And let's just go ahead and go on through 

        15          those, Jane.

        16              Lots of technical assistance, which we've 

        17          provided.  You can see all of those items.  And 

        18          I'm not going to cover them, because I think 

        19          you're well aware of them.

        20              Moving to the next slide, we're going to 

        21          talk about some District facilitation.  Those 

        22          District facilitators have been meeting on a 

        23          weekly -- or, excuse me, biweekly basis where 

        24          they talk about best practices and items that 

        25          have worked. 

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         1              And -- and another thing that I'm, again, 

         2          very proud of is that we have given all -- 

         3          Escambia County School District employees 

         4          1 hour a week to volunteer at those two 

         5          schools, and they do -- there are quite a 

         6          number of them that do that.  We've actually 

         7          reduced it to about a 1 and 1 ratio during that 

         8          1-hour time.  So we're very proud of that.

         9              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Are you doing any 

        10          assessment of the students' reading and math --

        11              MR. MAY:  Absolutely.  Yes, sir.

        12              And I was going -- 

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Do you want to --

        14              MR. MAY:  -- to get --

        15              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- give us -- 

        16              MR. MAY:  -- to that.

        17              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Oh, I'm sorry.  Go ahead.

        18              MR. MAY:  Well, no.  I can do it now if 

        19          you'd like.

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  No.  No.  I --

        21              MR. MAY:  Okay.

        22              GOVERNOR BUSH:  If you're going to get to 

        23          it, that's fine.

        24              MR. MAY:  All right.

        25              Again, more of the collaboration that has 

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         1          occurred with the community, state, and 

         2          regional.  And -- and, again, I just want to 

         3          say how much we've appreciated -- I know that 

         4          the Commissioner has offered -- 

         5          Commissioner Gallagher, since we have a room 

         6          full of commissioners. 

         7              But Commissioner Gallagher did offer even a 

         8          grants writer to come sit with us and help us 

         9          to -- to figure out other ideas and methods.  

        10          And, of course, Andrea Willett, again, has been 

        11          just wonderful in working with us.

        12              Next slide, please.

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Commissioner Nelson.

        14              TREASURER NELSON:  Superintendent --

        15              MR. MAY:  Oh, I'm sorry.  You probably want 

        16          to go back to that one, if we could, Jane.  

        17          I --

        18              TREASURER NELSON:  No.  I'm just -- I want 

        19          to ask a general question. 

        20              First -- 

        21              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir --

        22              TREASURER NELSON:  -- of all -- 

        23              MR. MAY:  -- Treasurer Nelson.

        24              TREASURER NELSON:  -- I'm -- I'm very 

        25          impressed about what you're doing.

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         1              MR. MAY:  Thank you.

         2              TREASURER NELSON:  And I think it's clearly 

         3          one of the consequences of trying to reevaluate 

         4          this whole question of -- of our educational 

         5          system.

         6              Do you have any way of quantifying what you 

         7          estimate a cost per student of additional help, 

         8          as you have been outlining in this 

         9          presentation, will be for these students in 

        10          those two F schools? 

        11              MR. MAY:  I would not be at all 

        12          surprised -- and, by the way, I know you and I 

        13          had the opportunity during your visit to talk 

        14          briefly about these things.  And I do 

        15          appreciate your coming and showing that 

        16          interest, and thank you very much for that.

        17              But if -- if I give you a figure, which 

        18          I think I can, it's going to be a guess, and I 

        19          wouldn't want you to realize that it is a 

        20          guess.

        21              But -- but I think that we can well say 

        22          that we've added in the neighborhood of 1,000 

        23          to $1200 cost per child at those two schools.

        24              TREASURER NELSON:  And that's on the basis 

        25          that there's, what, several hundred in each of 

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         1          those --

         2              MR. MAY:  There are 800 students in those 

         3          two schools --

         4              TREASURER NELSON:  And is that --

         5              MR. MAY:  -- combined.

         6              TREASURER NELSON:  -- 1,000 to $1200 per 

         7          child --

         8              MR. MAY:  Extra.

         9              TREASURER NELSON:  Extra.

        10              Is that resources that you have found 

        11          within Escambia County, or is that resources 

        12          that have come from the outside.  Just tell us 

        13          about that.

        14              MR. MAY:  Well, DOE, once again, I want to 

        15          be fair about it, has been quite good about 

        16          helping us to find additional resources. 

        17              And I would say they have certainly covered 

        18          around 50 percent of those additional resources 

        19          through their many grants and through their 

        20          other initiatives that they've assisted us 

        21          with.

        22              TREASURER NELSON:  Do you have other 

        23          schools in Escambia County that are rated F? 

        24              MR. MAY:  Yes, we do.  We have seven other 

        25          schools.

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         1              TREASURER NELSON:  Is -- and -- and what 

         2          distinguishes them from Bibbs and Dixon is the 

         3          fact that Bibbs and Dixon has been on for 

         4          two years.

         5              MR. MAY:  That's correct.  That's correct.

         6              TREASURER NELSON:  Is similar kind of 

         7          assistance being given to those other seven 

         8          F schools? 

         9              MR. MAY:  That's absolutely correct.  

        10          Yes, sir.  What we have done is many of the 

        11          exact same assistance plans, with the exception 

        12          of the 210-day school year, have been 

        13          implemented at both -- or at all -- at the 

        14          other schools. 

        15              So we're using the same kinds of plans, had 

        16          the same kind of district intervention, have 

        17          the same kind of district facilitation at the 

        18          other schools.  And we fully expect to see them 

        19          make some major movements.  But that's an 

        20          excellent question, and I thank you for asking 

        21          that.

        22              TREASURER NELSON:  And is the approximate 

        23          same amount of financial assistance per child 

        24          1,000 to $1200, being rendered to those other 

        25          seven schools? 

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         1              MR. MAY:  Actually, no, not the exact 

         2          amount.  Because we are not doing the 210-day 

         3          school year, and that's the major difference. 

         4              Everything else is the same:  Class size, 

         5          intervention strategies, reading grants.  All 

         6          of those kind of things are the same.

         7              The difference is the 210-day school year.

         8              TREASURER NELSON:  And is that a major part 

         9          of that $1,000 or 1200? 

        10              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir, that is.

        11              TREASURER NELSON:  The 210-day you --

        12              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.

        13              TREASURER NELSON:  -- mentioned.

        14              MR. MAY:  Okay. 

        15              And -- and, again, excellent questions, 

        16          because we do not want to slight one over the 

        17          other.  And, of course, I'm a -- I'm a big 

        18          believer in the 210-day school year, and wish 

        19          that we could do that for all students. 

        20              Unfortunately, when you start raising 

        21          funding by one/sixth, sixteen and two-thirds 

        22          percent, you're going to find that it's 

        23          probably beyond all of our budgets.

        24              TREASURER NELSON:  As you look to the 

        25          future on the question of the budgets, in 

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         1          confronting F schools in Escambia County --

         2              MR. MAY:  Uh-hum.  

         3              TREASURER NELSON:  -- and then confronting 

         4          D schools and so forth, what does this do to 

         5          your budgetary planning? 

         6              MR. MAY:  Well, it -- it has been a strain 

         7          on the budget.  And I -- I will not tell you 

         8          different.  It's been a strain on the budget, 

         9          it's been tough. 

        10              But, again, we've got to -- we've got to 

        11          take a look at those four aims with which I 

        12          began.  And if highest student achievement is 

        13          truly our number one aim, then we've got to put 

        14          our money where our mouth is, and that's what 

        15          we are trying to do, Mr. Nelson.

        16              TREASURER NELSON:  Thank you, Governor.

        17              MR. MAY:  Okay.

        18              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you.

        19              MR. MAY:  Okay.

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  All of that was just words 

        21          of wondrous beauty for the Attorney General in 

        22          defense of our lawsuit.  We appreciate the 

        23          conversation.

        24              MR. MAY:  Well, I've got to be honest with 

        25          you, Governor, that was not what I was trying 

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         1          to do. 

         2              Okay. 

         3              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Let me just 

         4          mention that we've gotten a lot of editorial 

         5          criticism that -- that we have been giving 

         6          A schools, and those schools that have shown a 

         7          large amount of improvement, $100 a student, 

         8          which we just passed out on September 28th, and 

         9          there-- thereabout 28 million dollars.

        10              And at the same time, I think what 

        11          information just came out of this conversation 

        12          that you just had, that the truth of the matter 

        13          is that there are people have been complaining 

        14          that those schools that were not performing 

        15          weren't getting the same help that the 

        16          A schools were getting, and the schools that 

        17          improved a lot were getting. 

        18              The truth of the matter is that resources 

        19          have been rightfully moved to these schools by 

        20          the districts to help them.  We in the State 

        21          have given them priority in grants, as you have 

        22          taken advantage of that, and that's happening 

        23          across the state.

        24              And this is a prime example where there was 

        25          more than $100 per student coming into these -- 

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         1          these schools that needed that help. 

         2              And so I think we need to point that out so 

         3          that everybody doesn't think we're just taking 

         4          care of the schools that have, you know, 

         5          continued to do well, and -- and are As, or 

         6          have shown great improvement. 

         7              We want to continue to reward them.  

         8          I think that's a very important part of the 

         9          entire educational system. 

        10              At the same time, we are very interested in 

        11          assisting the districts with those schools that 

        12          need help.

        13              MR. MAY:  Okay. 

        14              If we can move along --

        15              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Commissioner --

        16              MR. MAY:  -- then and -- 

        17              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Excuse me.

        18              MR. MAY:  -- go ahead and -- 

        19              TREASURER NELSON:  Mr. May, let me just ask 

        20          you --

        21              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.

        22              TREASURER NELSON:  -- perhaps you can't 

        23          answer this.  But I would be curious on -- on 

        24          the basis of your presentation with regard to 

        25          Escambia, have you conferred with other 

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         1          superintendents, are they doing like things in 

         2          other districts with regard to the F schools? 

         3              MR. MAY:  To be honest with you, 

         4          Mr. Nelson, that would be a guess on my part.  

         5          Yes, I have talked to other superintendents.  

         6          But I -- I really can't tell you that answer.  

         7          I'm sorry.

         8              Moving to the next area, we want to show 

         9          you just sort of -- and, Governor, this was one 

        10          of your questions -- the diagnostic assessments 

        11          of -- first of all, we'll talk about reading as 

        12          it would relate to FCAT data.  You can see that 

        13          they're ongoing. 

        14              And moving through each of those things, I 

        15          just want you to see that we're -- we're using 

        16          a variety of assessment instruments, and a 

        17          variety of techniques of -- any of which I 

        18          would be glad to discuss with you. 

        19              But unless you do have questions about 

        20          specific techniques, I'll just move on.

        21              I do want you to see what those assessments 

        22          are, and there have been additional assessments 

        23          which were formed that I'll probably talk about 

        24          in a minute, too.

        25              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I was -- I was very 

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         1          impressed with the implementation of the direct 

         2          instruction technique I guess that would be, of 

         3          reading.  It was --

         4              MR. MAY:  Uh-hum.  

         5              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- I've been to schools 

         6          where they say -- the principal and teachers 

         7          say they have direct instructions, but it's not 

         8          the core of their -- of their teaching. 

         9              And in both schools, I thought that it was 

        10          really the central element of teaching.  And 

        11          I think it's -- it was -- I just got a sense 

        12          that it's -- it's going to be very effective. 

        13              MR. MAY:  Uh-hum.  

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Have you gotten any kind of 

        15          early indications of the focus of using that 

        16          means of reading?

        17              MR. MAY:  Yes, we have, as a matter of 

        18          fact.  Particularly in the students at 

        19          AA Dixon, at the end of last year, we found 

        20          that all of our first grade students were 

        21          tested at grade level. 

        22              And I think that's --

        23              GOVERNOR BUSH:  That's --

        24              MR. MAY:  -- incredible.  And the reason 

        25          that I say that's so incredible, Governor, and 

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         1          I want to just say this to you. 

         2              There is a correlation between poverty and 

         3          achievement.  I mean, we're not -- we're not 

         4          trying to make excuses.  And I believe all 

         5          children can learn with all my heart. 

         6              But I want you to know, I believe there is 

         7          a correlation between what kind of 

         8          interventions occur in a child's early life, 

         9          what kind of dendrite connections do occur, 

        10          what kind of just pure experiences -- does that 

        11          parent sit and read that child a book, do they 

        12          ever listen to music, on and on and on.  Do 

        13          they just take time to talk with them? 

        14              Well, what we find through the KSI, which 

        15          is the Kindergarten Survey Instrument, is that 

        16          these kids will come to us developmentally 

        17          equal to three year olds.  And -- and that puts 

        18          us behind the 8 ball.  All kids do not start 

        19          the same. 

        20              And so that's why we were so ecstatic when 

        21          we saw these first graders that were actually 

        22          reading.  Now, that doesn't mean their math was 

        23          up to par or their writing was up to par. 

        24              But -- but I believe that anyone sitting in 

        25          this panel would first of all agree with me 

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         1          that reading is basic to anything else --

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Absolutely.

         3              MR. MAY:  -- that's going to occur.

         4              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  If I -- if I may 

         5          just say one quick thing.  I think that your 

         6          statement is right in regards to has been.  It 

         7          has been a correlation. 

         8              And I think that we, and you are showing, 

         9          that there's an opportunity now to break that 

        10          excuse and belief that because of the 

        11          background of a child, that they are hindered 

        12          in where they can go in regards to their 

        13          education. 

        14              Taking these children in first grade and 

        15          having them all read at first grade level, 

        16          they're now in second grade, hopefully they're 

        17          staying right with it is a sign that it is not 

        18          a truism that background relates to educational 

        19          capacity. 

        20              It's a lot more work, it's a huge 

        21          challenge.  These schools are living up to this 

        22          huge challenge.  I think you're right, and 

        23          we're working on readiness.  It's a very 

        24          important part of it.

        25              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Absolutely.

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         1              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  But I think we 

         2          need to look to the future as -- instead of 

         3          saying, that's just the way it is, I think we 

         4          need to say, that's the way it might have been 

         5          perceived in the past.  Because we're showing 

         6          major changes in these schools of yours.

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  General.

         8              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Thank you, 

         9          Governor. 

        10              I'm really very impressed, and everybody 

        11          is, what you are doing, and the -- the 

        12          principals and teachers are doing.

        13              And I think when we heard a presentation 

        14          last year, we were finding that most of the -- 

        15          of the children in these two schools were not 

        16          ready for school.  We were literally starting 

        17          75 yards behind, and asked to run 100 yard dash 

        18          for everybody else.

        19              Are you able to put any other -- any more 

        20          effort into that school readiness for your -- 

        21          for your feeder neighborhoods into your 

        22          F schools, or are you basically still doing 

        23          what you have in the past?

        24              I mean, are you able to still go into 

        25          there, or -- even though it's not your 

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         1          responsibility, but -- you want them ready for 

         2          school.  And -- and -- or you're going to have 

         3          to continue to have F schools and D schools and 

         4          put this extra emphasis on.

         5              And if you just put -- if you just break 

         6          that cycle early on before they get to you, do 

         7          you have anything in place that's going to help 

         8          you do that? 

         9              Or do you have any suggestions for other 

        10          superintendents? 

        11              MR. MAY:  Yes, yes to both of your 

        12          questions.  And I will say that you're right on 

        13          target.  That -- that the key to this whole 

        14          process is to break that cycle early in a 

        15          child's life. 

        16              And we do have neighborhood learning 

        17          centers that we have presented around both of 

        18          those schools, and many other schools in our 

        19          area.  We're a poor county.  Escambia County is 

        20          nearly 60 percent free and reduced lunches.  

        21          That's a poor county by -- by any standards in 

        22          the state of Florida.

        23              We have certain core pockets where we do 

        24          have these neighborhood learning centers going 

        25          on where we have lots more than that.  We have 

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         1          the pre-K centers, the head start programs, the 

         2          whole early childhood coalition, as you know, 

         3          that was recently formed, and I am a part of 

         4          that committee. 

         5              And -- and I could not agree with you more, 

         6          Attorney General Butterworth.  This is the key 

         7          to us being successful.  If those kids are 

         8          going to -- and this is proven.  I mean, 

         9          research shows that if by the time they're 

        10          three years old, we haven't give them these 

        11          kinds of star-- given them these kinds of 

        12          starts, that they're probably not going to 

        13          catch up, because there will be connections 

        14          that don't occur. 

        15              So I couldn't agree with you more; and, 

        16          yes, we're stressing it; and, yes, we believe  

        17          in it with all of our hearts.

        18              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  But how can 

        19          you get parents or a parent to drop their child 

        20          off at a child learning center?  I mean, do you 

        21          have any -- any mechanism, or is there any 

        22          way -- maybe there isn't a way. 

        23              But is there any way of knocking on doors 

        24          and basically --

        25              MR. MAY:  Well, we absolutely do all of 

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         1          that. 

         2              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Okay.

         3              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.  Absolutely we do it 

         4          all.

         5              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Jim, are you using the -- 

         6          I'm going to -- I forgot what the name of the 

         7          527 million dollar fund, the --

         8              MR. MAY:  Supplemental.

         9              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- the new --

        10              Supplemental.  Is -- is there -- are there 

        11          any new strategies that you're using -- using 

        12          that money to finance, if you will? 

        13              MR. MAY:  Well, Governor, the -- the 

        14          supplemental fund -- and you're probably going 

        15          to be sorry you asked me this question --

        16              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  It --

        17              MR. MAY:  -- because --

        18              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- it didn't get 

        19          much.

        20              MR. MAY:  -- the supplemental fund in the 

        21          past has been used for dropout prevention, for 

        22          summer school programs, for remedial programs, 

        23          for these kind of programs, and everything 

        24          else. 

        25              When we took the sum total of what we 

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         1          received in -- in all of those programs, it was 

         2          11.3 million.  The new supplemental dollars  

         3          actually amounted to 9.3 million. 

         4              So there was a 2 million dollar difference.  

         5          And actually what we've cut out are the summer 

         6          school programs.

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  How does --

         8              MR. MAY:  And maybe --

         9              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- how does that work --

        10              MR. MAY:  -- that's paid --

        11              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- if we invest it --

        12              MR. MAY:  Sir?

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- at the State level, 

        14          there's a 70 million dollar increase --

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Well --

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- on a 430 million dollar 

        17          base, the math doesn't work very well in 

        18          Escambia. 

        19              How does that --

        20              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  It's formula 

        21          driven.

        22              MR. MAY:  Oh -- and I'm glad you're asking 

        23          this.

        24              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  And it is -- it 

        25          is -- it is a problem for certain counties.  

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         1          And we've -- we've --

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  It's something we can look 

         3          at adjusting to --

         4              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Well, it's very 

         5          hard to get -- should it be?  Probably yes. 

         6              And as you know, the Legislature is looking 

         7          at the whole FEFP, Florida Educational Finance 

         8          Program.  But it is highly political.

         9              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Oh, yeah.

        10              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  And -- and one of 

        11          the problems is that --

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Well, I'm not sorry I asked 

        13          it because I --

        14              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  No, it does need 

        15          to be looked at.

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  The whole focus, and this 

        17          may come as a surprise to you, Mr. May, but the 

        18          whole focus of this effort of greater 

        19          accountability comes with -- with it more money 

        20          for you to accomplish the task of defying 

        21          conventional wisdom.

        22              So we're --

        23              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  It should.

        24              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I think we've proven that.

        25              MR. MAY:  And I appreciate your asking me 

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         1          the question.  And I'm going to hand this out, 

         2          because I think it's an excellent question --

         3              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Looks like you were ready 

         4          for it.

         5              MR. MAY:  But I think it's important that I 

         6          share it. 

         7              I've never been up here.  This is a great 

         8          place.  What a view that you have.

         9              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  You can see the 

        10          world from here.

        11              MR. MAY:  I tell you.  Wonderful spot.

        12              And the reason that I -- I pass that out to 

        13          you, I want to show you some things about 

        14          finance --

        15              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  There'll -- 

        16          there'll be -- 

        17              MR. MAY:  Do you like it better here?

        18              GOVERNOR BUSH:  There's a couple of 

        19          openings --

        20              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  There's a 

        21          couple of openings over here next year. 

        22              MR. MAY:  Oh, okay.

        23              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  You might 

        24          want to --

        25              MR. MAY:  And I'm not going to touch that 

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         1          one. 

         2              But I want to share with you, since you 

         3          asked me the question about funding, and I'm 

         4          going to cover this extremely quickly, because 

         5          I know this is not the reason I'm here. 

         6              But I want you to look at the comparison of 

         7          generated FTE, which is the tax millage.  And 

         8          this basically just shows you how poor our 

         9          county is.  We've compared our county to other 

        10          districts. 

        11              And you'll see that we earn, with our 

        12          tax millage, okay, the discretionary millage, 

        13          we earn $80 per child, compared to counties 

        14          like Collier and Sarasota, that are well over 

        15          300. 

        16              Turn to the next page, the FRS savings, how 

        17          much?  You know, we talked about increasing the 

        18          budget.  The final conference report said that 

        19          our district would get 9.537 million.  The 

        20          actual amount was 7.62.  That's a difference of 

        21          almost 2 million.  And you can see the reasons.  

        22          And it wasn't anybody's fault, and I'm not 

        23          placing blame. 

        24              It's just simply when it was computed out, 

        25          the Senate used total retirement savings on 

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         1          salaries paid from all sources.  But since that 

         2          included food service, Federal programs, 

         3          categorical funding and projects, it was re-- 

         4          it was an impact of 1.9.

         5              Turn to the third page --

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  It's amazing that you put 

         7          so much money into these schools with this 

         8          shortfall.

         9              MR. MAY:  I'm doing great, aren't I?  

        10          I mean, maybe you ought to consider me for one 

        11          of those two jobs next year.

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I -- well, you can look at 

        13          it two ways:  You could -- you certainly have 

        14          done great as it relates to this year.  But one 

        15          would question what happened last year? 

        16              MR. MAY:  That's right.

        17              Moving to the -- moving to the district 

        18          cost differential.  When you figured in the 

        19          DCD, you know, we --

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  What's --

        21              MR. MAY:  -- talked about the base student 

        22          allocation going up this year. 

        23              I want you to know that with the DCD 

        24          figured in, we actually went down $12.30 last 

        25          year on the amount of dollars per student.

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         1              And I've already talked to you about the 

         2          next page, which was the supplemental 

         3          instruction.  We -- and -- and I just think 

         4          it's important, since you brought up the 

         5          question about finance, that I share those 

         6          figures.  And if it's all right, I'll -- 

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Appreciate it.

         8              MR. MAY:  -- stop and get back to the 

         9          report.

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Yep.  Thanks.

        11              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Now, let me ask 

        12          you a question though.  You should have been 

        13          held harmless on a decrease.

        14              MR. MAY:  No, sir, we were not.

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Why weren't you? 

        16              MR. MAY:  But I would be glad to get $12 

        17          for 46,000 students.

        18              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  I understand.  But 

        19          I thought that the formula held a -- held 

        20          harmless on -- on decreases.

        21              MR. MAY:  No, sir.

        22              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Okay. 

        23              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Can we make 

        24          a motion? 

        25              MR. MAY:  Yes.  I would be glad to 

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         1          entertain a motion here, Governor, if --

         2              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  It's a lot more 

         3          complicated than that, unfortunately.

         4              MR. MAY:  Oh, okay. 

         5              Well, you know, it's worth trying.  I made 

         6          the trip over here.

         7              Develop and implement Individual Academic 

         8          Improvement Plans.  I think that you're very 

         9          well aware of this, and we'll just go on 

        10          through that, unless there are questions.

        11              Now, this is, I think, pretty significant 

        12          under the reading programs, as you look at the 

        13          things that we're actually doing.  Common 

        14          90-minute block. 

        15              And then moving through the different 

        16          things, you can see that we're using all the 

        17          way through accelerated reader and a variety of 

        18          different ideas, thoughts.  And some of them, 

        19          as you've said, Governor, the direct 

        20          instruction.

        21              Moving to the next one, Sing, Spell, Read, 

        22          and Write.  If you've ever -- and if I'm not 

        23          mistaken, both of you had an opportunity to sit 

        24          in one of those classrooms as they were going 

        25          through that?

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         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Uh-hum.  

         2              MR. MAY:  That's very interesting, and 

         3          we've seen some incredible gains.  Dixon, as I 

         4          said, actually brought their kids up.  They're 

         5          using it at the first grade level now, and 

         6          they're finding that those kids are coming up 

         7          to grade level.

         8              Okay.  Moving to the next slide.

         9              School-wide reading across the curriculum 

        10          strategies.  And you can see that both schools 

        11          are using special area teachers, and not just 

        12          the reading teachers, to teach reading every 

        13          day in every class.  And I think that's a very 

        14          important component.

        15              Next slide. 

        16              Extended learning year.  And we've -- we've 

        17          basically discussed this, so I'll just go ahead 

        18          and move on through that one, too, Jane.

        19              TREASURER NELSON:  May I ask a --

        20              MR. MAY:  Yeah.

        21              TREASURER NELSON:  -- question?

        22              I -- I didn't -- 

        23              MR. MAY:  Oh, I'm sorry, Treasurer -- 

        24              TREASURER NELSON:  Mr. May, I didn't follow 

        25          up earlier.  I was just curious. 

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         1              Of that 1,000 and 1200 that you said was 

         2          applicable --

         3              MR. MAY:  Uh-hum.  

         4              TREASURER NELSON:  -- that you're putting 

         5          the resources together per child for Bibbs and 

         6          Dixon, you said the same would be applicable to 

         7          your other seven F schools.

         8              MR. MAY:  With the --

         9              TREASURER NELSON:  With the --

        10              MR. MAY:  -- exception --

        11              TREASURER NELSON:  -- exception of the 

        12          210-day extension.

        13              MR. MAY:  That's correct.  Yes, sir.

        14              TREASURER NELSON:  Can you quantify that so 

        15          that I'll know how much that you're spending 

        16          per student on those other seven schools? 

        17              MR. MAY:  You mean how much is the 210-day 

        18          school year --

        19              TREASURER NELSON:  Yeah.

        20              MR. MAY:  -- coming out? 

        21              TREASURER NELSON:  You said it was a -- my 

        22          question was, was it a big part of that; and 

        23          you said, yes.

        24              MR. MAY:  Yes, it is.

        25              TREASURER NELSON:  Give me an idea.

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         1              MR. MAY:  And -- and you will remember, 

         2          again, that this is my guess.

         3              TREASURER NELSON:  Sure. 

         4              MR. MAY:  Okay.

         5              TREASURER NELSON:  Sure.

         6              MR. MAY:  I would say that it's at least 

         7          five to six hundred dollars of that.

         8              TREASURER NELSON:  So you're looking at 

         9          500 or $600 then that's -- that -- resources 

        10          that you've pulled together per student for 

        11          each of those other seven --

        12              MR. MAY:  Yeah.

        13              TREASURER NELSON:  -- F schools.

        14              MR. MAY:  And I -- and, again, I want to be 

        15          totally up front and honest about what I'm 

        16          saying here.  We also included some Federal 

        17          dollars and Title I dollars in that which were 

        18          enhancements.

        19              TREASURER NELSON:  And -- and what made --

        20              MR. MAY:  Of course, they -- the dollars 

        21          have to come from somewhere.  Yeah.

        22              TREASURER NELSON:  Yeah.  What made it 

        23          eligible?  What -- what -- why did you get the 

        24          Federal dollars for this? 

        25              MR. MAY:  Well, we basically have set a 

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         1          criteria in our county -- well, it's Title I 

         2          schools, which, of course, are poverty schools. 

         3              And remember I said earlier in the 

         4          presentation that our county is 60 percent?

         5              TREASURER NELSON:  Right.

         6              MR. MAY:  Well, what we have done is take 

         7          any school with over 65 percent poverty, and 

         8          put those additional dollars.  Because, quite 

         9          frankly, whether you agree with the correlation 

        10          or not, every one of our D or F schools has a 

        11          greater than 80 percent poverty level.

        12              TREASURER NELSON:  Right.

        13              MR. MAY:  I mean, every one of them.  That 

        14          is the correlation.

        15              TREASURER NELSON:  My question is, that is 

        16          an eligibility that is there regardless --

        17              MR. MAY:  Right.

        18              TREASURER NELSON:  -- of whether it's D or 

        19          F or C or whatever.  That Title I money is 

        20          there.

        21              MR. MAY:  But the amount is what's 

        22          variable, Mr. Nelson.  And we have put -- put 

        23          more dollars into those schools.  That's what's 

        24          variable is the amount you choose. 

        25              In other words, some --

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         1              TREASURER NELSON:  Do you have the 

         2          discretion on that --

         3              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.

         4              TREASURER NELSON:  -- Title I money --  

         5              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.

         6              TREASURER NELSON:  -- as to which school it 

         7          goes into? 

         8              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.  

         9              TREASURER NELSON:  I see.

        10              MR. MAY:  Uh-hum.

        11              And that's only a part of it.  I mean, 

        12          regular FTE, categoricals, food service, I 

        13          could go on and on and on. 

        14              Every single one --

        15              TREASURER NELSON:  Sure.

        16              MR. MAY:  -- of our budgets in 

        17          Escambia County, and every one of our FTEs in 

        18          each of the myriad categories that you're all 

        19          well aware of, have transferred dollars to 

        20          these students.

        21              Is that --

        22              TREASURER NELSON:  Fine.  Yes. 

        23              MR. MAY:  Uh-hum. 

        24              TREASURER NELSON:  Thank you.  

        25              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.

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         1              TREASURER NELSON:  Just final question on 

         2          this subject is --

         3              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.

         4              TREASURER NELSON:  -- the pot of money that 

         5          you get on Title I for your school district --

         6              MR. MAY:  Uh-hum.  

         7              TREASURER NELSON:  -- is determined on what 

         8          criteria? 

         9              MR. MAY:  The -- the pot of money from 

        10          Title I? 

        11              TREASURER NELSON:  That you've been 

        12          distributing out to these schools, that pot of 

        13          money from which you draw is determined how? 

        14              MR. MAY:  It's a Federal funding formula.  

        15          And it's -- 

        16              TREASURER NELSON:  Based --

        17              MR. MAY:  -- based on -- 

        18              TREASURER NELSON:  -- on poverty --

        19              MR. MAY:  -- number of poverty students 

        20          that we have in our District.  Yes, sir.

        21              TREASURER NELSON:  Okay. 

        22              MR. MAY:  Is that --

        23              TREASURER NELSON:  (Nodding head.)

        24              MR. MAY:  Okay? 

        25              All right.  Moving along then with the 

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         1          slide presentation, you can see which one -- 

         2          which ones of these things, and you can see the 

         3          various procedures that we're using.  And, 

         4          again, I'm not going to spend a lot of time.

         5              We're going to go to the math section next. 

         6              And in the math area, you'll see that again 

         7          we've done diagnostic assessments of each 

         8          student's skills.  And we use not only FCAT and 

         9          local data, but we also have County 

        10          assessments, which have been aligned to both 

        11          the Sunshine State Standards and to the FCAT 

        12          test itself. 

        13              We have purchased a new math reading 

        14          series, Blast Off.  And these things all 

        15          perfectly align.  Plus Dr. Pettis has created 

        16          an item called Essential Curriculum 

        17          Requirements which aligns it even further, and 

        18          develops 14 different categories at every grade 

        19          level for every subject. 

        20              And just -- as I said, it's -- it's a total 

        21          aligning everything with one giant arrow that 

        22          says, this is what we're going to concentrate 

        23          on, and that --

        24              GOVERNOR BUSH:  So how do you --

        25              MR. MAY:  -- is the --

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         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- how do you think -- 

         2              MR. MAY:  -- Sunshine State --

         3              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- you're doing? 

         4              MR. MAY:  How do I think we're --

         5              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Yeah.  Given --

         6              MR. MAY:   -- doing?

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- the fact that 

         8          Pensacola's --

         9              MR. MAY:  Well, I -- I'll get to that, if 

        10          you'll allow me.  But I can -- I mean, I can 

        11          stop now and do it.  But if --

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Given the fact you're close 

        13          to -- you're closer to Biloxi and the casino 

        14          gambling halls than any other part of the 

        15          state. 

        16              So if you're a gambling man, how do you 

        17          think -- when the FCAT tests are 

        18          administered --

        19              MR. MAY:  Okay. 

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- how do you think we're 

        21          doing?

        22              MR. MAY:  I think that's a fair question, 

        23          but you again may not like my answer. 

        24              My answer is basically this:  That will I 

        25          be able to stand up here and guarantee the 

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         1          members of the Cabinet that kids who begin at a  

         2          readiness level of a three year old will be 

         3          able to have overcome any hurdles by the time 

         4          they're at the fifth grade, when 62 percent of 

         5          them have already been moving to many schools 

         6          throughout the district?  Because, remember, 

         7          we've only been doing this one year. 

         8              Do I think that they will pass? 

         9              I can't give you that answer, Governor.  

        10          But the answer that I can give you, that I 

        11          think is an important answer is that I believe 

        12          these students will experience one year of 

        13          learning for one year of school.  

        14              I think they will show that kind of 

        15          achievement.  They showed that kind of 

        16          achievement last year.  And to me, that should 

        17          be somewhat of a bottom line with what I 

        18          expect.  If we get over one year of 

        19          achievement, I'm proud of those schools and I'm 

        20          proud of those teachers for having done that.

        21              Moving to the --

        22              TREASURER NELSON:  On that point --

        23              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.

        24              TREASURER NELSON:  -- that, I think, 

        25          underscores a very important policy question, 

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         1          what you just said.  And that is the -- what 

         2          you said, as I understood it, is that measured 

         3          on a per child basis, that you're going to get 

         4          an advancement of one year's work for one 

         5          year's of effort.

         6              If you measured progress that way, on a per 

         7          child basis, as opposed to a -- comparing that 

         8          school to all the other schools, which is 

         9          measured on a bell curve where some fail and 

        10          where some exceed, is there a policy question 

        11          that begs to be asked here? 

        12              MR. MAY:  I don't know if I want to get 

        13          into that or not, Mr. Nelson.

        14              I can tell you that I believe there -- 

        15          there need to be some variances allowed for 

        16          with the FCAT grading system.  I don't know 

        17          that this is the place.  If you'd like me to 

        18          answer it, I certainly would.  Because I do 

        19          believe that there are variances that we need 

        20          to examine, and such things as free and reduced 

        21          lunches, such things as school size. 

        22              In fact, if I have a high number of ESE 

        23          gifted students in my population, I think the 

        24          bell ought to even be raised for those kinds of 

        25          items. 

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         1              So -- so I believe if I was the CEO of a 

         2          major organization and I was going to take a 

         3          look at the profit margins for each one of 

         4          those organizations, I would take into account 

         5          that not every school and every child is 

         6          exactly the same, that there are going to be 

         7          variances.

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Can I --

         9              MR. MAY:  And I can't expect sales to be 

        10          the same in each of them.

        11              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Superintendent, this is an 

        12          appropriate conversation, because in December 

        13          we're going to have -- based on the passage of 

        14          the A+ law, we will factor in a year's worth of 

        15          knowledge as -- in a year's time as a -- as 

        16          a -- as a -- under consideration at least.

        17              MR. MAY:  Good. 

        18              GOVERNOR BUSH:  And the law --

        19              MR. MAY:  Good.

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- which hasn't been 

        21          adequately reported, allows for this. 

        22              It also allows for a focus on how schools 

        23          do with the bottom 25 percentile.  To get back 

        24          to your correct concern that certain children 

        25          learn -- come prepared to school and -- and 

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         1          they come prepared to school in different ways. 

         2              The law factors that in.  And so as 

         3          the Board of Education, the rulemaking process 

         4          is underway, your input here, as well as in any 

         5          other possible way that you'd like to, would be 

         6          invaluable for us to craft meaningful changes 

         7          as the law requires us to do to change the -- 

         8          the system that was created prior to us 

         9          arriving. 

        10              And I -- I want to bring you back to 

        11          December of last year when the law -- when 

        12          the -- when these rules were -- about grading 

        13          schools was passed.  I wasn't here. 

        14              Commissioner Gallagher I guess was -- you 

        15          were -- you weren't here.  Everybody else may 

        16          have been here -- or, no, Secretary Harris 

        17          wasn't here. 

        18              But it passed unanimously that we said as a 

        19          state that there are certain assessments that 

        20          we will undertake to measure real world 

        21          standards.  And we have high expectations of 

        22          all of our kids, no matter what level of income 

        23          or family structure or color of their skin.  We 

        24          will not abandon that. 

        25              No state in the country is moving away from 

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         1          high expectations of their kids.  The standards 

         2          movement is nationwide, Democrats and 

         3          Republicans alike, believe in it passionately.  

         4          And I believe that the Board of Education last 

         5          year was correct in setting those standards up.

         6              Now we have the chance, because we've moved 

         7          to a grading system testing grades three 

         8          through ten where we can begin to assess 

         9          individual student performance on a 

        10          year-to-year basis to take into consideration 

        11          your concerns.  And I think it's well worth the 

        12          effort to do so.

        13              MR. MAY:  Well, and -- and if I could 

        14          expand on that point just a tiny bit, Governor, 

        15          and then --

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Yeah.

        17              MR. MAY:  -- I promise I'll get back to 

        18          this.

        19              When we go to the Stanford 9, which is the 

        20          test that you're speaking of now, that is a 

        21          test that is a normative based test.  And 

        22          whenever you do normative testing, we're going 

        23          to have this huge bell curve with probably 

        24          60 percent, 70 percent of our students 

        25          somewhere right there inside that bell. 

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         1              And -- and -- but we're always going to 

         2          have a 25th percentile one way or the other.  

         3          And -- and if we understand that if I tested 

         4          the people in this Cabinet who are the 

         5          brightest people in the state of Florida, if 

         6          I --

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Now, wait a second.

         8              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Here here.

         9              MR. MAY:  Well, okay.  Almost the --

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  It's a wide bell --

        11              MR. MAY:  -- brightest people --

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- but I can --

        13              MR. MAY:  The brightest people on the dais.

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Okay.

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  All we did is get 

        16          more votes than the other guys running against 

        17          us.

        18              MR. MAY:  Yeah.  All right. 

        19              But -- but the point I make is this:  When 

        20          you do normative testing, there will always be 

        21          percentiles, and we need to understand that.  

        22          Someone's going to be there.

        23              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Yeah.

        24              MR. MAY:  If we did it with -- as 

        25          intelligent as everyone is --

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         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Let's just --

         2              MR. MAY:  -- in this room --

         3              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- our objective, which 

         4          is --

         5              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.

         6              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- mutual, is to move that 

         7          bell curve forward towards higher --

         8              MR. MAY:  The mean.

         9              GOVERNOR BUSH:  -- student achievement.

        10              MR. MAY:  Yes, sir.  We want the mean to be 

        11          able to move up.

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Absolutely.

        13              MR. MAY:  But I don't care how far that 

        14          mean moves up on a raw score, that bell curve 

        15          is going to remain the same.  And that's 

        16          important to understand that.

        17              Okay. 

        18              Moving along to the next section. 

        19              You can see that -- that we have AIP plans 

        20          for any student below the 35th and -- below 

        21          percentile in mathematic (sic). 

        22              I want you to see that -- on the next 

        23          slide, you'll see that we go to a minimum of 

        24          60-minute time blocks for math, and a variety 

        25          of different strategies, which include again 

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         1          the mentoring programs by lots of different 

         2          people.

         3              Okay? 

         4              Across the curriculum, you will see that 

         5          there are other strategies that we are using.  

         6          And the AIMS strategies, which is Activities in 

         7          Grad-- Integrating Math and Science is used at 

         8          all grade levels.

         9              We want to --

        10              (Secretary Harris exited the room.)

        11              MR. MAY:  -- explore the extended time.  

        12          And even though I've covered this once, I just 

        13          wanted you to see that we're also doing that 

        14          for math, and the writing, too, you'll see in 

        15          just a minute.

        16              The Saturday program, I see we have that.

        17              Moving to the next slide. 

        18              You'll see that we have the Sunshine Math 

        19          Superstar Training, the Lightspan, many  

        20          different other ideas that we believe are going 

        21          to help to enhance those math scores.

        22              And then we go to the Florida Writes 

        23          portion.  The Florida Writes portion, you'll 

        24          see that we've conducted diagnostic assessments 

        25          of our first through fifth grade students' 

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         1          writing performance. 

         2              And we -- we put together a writing 

         3          program -- you may or may not know this, that 

         4          JoAnn Cawley is the person who does the scoring 

         5          for the State of Florida.  She's a former 

         6          Escambia County principal. 

         7              She assisted us in putting together a 

         8          Florida Writes Program that helps us to assess 

         9          that program very closely to what the 

        10          Florida Writes itself is.  And you see that 

        11          there.

        12              Again AIPs for each of those students that 

        13          are scoring below Level 2. 

        14              Then you'll see on the next one, a variety 

        15          of techniques that we're using to increase that 

        16          proficiency in writing.

        17              I think one of the things that I would 

        18          share with you about writing that -- that we've 

        19          just made a commitment to is that we now write 

        20          every day in every class.  And I think 

        21          that's -- that's a huge commitment to writing.  

        22          We write every day in every class. 

        23              And that's one of the reasons that we're -- 

        24          we're hoping that that will show proof that we 

        25          are making that progress.

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         1              Some more of those strategies.

         2              Again, you will see that we're involving 

         3          some other agencies, the PACEE Program, the 

         4          DOE, the -- the rubric itself that we use, 

         5          observations at high scoring schools.  We've 

         6          actually had some of the high scoring writing 

         7          schools come in and do presentations to the 

         8          faculty on methodologies that they use.  So a 

         9          variety of those things.

        10              Okay.  Here we talk about the options.  And 

        11          I'm going to go through this quickly, because I 

        12          know this Cabinet's well aware of all of these 

        13          options.

        14              You'll see that a letter was sent to notify 

        15          parents.  Then, again, we sent another two 

        16          letters to let them know their rights to avail 

        17          themselves of opportunity scholarships. 

        18              Then again, we notified the parents of 

        19          transportation; kinds of student services; 

        20          State testing requirements; all of those things 

        21          that would be associated, even though that they 

        22          were leaving our public school system.

        23              We identified budget issues for the 

        24          information campaign.  And you'll see this is 

        25          what it basically costs to mail out this 

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         1          information.

         2              The next slide that -- that I just 

         3          wanted -- and this is an information piece.  We 

         4          are -- we are looking at implementing a 

         5          controlled choice plan for our entire county in 

         6          the school year 2001 and 2002. 

         7              We have already put together a committee of 

         8          School Advisory Committee Chairman's 

         9          appointees.  We have our School Attendance Zone 

        10          Committee, which is a Board committee. 

        11              Within the next two weeks, we will be 

        12          sitting down with the School Board itself doing 

        13          what we call a quality function deployment to 

        14          find out what their values are for offering 

        15          controlled choice, and what things --

        16              (Secretary Harris entered the room.)

        17              MR. MAY:  -- they feel are important to 

        18          their constituents. 

        19              And from that, we will be creating a matrix 

        20          which will help us to move forward with this 

        21          controlled choice plan.  But I figured that -- 

        22          that you would have an interest in that.

        23              Any questions about that before I go on?

        24              Okay.  The -- the next slide is one about 

        25          dreams.  And it says something about what we've 

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         1          been speaking this morning. 

         2              And it really says:  Taxpayers are -- they 

         3          have grown to expect accountability.  And that 

         4          really does mean we understand rolling out the 

         5          numbers. 

         6              What percentage of our kids go to college, 

         7          what's our average ACT and SAT college entrance 

         8          test scores, how did we perform on the 

         9          Stanford 9 or the FCAT test, how do we compare 

        10          with other counties and schools, and what's our 

        11          attendance rate. 

        12              And -- and you'll see that -- that I put 

        13          something else up there.  But I want to give 

        14          you some points just -- just to think about. 

        15              Escambia County is the 89th poorest 

        16          district in the United States.  We have nearly 

        17          60 percent of our kids on free and reduced 

        18          lunch, and our mobility rate is in excess of 

        19          60 percent. 

        20              If you took a look at the A+ criteria, 

        21          which I think is a fair assimilation, and you 

        22          gave our county a score for the entire county, 

        23          we would have scored a C at the elementary 

        24          level, we would have scored a C at the middle 

        25          school level, and we would have scored a C at 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION            108
                                 October 26, 1999
         1          the high school level.

         2              Our SAT scores were 60 points above the 

         3          State average, and 42 points above the national 

         4          average.  Every year we go to the history fair, 

         5          and last year, which is not atypical of our 

         6          county, we won 7 out of the 14 first place 

         7          awards in the State History Contest. 

         8              Our students received 1.5 million dollars 

         9          just last year in the Bright Futures 

        10          Scholarship Program, while at the same time, 

        11          they earned over 12 million dollars in 

        12          additional scholarships.

        13              I say all of this to you to lead into what 

        14          I believe are dreams.  We have an IB program, 

        15          which is ranked among one of the top five IB 

        16          programs, not in the state, not in the country, 

        17          but in the entire world.

        18              We have students who are fulfilling their 

        19          dreams.  And I think that when you contribute 

        20          to a picture of a county, that one of the 

        21          things that you can't leave out -- and I don't 

        22          know if there'll ever be a test that tests 

        23          this -- is where is that section that reports 

        24          the number of dreams that were fulfilled.  And 

        25          I think that's important. 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION            109
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              That's what I would leave you with, in -- 

         2          in my presentation.  How can we talk about 

         3          dreams that were met, how can we talk about 

         4          good citizens that were made, and where do we 

         5          measure that? 

         6              I believe that's important.  I believe in 

         7          student achievement.  I think all kids can 

         8          learn.  And I thank you for allowing me to make 

         9          this presentation this morning.

        10              I would like to hand you out these 

        11          newspaper articles.  And certainly, I would 

        12          also like to answer any questions that you 

        13          might have at this time.

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Any questions?

        15              Thank you, Mr. Superintendent.  It's good 

        16          seeing you again.

        17              MR. MAY:  Thank you.

        18              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I guess we'll see you back 

        19          here one more time in the -- are you -- aren't 

        20          you all coming back in the spring, I guess?  Is 

        21          that --

        22              MR. MAY:  We will wait for your directions, 

        23          Governor.  And when you direct us, we will be 

        24          back.

        25              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION            110
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              MR. PIERSON:  Item 4, we'll recommend 

         2          deferral.

         3              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Move deferral.

         4              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Second.

         5              GOVERNOR BUSH:  There's a motion to defer.

         6              Second.

         7              Without objection, it's approved.

         8              MR. PIERSON:  Item 5 is an amendment to 

         9          Commissioner's Rule 6-2.001, Educational 

        10          Facilities, which is presented for information.

        11              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Motion.

        12              SECRETARY HARRIS:  Second.

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

        14              Without objection, it's approved.

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  I think we have 

        16          some people that want to --

        17              GOVERNOR BUSH:  What?

        18              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  We don't?

        19              MR. PIERSON:  We don't.

        20              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  We don't have any 

        21          people that want to talk.

        22              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Okay.

        23              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Okay.

        24              MR. PIERSON:  Item 6, we recommend deferral 

        25          until November 9th.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION            111
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Move defer.

         2              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Motion.

         3              GOVERNOR BUSH:  There's a motion to defer.

         4              Second.

         5              Without objection, it's approved.

         6              MR. PIERSON:  Item 7, appointments and 

         7          reappointments to the Education Standards 

         8          Commission:  Trent Daniel, Terry Curry, 

         9          Carey Stidham, Sandra Robinson, 

        10          Marguerite Atkins, Martha Pepper, 

        11          Rosa Harvey Pratt --

        12              (Treasurer Nelson exited the room.)

        13              MR. PIERSON:  -- Rebecca McBride, and 

        14          John Long.

        15              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Motion.

        16              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Second.

        17              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Second.

        18              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

        19              Without objection, it's approved.

        20              MR. PIERSON:  On Item 5, was for 

        21          information only, there shouldn't have been a 

        22          vote.

        23              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Doesn't matter.   

        24          It won't hurt it having a vote.

        25              MR. PIERSON:  It--

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                             STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION            112
                                 October 26, 1999
         1              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  No extra charge.

         2              MR. PIERSON:  Item 8, appointments and 

         3          reappointments to Education Practices  

         4          Commission:  Thomas James, Steven Brodie, 

         5          Ana Rasco, Margaret Wolf, Clarissa Coddington, 

         6          Renier de la Portilla, and Jayne Palmer.

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Motion --

         8              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Motion.

         9              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Is there a second?

        10              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Second.

        11              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and seconded.

        12              Without objection, it's approved.

        13              Thank you. 

        14              (The State Board of Education Agenda was 

        15          concluded.)

        16                                 *










                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Trustee of the Internal 

         2          Improvement Trust Fund.

         3              Is there a motion on the minutes?

         4              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Motion.

         5              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Second?

         6              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Second.

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved --

         8              Is there a second? 

         9              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Second.

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Moved and -- moved and 

        11          seconded.

        12              Without objection, it's approved.

        13              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  I've been 

        14          here 12 years, Governor.  That's the first 

        15          time --

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  That's the first time it's 

        17          happened to me.

        18              Item 2.

        19              MR. STRUHS:  Good morning. 

        20              Substitute Item Number 2, an option 

        21          agreement to acquire nine hundred and 

        22          seventy-six-and-a-half acres adjoining the 

        23          Tenoroc Fish Management Area to be acquired by 

        24          the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation 

        25          Commission. 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              And we do have Ms. Judy Hancock from the 

         2          Sierra Club who asked to speak for just a 

         3          minute to this subject.

         4              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Sure.

         5              Good afternoon -- good morning.

         6              MS. HANCOCK:  Good morning.

         7              Good morning.  My name is Judy Hancock --

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Judy, can you move the mic 

         9          down a little bit?

        10              MS. HANCOCK:  Okay.

        11              I'm here representing the Florida Chapter 

        12          of the Sierra Club, and I've been asked to read 

        13          a brief letter from the Sierra Club Polk Group. 

        14              Dear Trustees, the enhancement of the upper 

        15          Peace River Basin in Bone Valley is an 

        16          important issue for the 500 plus members of the 

        17          Polk Group of the Sierra Club. 

        18              We request your thorough consideration of, 

        19          and support for, the purchase of the 970 acre 

        20          Bridgewater property, which is located in the 

        21          upper Peace River Basin. 

        22              The resources of this Polk County site in  

        23          east Lakeland would be an outstanding addition 

        24          to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation 

        25          Commission's Tenoroc facility. 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              We are fully aware that the Bridgewater 

         2          property has been mined and reclaimed, but have 

         3          no qualms about enthusiastically supporting its 

         4          acquisition for both ecological and 

         5          recreational reasons. 

         6              This proposed addition would provide the 

         7          citizens of our rapidly urbanizing area an 

         8          esthetically pleasing, open space, and 

         9          nature-based recreation opportunities, 

        10          including fishing on 12 lakes, hiking, 

        11          canoeing, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. 

        12              There is also an excellent opportunity for 

        13          the incorporation and management of some good 

        14          quality scrub parcels that were conserved under 

        15          the Bridgewater development of regional impact.

        16              The merging of these properties with 

        17          Tenoroc will create an impressive, diverse 

        18          habitat that is just minutes away from the 

        19          200,000 residents of the Lakeland area.

        20              The acquisition and management of this 

        21          tract would exemplify the Florida Forever goals 

        22          of ecosystem restoration, preservation, 

        23          management, and recreation.

        24              It would be a legacy that the people of 

        25          this area will treasure for generations to 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          come.

         2              And this letter is co-signed by 

         3          Genny Jacobs, the Group Chair; and Marian Ryan, 

         4          the Conservation Chair. 

         5              And I would add that these two ladies, 

         6          along with many others in that area, have been 

         7          working for years and years to protect the 

         8          Peace River Basin and the Bone Valley area.

         9              Thank you.

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you very much. 

        11              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Well, I so move, if 

        12          we need a motion.

        13              SECRETARY HARRIS:  Second.

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  It's been moved and 

        15          seconded.

        16              Any discussion? 

        17              Without objection, it's approved.

        18              MR. STRUHS:  Item Number 3 is consideration 

        19          of the annual land management review team 

        20          findings.

        21              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  Motion.

        22              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Second.

        23              GOVERNOR BUSH:  When it says acceptance, 

        24          doesn't mean we have to -- we have to move it, 

        25          or just -- we move to accept?

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Accept the report.

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Second.

         3              MR. STRUHS:  Accept the report.

         4              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Without objection, it's 

         5          approved.

         6              MR. STRUHS:  The Second Substitute Item 

         7          Number 4, regarding the U.S. Department of 

         8          Veterans' Affairs, and the expansion of the 

         9          Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, into the 

        10          Withlacoochee State Forest. 

        11              We're seeking approval to do three things, 

        12          and -- and the sequence of them is important.

        13              First, to determine that 137.81 acre parcel 

        14          of State-owned lands in Sumter County no longer 

        15          needs to be preserved for conservation 

        16          purposes; second, a determination that that 

        17          acreage is surplus to the State's needs; and 

        18          third, that the conveyance of these 137.81 acre 

        19          parcels to the Federal government can occur.

        20              And I'd like to make just several notes 

        21          regarding this, please, to inform the 

        22          discussion.

        23              You may very well have before you the 

        24          number a hundred and seventy -- 179.81 acres.  

        25          It has been reduced by 42 acres to the 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          137.81 number.

         2              That is in full agreement with the 

         3          Department of Veterans' Affairs, and the State 

         4          of Florida.  There is an environmentally 

         5          sensitive sandhill community in this parcel.  

         6          And as part of the efforts to make this work 

         7          for all the parties, the Veterans' 

         8          Administration agreed that that was something 

         9          that they could do without.  So that is why the 

        10          number is -- is reduced.

        11              Secondly, I'd also just like to note for 

        12          the record that the State of Florida did offer 

        13          the land first to Sumter County, as required 

        14          under the State rules, and that Sumter County 

        15          declined any interest in the par-- in the 

        16          parcel.

        17              Thirdly, in terms of the price that we're 

        18          selling the land to the Federal government, 

        19          that is all controlled again by -- by State 

        20          rules.  And we are meeting that legally 

        21          required formula to determine the sale price to 

        22          another government agency.  So we're -- we're 

        23          free and clear there.

        24              Fourth, this has gone through the 

        25          prescribed LAMAC review process.  So we've 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          touched that base. 

         2              The LAMAC approved this item with three 

         3          conditions:  One was the preservation of that 

         4          sandhill community that I mentioned earlier.  

         5          In fact, we've done more than just agreeing to 

         6          preserve it.  They've actually carved it out of 

         7          the original request. 

         8              Secondly, the condition was that the VA 

         9          would support us in our efforts to get the 

        10          U.S. Forest Service to convey mineral rights to 

        11          the State of Florida in the Withlacoochee State 

        12          Forest.  And they have already met that 

        13          expectation, and we're making good progress on 

        14          that.

        15              And thirdly, the Veterans' -- Veterans' 

        16          Administration agreed to not make any future 

        17          requests to expand the cemetery into the 

        18          Withlacoochee State Forest.

        19              And my fifth and final point is that you 

        20          should have all been provided a draft copy of 

        21          the quitclaim deed.  You will notice in that 

        22          deed that the conveyance of this property is 

        23          conditioned, and it is conditioned in a number 

        24          of ways:  

        25              The first being that the 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          Veterans' Administration would not seek any 

         2          additional State-owned land in the future; 

         3          secondly, that any revenue generated from the 

         4          removal of the timber from that land would stay 

         5          with our Division of Forestry; thirdly, that 

         6          the cemetery would be designed in such a way as 

         7          to preserve and allow public access to the 

         8          existing horse trail, equestrian trail that's 

         9          there; fourth, that in the event that the 

        10          grantee should choose to sell or convey any of 

        11          the lands, that they would first offer it back 

        12          to the State at the same price to which we -- 

        13          that we sold it to them; and finally, the 

        14          fifth item, is a reverter clause saying that 

        15          if any of these conditions aren't met, the land 

        16          would revert back. 

        17              I -- the reason I go through these items, 

        18          gentlemen, and -- and Madam, is simply to point 

        19          out that these conditions were all fully agreed 

        20          to by all of the parties involved in these 

        21          negotiations. 

        22              As is often the case though, in the last 

        23          24 hours, the lawyers got involved.  In 

        24          particular --

        25              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Let me clarify one 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          thing before you finish that.

         2              You said that there would be no further 

         3          conveyance to the Federal government for any 

         4          uses of a cemetery.  You mean for this 

         5          expansion on this cemetery.  And I think you 

         6          need to clarify --

         7              MR. STRUHS:  Yes, sir.

         8              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- that.

         9              MR. STRUHS:  That's correct.

        10              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Because that's not 

        11          what you said.  You said no --

        12              (Governor Bush exited the room.)

        13              MR. STRUHS:  That's correct.

        14              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Thank you.

        15              MR. STRUHS:  For this parcel and this 

        16          cemetery.

        17              The Department -- U.S. Department of 

        18          Justice has indicated that they're not 

        19          comfortable with the Veterans' Administration's 

        20          commitment to not seek future expansion in 

        21          Withlacoochee, having that tied to the reverter 

        22          clause.

        23              So the decision you have before you, 

        24          in part, as to whether or not you want to 

        25          simply stay the course that we're on with this 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          draft quitclaim deed, or amend it.

         2              And a possible amendment that might resolve 

         3          this issue, and allow this to go forward, is to 

         4          strike that first item, and simply add it as 

         5          language at the end of the document on page 2 

         6          with language that would read: 

         7              Furthermore, the grantee agrees not to 

         8          request any additional State-owned lands for 

         9          the expansion of the Florida National Cemetery 

        10          in Bushnell, Florida.

        11              That accomplishes what the intention is, 

        12          which is to memorialize this commitment.  But 

        13          it doesn't go so far as to actually tie it to 

        14          the reverter clause in -- in this -- in this 

        15          deed.

        16              I'd be happy to attempt to answer any 

        17          questions that you may have.  But I would also 

        18          point out that there are numerous speakers who 

        19          would like to speak to this today.  And I would 

        20          look forward to introducing them to you.

        21              (Governor Bush entered the room.)  

        22              SECRETARY HARRIS:  Go ahead and call the 

        23          speakers.

        24              Are there any questions? 

        25              MR. STRUHS:  Shall we call the speakers? 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              I'd like to begin, just in -- in terms of 

         2          protocol, introducing my colleague in State 

         3          government, the Executive Director of the 

         4          Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs, 

         5          Robin Higgins.  And she, in turn, will 

         6          introduce Mr. Bob Holbrook, who's here from the 

         7          VA Administration out of Washington, D.C. 

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Colonel, how you doing? 

         9              MS. HIGGINS:  I'm doing well, sir.

        10              In 1988 when the Florida National Cemetery 

        11          opened its doors, it was the ninth largest 

        12          national cemetery in terms of acreage. 

        13              At that time, no one ever foresaw that it 

        14          would become the third busiest national 

        15          cemetery system in the country; and, in fact, 

        16          the number one fastest growing national 

        17          cemetery in the country.

        18              Several years ago, not anticipating 

        19          building another --

        20              (Treasurer Nelson entered the room.)

        21              MS. HIGGINS:  -- national cemetery in 

        22          Florida in the foreseeable future, and seeing 

        23          the accelerated use of the cemetery, the VA 

        24          asked Florida for 180 acres, or thereabouts, to 

        25          extend the cemetery.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              Today, after seven years of -- of work, we 

         2          finally have reached this spot today, and the 

         3          final set piece is conservation.  The discourse 

         4          has become extremely divisive, and emotions are 

         5          running very deep on -- on all sides. 

         6              But I think we're talking about the same 

         7          thing here.  Webster defines conservation as a 

         8          careful preservation and protection of 

         9          something, especially planned management of 

        10          natural -- of a natural resource to prevent 

        11          exploitation and destruction.

        12              It's my belief that the very best possible 

        13          use of this land is to turn it over to the 

        14          careful guardianship of the national cemetery, 

        15          to conserve both the natural beauty, and the 

        16          core values on which the -- this country was 

        17          built.

        18              These are not mutually exclusive.  I harken 

        19          back to the father of the country -- of this 

        20          country, George Washington, who said that the 

        21          willingness with which our young people are 

        22          likely to serve in any war, no matter how 

        23          justified, shall be directly proportional as to 

        24          how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars 

        25          were treated and appreciated by their nation.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              Indeed, the treatment that we can bestow on 

         2          our veterans by a positive vote today is a vote 

         3          for conservation of the core values of this 

         4          country, the natural resource that these men 

         5          and women here today, preservation of honor, of 

         6          pride, and of the commitment on which this 

         7          country was built.

         8              This is not a precedent setting break of 

         9          faith with environmentalism.  It is, as Webster 

        10          says, careful preservation and protection.

        11              One of the many arguments that I think 

        12          we've all heard from opponents of the transfer 

        13          is that it's Washington that's let the veterans 

        14          down, not those who would rather save this 

        15          precious land for the longleaf pines and the 

        16          gopher tortoises and the horse trails. 

        17              Washington should have more national 

        18          cemetery space for Florida's 1.7 million 

        19          veterans, more land in south Florida, in north 

        20          Florida, in all regions of the state so that 

        21          the remains of veterans distanced from the 

        22          third busiest cemetery in the nation wouldn't 

        23          have to arrive at Bushnell totally 

        24          unaccompanied by family because loved ones just 

        25          can't afford to make the trip to see our heroes 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          buried.

         2              But Washington didn't, they don't, and 

         3          maybe they won't.  And shame on them.  But 

         4          shame on us if we have it in our power to open 

         5          our arms to United States veterans who choose 

         6          to live out their remaining years in our state, 

         7          if we have it in our power and we turn them 

         8          down, and turn them away.

         9              Shame on us if we say to these heroes, not 

        10          here, here we have tortoises, trees, and 

        11          horse trails, go somewhere else.

        12              We have looked at the dismal remains of a 

        13          highway project that is so-called, or 

        14          Alternative B.  It is simply not the best site 

        15          for expansion of the cemetery.  It would not 

        16          allow continuation of the wonderful 

        17          environmentally sensitive design of the 

        18          cemetery that now exists.

        19              The VA originally chose this primary site 

        20          for obvious reasons of continuity, ease of 

        21          access, and minimization of expansion costs.

        22              Those basic reasons still remain very 

        23          valid.  The original VA requested site is 

        24          clearly the best site for Florida's veterans.  

        25          A reward to the cemetery for being good 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          stewards of the land, and to the veterans for 

         2          their sacrifices should not be leftovers.

         3              I am in a -- a responsible American.  I 

         4          served 20 years in the United States 

         5          Marine Corps, believing that what I did helped 

         6          others to live in a safe, secure America.

         7              My Marine husband was killed on active 

         8          duty, believing that his sacrifice would make a 

         9          difference.  He is buried in a national 

        10          cemetery.  And when my time comes, I will join 

        11          him on that hallowed ground.

        12              I take my job as a senior State government 

        13          executive very, very seriously.  It is crucial 

        14          that we be skillful managers of our assets, and 

        15          conscientious stewards of public lands. 

        16              I don't want to give away 1 inch of our 

        17          pristine, valuable State land if we don't 

        18          absolutely have to.  But this is one of those 

        19          occasions.  We absolutely have to. 

        20              We have been waiting for 12 years for 

        21          Washington to build our veterans another 

        22          cemetery in south Florida.  But it hasn't 

        23          happened.  Year after year, we see the VA's 

        24          budget dwindle; and year after year, there is 

        25          no cemetery for south Florida.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              Governor Bush and I have made it a national 

         2          priority of our administration to make 

         3          Washington commit to one.  With the signing of 

         4          the VA HUD appropriations bill last week, we 

         5          are closer today than ever before in having a 

         6          national cemetery in south Florida.  But we are 

         7          not there.  And if Washington commits today to 

         8          build one, it won't happen for another 

         9          seven years.

        10              However, we have the population in Florida 

        11          that even if and when a national cemetery is 

        12          built in south Florida, that both Bushnell and 

        13          south Florida will remain vibrant for many 

        14          years to come.

        15              A national cemetery in south Florida is a 

        16          necessity, and is an adjunct to, not a 

        17          replacement for, a national cemetery in 

        18          Bushnell, which is 250 miles away.

        19              We have 1.7 million veterans in this state, 

        20          the second largest veterans population in the 

        21          entire country.  We have over -- we have over 

        22          600,000 World War II veterans alone, and 

        23          300,000 Korean war veterans, the number one 

        24          population in the entire country of older 

        25          veterans.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              And while nationally, we're losing 

         2          1,000 World War II veterans a day, the 

         3          population in Florida is expected to remain the 

         4          same for the immediate future.  One hundred 

         5          veterans a day from all over the country are 

         6          moving here, and choosing to live out their 

         7          final days in Florida.

         8              Will you be the ones to tell them to say, 

         9          yes, come here, we offer warm climate, pristine 

        10          beaches, State parks and forests, we're 

        11          improving our schools, and deterring crime.  

        12          But don't expect to be buried here, because our 

        13          national cemetery will be closed by the time 

        14          you die.

        15              The VA has committed to us that they will 

        16          protect the small percentage of the 180 acre 

        17          tract that is home to the -- to the 

        18          sandhill community.  In fact, that portion of 

        19          which is now going to be actually withheld from 

        20          transfer.

        21              Land use will consist of trees and trails, 

        22          of perfectly aligned marble headstones and 

        23          manicured lawns, of quiet and solemn 

        24          ceremonies, and of visits of school children to 

        25          learn about the men and women who gave their 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          lives that they should live free.

         2              Winston Churchill once said:  A nation that 

         3          does not honor its heroes will soon have no 

         4          heroes to honor.  That's the kind of 

         5          conservation that I'm talking about.

         6              The proposal that you have here today is 

         7          the result of a lot of hard work, even as of 

         8          9:00 o'clock this morning, on the part of a lot 

         9          of people. 

        10              And I'd like to personally thank each of 

        11          your staff and your Aides; a lot of hardworking 

        12          folks from DEP; veterans and their supporters 

        13          from all over the state; and, yes, even 

        14          Mr. Fuller and Mr. Lee and others from the 

        15          environmental groups.

        16              The rhetoric was often ratcheted up very 

        17          high and the emotions were very high, but I 

        18          think we all never lost sight of the goal, to 

        19          do what is right for the people of Florida.

        20              So I urge you to send a message of strong 

        21          support this morning to Florida's veterans, one 

        22          which also recognizes the need to preserve the 

        23          heritage and the history and, indeed, the land.  

        24          Vote in favor of the transfer before you here 

        25          today.

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              I'd like to introduce and turn the podium 

         2          over to Bob Holbrook, who is here from 

         3          Washington, representing the National Cemetery 

         4          System Administration to speak a little bit 

         5          about the conservation of the land; about 

         6          the -- the transfer; and then, of course, if 

         7          you have any questions, we'll -- we'll be --

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, Robin.

         9              MS. HIGGINS:  Yes, Governor.

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Mr. Holbrook. 

        11              MR. HOLBROOK:  Governor Bush, members of 

        12          the Cabinet, I'm Bob Holbrook.  I represent the 

        13          Department of Veterans' Affairs, National 

        14          Cemetery Administration. 

        15              I'm also proud to come here this morning 

        16          representing our nation's veterans, and their 

        17          commitment to this state and to this nation.

        18              If I could digress just for a moment, 

        19          sitting this morning through the Cabinet 

        20          hearing, I -- I formed several good opinions, 

        21          I think. 

        22              One, it seems as though this state has very 

        23          strong fiscal management, concern, and 

        24          accountability. 

        25              It seems as if investment in Florida State 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          bonds would be a good thing to do when I get 

         2          back home.

         3              And third, I guess, having heard the 

         4          educational testimony, I think I'd be proud to 

         5          have my children attend schools in the state of 

         6          Florida. 

         7              So my compliments to the program, to the 

         8          Cabinet, and to the progress being made by the 

         9          state.  Just as a byline, by the way.

        10              I'd like to talk a little bit about the 

        11          past, and also about the present, and about the 

        12          future.

        13              I'd like to first thank the 

        14          State of Florida for the generosity already 

        15          shown to our nation's veterans through the 

        16          donation of 400 acres of State land that led to 

        17          the creation of the Florida National Cemetery 

        18          at Bushnell.  This cemetery was opened in 1988, 

        19          and as Mrs. Higgins said, has grown to be the 

        20          third busiest in our entire nation. 

        21              This year they would supplant over 

        22          5,000 interments. 

        23              In addition to the 1.7 million veterans who 

        24          reside in Florida, their spouses are also 

        25          eligible for interment, and any dependent 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          children that they may have. 

         2              So a very large percentage of the State's 

         3          population would receive a service by this 

         4          cemetery, and any other national cemetery 

         5          within their proximity.

         6              The Bushnell cemetery consists of 400 

         7          acres.  I'd like to stress, however, that only 

         8          230 of these acres have been, or will be, used 

         9          for actual disturbed purposes, for either 

        10          interment, for roadways, for administration 

        11          buildings, or other features on the cemetery 

        12          grounds.  A hundred and seventy acres is left 

        13          undisturbed. 

        14              We develop our cemeteries, both here and 

        15          throughout the nation, in strict compliance 

        16          with environmental laws, both the national and 

        17          at the state level.  Wetlands are preserved, 

        18          endangered species are protected, any impact on 

        19          the environment is mitigated, and we have 

        20          certainly sandhills in the current area of the 

        21          cemetery that have been preserved and 

        22          protected.

        23              We develop our cemeteries carefully, 

        24          because not only do we bury our nation's 

        25          veterans, but we're committed and required by 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          law to maintain our cemeteries as national 

         2          shrines.  We take great pride in this. 

         3              The Florida National Cemetery I think is 

         4          one of the most beautiful in our system, having 

         5          won awards in several years for both their 

         6          beauty, their efficiency of management, and 

         7          their skill in operating it.

         8              The Florida National Cemetery only several 

         9          years ago entered into a joint project with the 

        10          Florida State Department of Corrections where 

        11          we're using reused water, treated water from 

        12          the prison system to help with our irrigation, 

        13          to reduce the consumption of groundwater, to 

        14          use this as a win-win situation, both -- 

        15          benefitting both the prison and our cemetery.

        16              The point I wish to make is that we are 

        17          developing in compliance with environmental 

        18          protection.  And I think other than leaving 

        19          a piece of land in its pristine condition, what 

        20          we do in the development and operation of a 

        21          national cemetery is considered conservation in 

        22          the truest sense of the word.

        23              The preservation of our land and of the 

        24          natural resources --

        25              (Commissioner Crawford exited the room.)

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              MR. HOLBROOK:  -- is of importance to us, 

         2          as well as it is to the environmental groups.

         3              What are we proposing?  We're proposing for 

         4          the transfer of additional State land to expand 

         5          this cemetery. 

         6              Many options have been considered.  We have 

         7          looked at other pieces of land, and concluded 

         8          that the piece requested represents in many 

         9          ways the best interests, both of the State and 

        10          of the veterans. 

        11              It is proximate, it is an extension of the 

        12          cemetery, it can easily be incorporated, and 

        13          I think its harmony and commitment to our 

        14          nation's veterans will be preserved.

        15              Additional alternatives that have been 

        16          looked at have many drawbacks to development.  

        17          They have -- one particular area has a large 

        18          borrow pit, or approximately 40 acres of 

        19          removed soil that was used to create part of 

        20          the interstate system. 

        21              This, and the number of wetlands, and also 

        22          being across a road would pose limitations to 

        23          an alternative site that has been proposed.

        24              As has been mentioned, we need the land 

        25          because of the rapid growth of the cemetery.  

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          We expect to deplete the current number of 

         2          burials within approximately 10 to 15 years, 

         3          depending upon the rate of utilization that we 

         4          receive.

         5              At that point, what would happen? 

         6              (Commissioner Crawford entered the room.)  

         7              MR. HOLBROOK:  If we had no additional 

         8          land, the cemetery would close and could 

         9          receive no further interment of our nation's 

        10          veterans.

        11              We're looking ahead, we're planning in the 

        12          long-term, we're seeking to expand this area, 

        13          and 137, '39 acres would provide anywhere from 

        14          65,000 to 100,000 grave sites, depending upon 

        15          the way it is laid out and developed.

        16              We feel this would be a significant 

        17          extension of the useful life of this cemetery, 

        18          and is a very strong move as our commitment and 

        19          your commitment to our state and our nation's 

        20          veterans.

        21              The question has been asked of us, well, 

        22          why didn't you ask for more land at the 

        23          beginning?  Part of our theory of development, 

        24          especially in the 1980s was, we didn't see the 

        25          massive utilization of this cemetery that has 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          occurred. 

         2              From 1988 with zero interments, to today, 

         3          the third busiest in our nation, has been an 

         4          unprecedented growth.  This represents one of 

         5          the most rapid growths in any cemetery 

         6          throughout our system --

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Not -- excuse me.  I don't 

         8          want to cut you off.  I'm here -- can you see 

         9          me?

        10              Right here.

        11              MR. HOLBROOK:  Okay.  Thank you.

        12              There? 

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  No.

        14              MR. HOLBROOK:  I'm sorry.

        15              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Right here.

        16              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Governor.  The 

        17          Governor.

        18              MR. HOLBROOK:  Oh, yes, sir.  Yes, sir.

        19              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I just -- I was just making 

        20          the point for you --

        21              Yeah.  Put those on, that'll be better.

        22              MR. HOLBROOK:  There you are.

        23              GOVERNOR BUSH:  The -- the reason why we 

        24          are frustrated with Washington -- we have a 

        25          couple of reasons.  But one of them is this 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          very fact, a by-product of having a lot of 

         2          people -- increased demand that you didn't 

         3          estimate is also that we don't get enough 

         4          Federal money for the veterans that are here. 

         5              So -- I'm not going to prejudge what 

         6          happens on this particular decision.  But if 

         7          there was one thing that you could go back to 

         8          Washington with would be a realization that our 

         9          veterans haven't been getting their fair share 

        10          of -- of veteran benefits because we've had an 

        11          increase in population that has created this 

        12          over-use, if you will, of the cemetery, or 

        13          over-- over estim-- you know, underestimation 

        14          of how many people are using the cemetery.

        15              MR. HOLBROOK:  Yes, sir. 

        16              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thanks.

        17              MR. HOLBROOK:  I hear your message.

        18              We feel the same way.  I can't speak for my 

        19          counterparts in VA, certainly for medical --

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I know.

        21              MR. HOLBROOK:  -- care, for benefit 

        22          programs --

        23              GOVERNOR BUSH:  You could lobby on our 

        24          behalf though. 

        25              MR. HOLBROOK:  I certainly will. 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, sir.

         2              MR. HOLBROOK:  I certainly will.

         3              As we look at the options also, one option 

         4          that was mentioned, could the State possibly 

         5          retain title to this land and lease it to the 

         6          Federal government.  Regrettably, no, sir, that 

         7          would not be an option that was looked at.  We 

         8          cannot bury our nation's veterans on lands that 

         9          we do not hold title to as a Federal 

        10          government.

        11              So I just wish to stress these things, 

        12          because there were options considered. 

        13              I wish also to extend my compliments to the 

        14          environmental groups that we've worked with, 

        15          Mr. John Blanchard, Manley Fuller, the -- 

        16          Mrs. Hancock, and also Charles Lee.  We've 

        17          talked with each of those, and involved them in 

        18          the process. 

        19              They've offered very constructive and 

        20          positive comments regarding alternatives, 

        21          regarding use of the cemetery.  They have 

        22          visited the site, they have looked at what we 

        23          have done with the current cemetery, they've 

        24          looked at what we proposed doing with the new 

        25          land. 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              And I feel that we have made great inroads 

         2          with their involvement in looking at options 

         3          and being able to move toward hopefully an 

         4          accommodation of everyone's concerns.

         5              Finally, I'd like to conclude by stating 

         6          that the number of veterans in this state, the 

         7          World War II veterans, over 600,000 of them, 

         8          over half a century ago, were away from this 

         9          area, away from this nation, defending their 

        10          nation, far away places. 

        11              Over 45 years ago, our Korean veterans were 

        12          in the cold, icy areas of the north of Korea 

        13          and the south of Korea.

        14              Over 25 years ago, our Vietnam veterans 

        15          were in the jungles of Asia.

        16              And more recently, in the Persian Gulf and 

        17          in Kosovo and in parts of Europe, we've seen 

        18          the commitment of our troops.

        19              Regrettably, we live in a hostile world.  

        20          We have to maintain a standing military force.  

        21          Our projection is that this nation always will.  

        22          The best deterrent to tyranny is continual 

        23          vigilance and strength.  I think this will 

        24          continue.

        25              I regret to say that in my judgment, we 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          have not had a period of a decade in this 

         2          nation's history that our men and women were 

         3          not committed somewhere on the earth's surface, 

         4          involved in hostile combat, or in harm's way. 

         5              As I looked out this morning and saw these 

         6          fine young men of the Babe Ruth League, I know 

         7          that some of those men will grow up and serve 

         8          in this nation's military.  I know that they 

         9          will wear the uniform of our service, that they 

        10          will serve in someplace away from their home.  

        11          They may be involved in combat, they may lead 

        12          others into combat.

        13              As I look in our audience today, I see the 

        14          hats of our service organization, the men and 

        15          women who have worn these uniforms before, and 

        16          proudly hung them up, and taken on other roles 

        17          as veterans' advocates. 

        18              As I see this, I know it's a commitment we 

        19          as a nation make, it's a promise that we need 

        20          to keep. 

        21              We value many things in our society:  We 

        22          value the environment, we attempt to develop 

        23          our cemeteries in harmony with this 

        24          environment, to protect them, and make them 

        25          beautiful places. 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              I know that each of these men and women who 

         2          come before you today, when they served long 

         3          and far away places many years ago, there were 

         4          two things that kept them going.  They could 

         5          picture their family, their friends, people to 

         6          come back to. 

         7              They could also picture their home, the 

         8          tranquil areas, the beaches, the areas of -- of 

         9          forest, and the other areas that they grew up 

        10          and loved. 

        11              What we attempt to do in our cemeteries is 

        12          to create this, this tranquil environment, the 

        13          spirit of national shrine as a final resting 

        14          place to these men and women as they lay down 

        15          with their comrades. 

        16              It is with this request that we 

        17          respectfully seek the transfer of land to 

        18          expand this cemetery.  We give you our 

        19          commitment this cemetery will be developed in 

        20          harmony with nature, with the environmental 

        21          protection, and with the beauty and sanctity 

        22          that we have evidenced in the cemetery already.

        23              Thank you very much.

        24              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you.

        25              MR. STRUHS:  What I would recommend, if it  

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          suits the Cabinet, is to identify four 

         2          representatives from Florida's environmental 

         3          organizations, and allocate to them a similar 

         4          period of time, and they can choose amongst 

         5          themselves how they -- how they want to use it: 

         6              Mr. Charles Lee, Mr. Manley Fuller, 

         7          Ms. Judy Hancock, and Ms. Mary Ann Ganginbock 

         8          (phonetic).

         9              MR. LEE:  Governor, members of the Board of 

        10          Trustees, Charles Lee representing the Florida 

        11          Audubon Society.

        12              Good morning.

        13              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Good morning.

        14              MR. LEE:  I've asked to have passed out to 

        15          you two items.  Unfortunately one -- I only 

        16          have one of the photographs.  But I have one of 

        17          the copies of the constitutional provision, and 

        18          the minutes of the LAMAC staff committee for 

        19          each of you.

        20              This is a difficult issue, Governor, for 

        21          us, and -- and -- and I'd like to begin by 

        22          reiterating that I, too, believe that there's a 

        23          fundamental reason why we are here today, why 

        24          we have to be here today discussing this issue. 

        25              And that is the -- the unfortunate fact 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          that with regard to the provision for the needs 

         2          of veterans in the United States, and in 

         3          Florida in particular, Congress has not made 

         4          sufficient appropriations so that the 

         5          Veterans' Administration could identify and 

         6          acquire sites for veteran cemeteries in the 

         7          state of Florida.

         8              And instead by -- by virtue of failing to 

         9          do that, they have set up a situation where the 

        10          Veterans' Administration must come to the 

        11          State of Florida, and ask the State to give up 

        12          pieces of its lands previously acquired for 

        13          conservation or preservation to that use.

        14              The reason we're in that situation is 

        15          because Congress didn't put enough money on the 

        16          table so that the Department of 

        17          Veterans' Affairs could go and buy additional 

        18          cemetery sites that -- that would be -- be 

        19          useful for that purpose.  And it -- and it's 

        20          regrettable that that has come to pass.

        21              The picture that I have passed out is a 

        22          picture that I took of part of this site over 

        23          the weekend.  And -- and I hope each of you 

        24          will get a chance to look at it, because 

        25          clearly the job that the Veterans' Affairs 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          Department has done with regard to the 

         2          development of the existing area of the 

         3          cemetery is exemplary. 

         4              And -- and I would tend to agree with the 

         5          gentleman who just spoke about there being a 

         6          viable integrated conservation use with regard 

         7          to the cemetery purposes, and the purposes of 

         8          protecting this land if it can continue to be 

         9          carried out in that way.

        10              But, again, unfortunately, Governor, the -- 

        11          the way we are here in front of you this 

        12          morning is a way where -- where unfortunately 

        13          we are looking at this issue in a fashion that 

        14          makes it very difficult to -- to deal with.

        15              One of the things that happened in November 

        16          of 1998 was that the people of Florida enacted 

        17          an amendment to their Constitution.  This is an 

        18          amendment that was not a factor of law at the 

        19          time the original 400 acres of this cemetery 

        20          was given to Veterans' Affairs in the -- in the 

        21          early 1980s.

        22              The provisions of this constitutional 

        23          article are in front of you, and I would -- 

        24          would ask that you take a look at the language 

        25          that I have highlighted.  Because the legal 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          test for your making a vote by a two-thirds 

         2          majority to allow the disposal of this land is 

         3          only if you find -- if you determine that the 

         4          property is, quote, no longer needed for 

         5          conservation purposes, close quote.

         6              And we would maintain that in spite of the 

         7          laudable purpose, that the Veterans' 

         8          Administration is seeking with regard to this 

         9          property, that you are in a very difficult 

        10          position to legally meet the criteria of this 

        11          test.

        12              And I think the reason that you're in that 

        13          difficult position goes back to the factual 

        14          record that is existent in this case.  And that 

        15          factual record, or at least a major part of it, 

        16          is the other sheet of paper that -- that I have 

        17          put in front of you, which is the consideration 

        18          of this item that was given by the staff of the 

        19          LAMAC committee, the Land Acquisition 

        20          Management Committee, that makes a 

        21          recommendation to you.

        22              We generally believe that these decisions 

        23          need to be made on facts, not emotion.  And we 

        24          think that the Constitution has now set up a 

        25          clear indication that there are facts at issue 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          that must be determined in order to allow a 

         2          disposition of these lands to occur.

         3              And if you look at the factual position 

         4          that is taken by the technical staff of all of 

         5          the environmental agencies that came together 

         6          on the 19th of August, 1999, to decide what to 

         7          recommend on this issue, they unanimously 

         8          recommended against it. 

         9              And the specific terms of their 

        10          recommendation against it were that they found 

        11          that there was -- and I'll just read it:  

        12          Mr. Farr said the land was purchased for 

        13          conservation needs, and nothing tells him that 

        14          this land is -- no longer serves conservation 

        15          purposes.  He cannot see any justification to 

        16          take this parcel out of the conservation realm 

        17          and convert it to another use.

        18              That -- that I think is the narrow set of 

        19          facts, and -- that is presented to you, and 

        20          there are other facts in the record, 

        21          specifically the management plan of the 

        22          Division of Forestry for these properties, 

        23          which expressly says on its face that none of 

        24          this land is surplus, and that it's all needed.

        25              Now, I recognize that the head of the 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          Division of Forestry has on his own endorsed 

         2          this agenda item, and said, yes, go forward 

         3          with it. 

         4              But the management plan the Legislature 

         5          told you -- or told your agencies to develop 

         6          says that none of this land is not needed for 

         7          conservation purposes.

         8              The reason we bring this to your attention 

         9          is that we are now dealing with the first 

        10          impression case of the application of this new 

        11          constitutional amendment.

        12              And the first impression case is very 

        13          important to us, not because the veterans' 

        14          cemetery is necessarily a bad idea for the 

        15          forest, but because of the findings you must 

        16          make, and the belief that we have that you 

        17          should only make these kind of findings if 

        18          there's a substantial factual record to back 

        19          them up.

        20              And we're afraid that in this case, the 

        21          factual record to back them up is simply not 

        22          present to meet the constitutional test.

        23              Now, that's the bad news.  Let me try to 

        24          give you what I would describe as the good 

        25          news.  And I think there's some -- I think 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          there's some good news available here.

         2              The photograph that I -- I passed out among 

         3          you, in my mind, suggests that in order to 

         4          achieve a use of this property by the 

         5          Veterans' Affairs Department for this cemetery, 

         6          I -- I'm having trouble with the concept that 

         7          this land needs to be disposed of under the 

         8          terms of the constitutional provision that is 

         9          in front of you, in order to allow the 

        10          different use, but nonetheless, an allied 

        11          public, open space, park-like conservation use 

        12          that the Department of Veterans' Affairs is 

        13          proposing here to take place.

        14              This is set up in front of you like it's 

        15          a -- a disposition in lands, like you're 

        16          getting rid of the land, throwing it away, 

        17          because you don't need it anymore.

        18              I don't think that's what you're really 

        19          doing.  What -- what I think is happening here 

        20          is more along the lines of a lateral transfer.  

        21          What you're -- what -- what is being proposed 

        22          is to take a piece of the State forest land, 

        23          and move it from one kind of management into a 

        24          different kind of management, which still in 

        25          the final analysis is going to carry with it a 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          lot of the character of the conservation use 

         2          that this land was originally acquired for.

         3              So we are concerned, Governor, and members 

         4          of the Cabinet, with the fact that you are in 

         5          the grips of what is the first threshold 

         6          consideration of this constitutional amendment.

         7              Frankly, yesterday when your staff was -- 

         8          the staffs of your various agencies were 

         9          discussing this issue, it seemed to us that 

        10          they had come up with a pretty viable idea. 

        11              And that viable idea was that it might not 

        12          be necessary to convey a fee simple deed to the 

        13          Veterans' Administration to allow the use to 

        14          take place, that through a management 

        15          agreement, or through the conveyance of a deed 

        16          that would be less than a fee simple deed, but 

        17          would nonetheless give them the perpetual right 

        18          to have a cemetery on the property, that you 

        19          could avoid having to deal with what appears to 

        20          be a sort of irrelevant test concerning the 

        21          disposition of land. 

        22              This land is not being disposed of to build 

        23          a power line acrossed it, or a canal acrossed 

        24          it, or it's not being disposed of to allow 

        25          somebody to put a prison on it, or some other 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          use that is potentially inimicable to the 

         2          conservation purpose.  It's being shifted from 

         3          one sort of category of open space to another.

         4              So in the final analysis, we have concerns 

         5          about the way that this is being proposed, and 

         6          we think that the factual record -- if this is 

         7          handled as a disposition, that the factual 

         8          record is not the kind of factual record that 

         9          as a matter of precedent we would -- we or you 

        10          would want to see justify the conveyance into a 

        11          disposition situation of vital public lands 

        12          that were acquired for preservation. 

        13              What we're suggesting is, Governor, and 

        14          members of the Cabinet, that you consider 

        15          taking a couple of steps back on this item.  

        16          You know, this is property that the Department 

        17          of Veterans' Affairs is saying it needs to be 

        18          able to use by the year 2016. 

        19              Now, I realize there's wrap-up time, 

        20          planning time, and construction time that they 

        21          have to expend between now and 2016, and I'm 

        22          not suggesting a 15-year delay. 

        23              But I am suggesting that perhaps if you 

        24          were to consider delaying this matter for a 

        25          couple of meetings, and seeking at the highest 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          levels with regard to the Department of 

         2          Veterans' Affairs, some alternative means to 

         3          accomplish this goal, you might well find a 

         4          better way of meeting this constitutional test 

         5          without setting up what might be a very weak 

         6          set of facts in order to sustain that test in 

         7          this, its first application that this Governor 

         8          and Cabinet, to my knowledge, have had the 

         9          opportunity to make of it.

        10              The final thing that I'll say is that -- 

        11          that we think the situation is made a lot 

        12          better by the decision that was made by the 

        13          Department of Veterans' Affairs, and by -- 

        14          I think through the innovation of 

        15          Secretary Struhs and his Department to remove 

        16          the 42 acres of sensitive sandhill habitat from 

        17          the conveyance entirely. 

        18              I think that serves under the terms of the 

        19          discussion that happened in the record to make 

        20          this more defensible than it was before.  But I 

        21          still think that -- that there is a problem.

        22              So my recommendation to you would be that 

        23          you take steps to find a way to do this.  That 

        24          does not confront the provision of the new 

        25          Constitution that was voted on by 73 percent of 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          the voters in Florida who said they wanted to 

         2          set up special protections to preserve lands 

         3          like this. 

         4              We think that through some innovative 

         5          steps, or even, Governor, and members of the 

         6          Cabinet, through some findings you might make 

         7          today, some findings you might make today that 

         8          would make it clear that what you are doing 

         9          here is not really disposing of land. 

        10              But what you are really doing is committing 

        11          that land to a different kind of conservation 

        12          use under a different -- under a different 

        13          masthead, so to speak, that you might be able 

        14          to avoid the confrontation of that -- that 

        15          constitutional test. 

        16              The veterans' needs are legitimate, we 

        17          acknowledge them, we support them, we wish the 

        18          Federal government were appropriating money to 

        19          meet them in a more forthright way on its own. 

        20              But our concern here is -- is simply that 

        21          the provisions of Florida's Constitution that 

        22          provide new criteria for the disposal of these 

        23          kinds of lands be adhered to carefully, and we 

        24          think that it would merit taking some time to 

        25          do that, and maybe coming up with some more 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          innovative alternatives, even if those 

         2          alternatives are still focusing on this piece 

         3          of land that they want. 

         4              The quality of title that you convey may 

         5          make a very important difference with regard to 

         6          whether you confront that constitutional test 

         7          or not.

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, Charles.

         9              Commissioner, you wanted to -- 

        10              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Yes, Governor.  If 

        11          I could, just kind of respond to some of what 

        12          Mr. Lee has said there. 

        13              I fully agree that, as Mr. Lee has stated, 

        14          we've got to be very careful about the 

        15          disposition of -- of conservation lands, and 

        16          I -- and I think we -- we always will be.

        17              As it relates to the question of -- of 

        18          building a factual case to -- to comply with 

        19          the -- Section 18 of the Article X, Charles, 

        20          you -- you quoted one person's opinion, which 

        21          in and of itself I don't think necessarily is, 

        22          you know, conclusive as to evidence.

        23              The -- to me what would be more controlling 

        24          would be the opinions of the people who have 

        25          been actively managing this property on behalf 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          of the State, which is our Department, our 

         2          Division of Forestry. 

         3              And -- and I've asked for their opinion, 

         4          and they've looked at it.  And I can tell you, 

         5          our folks don't like giving up land.  We like 

         6          expanding our forests, as -- as you support 

         7          very much. 

         8              But as they took a look at it, the 

         9          150,000 acres that constitutes the 

        10          Withlacoochee State Forest is a beautiful site.  

        11          The surplusing of this land, their conclusion  

        12          was that it would not in any way affect their 

        13          management plan or their ability to conserve 

        14          that property. 

        15              And these are people who love that land as 

        16          much as anybody.  And -- and certainly, we 

        17          all -- we all do because it's so -- so 

        18          beautiful.  I've been there twice I think in 

        19          the last six months.

        20              So I think as it relates to facts 

        21          supporting a conclusion that we could, in fact, 

        22          dispose of this land, I think it meets the 

        23          constitutional test, in my opinion, and I hope 

        24          the opinion of the -- the Board.

        25              MR. LEE:  If I could -- if I could just add 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          one thing in response to that.

         2              I agree with you, Mr. Crawford, that the -- 

         3          that the head of your Division of Forestry has 

         4          rendered that opinion.  I understand that.

         5              The difficulty that remains though is that 

         6          the government's document for management, which 

         7          the agency had to adopt because the Legislature 

         8          mandated that you have a management plan, and 

         9          abide by the management plan.  If you go to 

        10          that management plan today, it says on the face 

        11          of it that none of the land in this forest is 

        12          considered surplus. 

        13              And so what you have is you have sort of 

        14          the free-floating opinion, if you will, of 

        15          admittedly, I agree with you, a knowledgeable 

        16          person. 

        17              But on the other hand, the legal document 

        18          that the Legislature told the Division to adopt 

        19          to govern the management of this forest does 

        20          not really have room in it for the opinion that 

        21          he's expressed.

        22              Now, you -- there's a process to go back 

        23          through and amend those management plans.  

        24          But -- but what I'm trying to say is that -- 

        25          that the governing document that your agency 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          has adopted still says today, and -- and as far 

         2          as I know, will say tomorrow and the next day, 

         3          that none of this land is considered surplus to 

         4          the needs of -- of the environmental protection 

         5          and forestry purposes within the forest.

         6              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Governor, could I 

         7          ask Mr. Lee a question, please? 

         8              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Sure, General.

         9              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Mr. Lee, what was 

        10          your position on the alternate proposal? 

        11              MR. LEE:  If -- the -- I think -- I think, 

        12          Mr. Milligan, I -- I would -- I've looked at 

        13          the alternate proposal.  It clearly has 

        14          potential to be used as a cemetery site. 

        15              It is not as convenient because it is on -- 

        16          it is separated by a local road.  And I think 

        17          that the environmental quality of the alternate 

        18          site would be -- is -- is infinitely less in 

        19          terms of preservation lands, a lot less in 

        20          terms of preservation lands, than the site that 

        21          the Veterans' Affairs Department has selected. 

        22              They -- there -- it -- from -- I understand 

        23          why Veterans' Affairs wants the site that they 

        24          have selected. 

        25              But on the other hand, in this world of 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          compromise, I would suggest that with a little 

         2          more effort, they could make the alternate site 

         3          just as attractive as the site that they have 

         4          selected.

         5              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  So the passage of 

         6          the alternate site to Federal hands would not 

         7          violate the -- this constitutional amendment 

         8          that you --

         9              MR. LEE:  I think it would be -- I think -- 

        10          I -- let me say that I think it would be 

        11          much -- I think it would be much easier to 

        12          justify in terms of factual representations 

        13          about the habitat that's there.

        14              And the sand-- the -- the -- again, let me 

        15          get back to the fact that the --

        16              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Well, you've 

        17          answered my question.  You will pick and choose 

        18          those things that you think are within the 

        19          Constitution --

        20              MR. LEE:  Well, I --

        21              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  -- and those things 

        22          that are not within the Constitution, 

        23          regardless of what the use of the land may be.

        24              MR. LEE:  It applies, but it would be 

        25          easier to meet the test there in my opinion.

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  You've answered it.  

         2          Thank you.

         3              MS. HANCOCK:  Hi. 

         4              Judy Hancock, representing the Florida 

         5          Chapter of the Sierra Club.  And I'm the Public 

         6          Lands Chair, and have been for over ten years.

         7              We would like to express our support for 

         8          the retention of the 140 acres of mostly native 

         9          sandhill community as State forest lands, 

        10          managed for conservation and recreation as part 

        11          of the Withlacoochee State Forest for the 

        12          people of Florida and out-of-state visitors, as 

        13          they have been for more than 40 years. 

        14              These lands were purchased by the State 

        15          from the Federal government for conservation of 

        16          natural resources, including endangered and 

        17          threatened species, and for compatible 

        18          recreation.  Payments were made to the Feds for 

        19          these purposes for 25 years.

        20              During that time, and subsequently, these 

        21          lands have been integral to the sandhill 

        22          community and the --

        23              (Attorney General Butterworth exited the 

        24          room.)

        25              MS. HANCOCK:  -- Withlacoochee.  They have 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          been, and are, habitat to many species of 

         2          wildlife.  These species depend on this habitat 

         3          for their continued existence in this area. 

         4              Our concerns, which we have stated on many 

         5          occasions, remain as follows:  We have very 

         6          grave concerns about setting a precedent by 

         7          allowing the conversion of conservation lands 

         8          to another use. 

         9              There seems to be varying opinion as to 

        10          whether this is unconstitutional.  And we do 

        11          not feel that any action should be taken until 

        12          this is adequately determined.  It is highly 

        13          important that we adhere to the provisions of 

        14          Constitutional Revision 5, and that decisions 

        15          are responsive to the public mandate to protect 

        16          the State's conservation lands.

        17              No criteria to best determine whether 

        18          certain lands are no longer needed for 

        19          conservation purposes has yet been developed.  

        20          Thus there is no factual determination that 

        21          this sandhill site is surplus to the State's 

        22          needs and no longer needed for conservation 

        23          purposes. 

        24              It is, in fact, unlikely that the site 

        25          would be considered as surplus in this regard, 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          as it is composed mostly of imperiled sandhill, 

         2          with its compliment of endangered and 

         3          threatened species, and species of special 

         4          concern.  It is contiguous to the longleaf 

         5          sandhill community on the Croom tract of the 

         6          Withlacoochee State Forest, and is highly used 

         7          for outdoor recreation, and is consistent with 

         8          the management goals and objectives --

         9              (Attorney General Butterworth entered the 

        10          room.) 

        11              MS. HANCOCK:  -- identified in the land 

        12          management plan approved by the Land Management 

        13          Advisory Council in its 1996 review of the 

        14          plan.

        15              In regard to the condition of some of the 

        16          sandhill community on this tract, the above 

        17          mentioned plan states that due to past 

        18          management practices, slash pine was wrongly 

        19          planted in areas which should have been 

        20          regenerated to longleaf -- with longleaf pine, 

        21          the species indigenous to the site. 

        22              The land management plan states that this 

        23          was a mistake shared by many land managers 

        24          during the late 1950s and early 1960s.  The 

        25          plan states that many of the off-site areas 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          have been restored to the naturally occurring 

         2          longleaf, and that the remaining off-site areas 

         3          will be restored as one of the objectives of 

         4          the plan.

         5              Approximately 100 acres of the expansion 

         6          request are in need of this type of 

         7          restoration.

         8              Many of the lands that the State acquires 

         9          share this need in regard to restoration.  This 

        10          is one of the goals of the program.

        11              Florida is spending millions to acquire and 

        12          restore this imperiled ecosystem, which was 

        13          once abundant, and is now greatly diminished 

        14          from its original acreage by over 97 percent.  

        15          It is grim testimony to the endangerment of 

        16          sandhills that so many species that occupy this 

        17          community are at risk.

        18              Through its land acquisition and management 

        19          program, the State is attempting to ensure that 

        20          these at-risk species will continue to survive 

        21          in Florida, and will not become extinct in this 

        22          state.

        23              In closing, the State received a clear 

        24          message from the public in last year's 

        25          Constitutional Revision 5, which received a 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          resounding 73 percent vote in support of land 

         2          acquisition and management, and protection of 

         3          remaining natural areas in the state. 

         4              No criteria has been developed on which to 

         5          base determinations regarding whether some 

         6          parcels are no longer needed to meet the 

         7          State's conservation and recreation goals. 

         8              This site has imperiled sandhill contains 

         9          increasingly rare species of plants and 

        10          animals, and is a vital component of the 

        11          Withlacoochee State Forest.  There is a 

        12          critical need to preserve and protect Florida's 

        13          areas for natural -- natural areas for future 

        14          generations. 

        15              It makes sense to retain and protect and 

        16          manage natural areas which are already 

        17          acquired, and to seek alternative sites for 

        18          nonconservation uses.

        19              We ask that this request be deferred until 

        20          the constitutional issues are thoroughly 

        21          addressed, until criteria for surplusing lands 

        22          is developed, and alternative sites for 

        23          cemetery needs in this part of the state are 

        24          pursued.

        25              I would like to just make one final 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          statement.  We need to recognize clearly that 

         2          approval of the transfer of this tract, whether 

         3          by surplus or other means, constitutes approval 

         4          of the conversion of one of our most at-risk 

         5          habitats to a different type of system 

         6          entirely.

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you. 

         8              MR. FULLER:  Governor and Cabinet, 

         9          Manley Fuller, Florida Wildlife Federation.  

        10          I'll be brief. 

        11              We share concerns that the previous 

        12          speakers have -- have expressed.  We were 

        13          hoping yesterday after some good meetings that 

        14          a less than fee conveyance of the property for 

        15          another type of open space use, a perpetual 

        16          lease to the Federal government for the 

        17          portions of the property that would be 

        18          developed as the cemetery site could -- could 

        19          avoid potentially setting that case of first 

        20          impression regarding our new constitutional 

        21          language.

        22              But that -- that's -- that's -- that's, 

        23          in essence -- I want to make that comment 

        24          regarding comments that Mr. Lee had made.

        25              The Florida Wildlife Federation recognizes 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          the need for expanded facilities for veterans 

         2          to be buried in Florida.  Our questions about 

         3          this were that we thought that there are other 

         4          al-- there might be other alternatives that 

         5          could be looked at. 

         6              Those alternatives have not been well 

         7          received.  We -- we would like to see 

         8          consideration given to a site such as the 

         9          2100 acre Federally owned property which lies 

        10          about 8 miles from the site, not as -- as to 

        11          perhaps a means of meeting future veteran needs 

        12          beyond 2030 in central Florida because our 

        13          population will continue to grow. 

        14              And there's -- there's a 2100 acre research 

        15          ranch, which is in pasture land now, but it's 

        16          owned by the Federal government approximately 

        17          8 miles from this existing cemetery. 

        18              So we've urged consideration for those 

        19          kinds of alternatives.

        20              But I want to make it very clear that we in 

        21          no way are saying that veterans don't have -- 

        22          that this isn't a societal need, and it should 

        23          be -- and it's a need that should be met.

        24              But -- but our alternatives have -- have 

        25          not been -- have not been considered viable.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              We would like to -- what they have 

         2          indicated is they would like to expand this 

         3          facility, subject to your conditions, and that 

         4          they would like to move aggressively into south 

         5          Florida, and to develop a facility there.

         6              In that -- in that situation, we -- we'd 

         7          like to get involved earlier in the process, 

         8          and we'd like to work with the 

         9          Veterans' Administration, whoever we need to.  

        10          And consideration of south Florida sites, we'd 

        11          urge the VA to consider locations such as 

        12          Homestead Air Force Base, or the A.G. Holley  

        13          Hospital site near Lantana.  There are others. 

        14              But we'd like to be involved in that 

        15          process so that we don't get into this sort of 

        16          situation regarding that issue.

        17              Beyond this issue, and that having to do 

        18          with the -- the cemetery, we do have general 

        19          concerns, because you will be receiving in the 

        20          future other proposals for other types of clear 

        21          public purposes that society needs to meet.  

        22          And you will receive proposals from local 

        23          governments and other people that these are 

        24          desirable and necessary things for society to 

        25          provide.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              But we really are concerned, and we know 

         2          you are -- would share this, too, that these -- 

         3          that our conservation lands not be regarded as 

         4          a land bank for these other necessary societal 

         5          objectives. 

         6              And that's part of our concern about this 

         7          issue.  The specifics of this issue have been 

         8          covered by the other speakers, and we share 

         9          those.  But there are other proposals that may 

        10          come to you.

        11              And so to address these concerns, we'd like 

        12          to make the following suggestion or request of 

        13          the Trustees:  We'd urge the Governor and the 

        14          Cabinet prior to surplusing of properties 

        15          managed for conservation, one, to carefully 

        16          review your rules in light of the new 

        17          constitutional amendment, and to establish 

        18          procedures for public input early in the 

        19          process. 

        20              We believe particularly that the no longer 

        21          needed for conservation purposes determination  

        22          required by the Constitution should be rigorous 

        23          and biologically based.

        24              So that concludes our remarks.

        25              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              MR. FULLER:  Thank you, sir.

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Secretary Struhs, would you 

         3          like to comment on that last suggestion? 

         4              MR. STRUHS:  Yes, sir.

         5              I -- I agree that given the new 

         6          constitutional amendment, that it's appropriate 

         7          for the Department to review its -- its rules 

         8          of engagement when it comes to surplusing, and 

         9          we've -- we've begun that process.  And I'd be 

        10          happy to provide a report to the Cabinet at a 

        11          later date.

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I think it'd be very 

        13          useful. 

        14              I just -- let's -- I'm not sure anybody's 

        15          going to show their hand. 

        16              But are we going to get sued? 

        17              Charles, is there a lawsuit in our future? 

        18              MR. LEE:  I -- Governor, I don't think from 

        19          us you're going to see that.  But I --

        20              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Putting you on the spot.  

        21          But --

        22              MR. LEE:  But my problem is, I don't 

        23          control the whole world.

        24              GOVERNOR BUSH:  I understand.

        25              MR. LEE:  Not from us, I don't think.

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  You come close to 

         2          controlling the whole world though.

         3              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  Just the 

         4          environmental world.

         5              MR. FULLER:  Governor, I'd like to respond 

         6          to your question.

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Yes.

         8              MR. FULLER:  My Board and my legal 

         9          committee has said they wanted to evaluate what 

        10          came out -- came out of the process, and -- and 

        11          were this -- were this a different type of 

        12          public purpose, I think our answer would be 

        13          yes. 

        14              We are -- our Board will carefully consider 

        15          and weigh these circumstances in making that 

        16          determination.

        17              GOVERNOR BUSH:  That's fair.  Thank you.

        18              Yes, General Butterworth.

        19              ATTORNEY GENERAL BUTTERWORTH:  I would just 

        20          say, Manley, this is not the case to go on.  

        21          And -- and I think everyone in this room knows 

        22          that.  And --

        23              MR. FULLER:  I'll convey your -- I'll 

        24          convey your best to our Board.

        25              MR. STRUHS:  If -- if I could, please, just 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          note we have six more speakers who would like 

         2          to speak on this issue, all in support, 

         3          including County Commissioner Karen Krauss from 

         4          Sumter County; and then five different 

         5          representatives from various veterans advocacy 

         6          organizations. 

         7              We're willing to recommend that they be 

         8          allocated probably somewhere in the 

         9          neighborhood of 2, certainly no more than 

        10          3 minutes a piece, if that's -- if that's --

        11              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Brevity is good.

        12              MR. STRUHS:  Thank you.

        13              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  When you're ahead.

        14              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Good afternoon. 

        15              MS. KRAUSS:  Good afternoon.  It's not 

        16          fair.  Last time right before I got up, they 

        17          gave me 3 minutes.

        18              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  On a 3-minute 

        19          program.

        20              MS. KRAUSS:  I am here today representing 

        21          the Sumter County Board of County 

        22          Commissioners.  They elected to send me here 

        23          today to let you know that we are in full 

        24          support of the expansion. 

        25              I also have a letter with me from 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          Representative Everett Kelly.  I talked with 

         2          Everett twice last evening.  He did have a 

         3          situation come up, and asked that I please give 

         4          his apologies.  But we do have a letter of 

         5          support from him on the cemetery expansion.

         6              A couple things that I would like to go 

         7          over, and probably from a little diff-- little 

         8          bit of a different angle. 

         9              I'm a resident of Sumter County, and I'm a 

        10          County Commissioner of Sumter County.  So I 

        11          didn't just go down there yesterday and look 

        12          around and pick up a few tidbits of 

        13          information.

        14              To start out with, as far as it being 

        15          something that would set a precedent, I don't 

        16          believe that this Cabinet and the Governor's 

        17          going to let that happen. 

        18              We have a good Board of County 

        19          Commissioners down there, we have a good 

        20          comprehensive plan.  We have no plans of coming 

        21          to you and asking you for any of these lands.  

        22          The State lands that are there are in our 

        23          county, and we're going to protect those. 

        24              But we do support this expansion because 

        25          the cemetery is already there, we're not 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1          putting something else out there.  We're 

         2          expanding and enhancing what we have.

         3              Item 2 would be that it is contiguous.  We 

         4          are to be good stewards of the money that we 

         5          collect from the people.  I do not believe that 

         6          we would be doing that if we put it in another 

         7          location.  It is going to cost a lot of money 

         8          to start over without that infrastructure.

         9              Item 3, speaking as a Commissioner, in 

        10          1995, '96, and '97, Sumter County flooded 

        11          drastically.  I was out there in my waders with 

        12          FEMA during the flooding, after the flooding, 

        13          assessing damage.  The property, the 180 acres 

        14          is the best piece of property for that 

        15          expansion.  Believe me. 

        16              You do not want to go south, you do not 

        17          want to go east, it floods.  I have been 

        18          through every nook and cranny.  The further 

        19          south you go, it's in my district, I know it.  

        20          It is not -- option B is not the best option.

        21              Fourth thing -- and I'll kind of wrap this 

        22          up -- is that as far as the animals out there, 

        23          people go out there at daybreak, they go out 

        24          there at dusk just to park and watch the deer, 

        25          the wild turkey, and all the other wildlife out 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          there. 

         2              If you approve this, and I hope you will, 

         3          not only will you be giving the veterans the 

         4          expansion that they need, but you will also be 

         5          giving those animals a preserve to live in 

         6          peace.  Right now they are hunted around the 

         7          boundary lines of the present cemetery.  You're 

         8          giving them another 180 acres of preserve.  

         9          It's the -- it's a win-win situation.

        10              So I would like to ask that you would 

        11          approve this today --

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, Commissioner.

        13              MS. KRAUSS:  -- our veterans deserve it, 

        14          and we've been through so much for it, and 

        15          please, personally, I would make a heartfelt 

        16          plea that you do this.

        17              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you for coming back 

        18          up.

        19              MR. STRUHS:  Gentlemen, you may all want to 

        20          come up at the same time:  Mr. Giese, 

        21          Mr. Linden, Mr. Manfrey, Mr. Price, and 

        22          Mr. Wheeler.

        23              (Secretary Harris exited the room.)

        24              MR. STRUHS:  And -- and please sign your 

        25          names. 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Good afternoon.

         2              MR. LINDEN:  Good afternoon, Governor and 

         3          Cabinet.  I will be very brief. 

         4              My name's Al Linden.  I'm the 

         5          Executive Director of this Disabled American 

         6          Veterans, the State of Florida for the past 

         7          12 years. 

         8              I'm also the moderator of the Joint 

         9          Veterans Planning Group, and I'm a combat 

        10          wounded veteran of Vietnam.  And I could have 

        11          gotten up here faster, but I lost my leg over 

        12          there, so I couldn't run quite as fast as I 

        13          used to.

        14              But --

        15              Moving right along, as I've said, my 

        16          relatives have told me that they would like the 

        17          rest of my body to reside in Florida when I 

        18          die, and in a Federal national cemetery.  So 

        19          I -- and that's the majority of my family in -- 

        20          are here in Florida, and -- and I'd like that 

        21          to occur.

        22              As you know, and we've gone through it, 

        23          don't need to repeat, we have 1.7 million 

        24          veterans.  And many of those veterans are 

        25          choosing Florida. 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              As I told LEMAC, that was because they made 

         2          it so well, so pristine, such a nice state that 

         3          all these people from the north, when us 

         4          veterans retire --

         5              (Treasurer Nelson exited the room.) 

         6              MR. LINDEN:  -- we come down here, and this 

         7          is where we want to finish out our -- our last 

         8          years, and we also want to be buried here.  We 

         9          even drug some of our family down here now, and 

        10          they want us to be buried down here so they can 

        11          visit us.

        12              So I think these are important factors. 

        13              I -- I listened to Robin's definition of 

        14          conservation.  And I think that the ultimate in 

        15          conservation would be a Federal -- the 

        16          expansion of this Federal cemetery there. 

        17              I myself have unfortunately had to go there 

        18          to bury some of my fellow comrades, and I've 

        19          seen wildlife.  I've almost hit a deer.  So I 

        20          know that wildlife exists there on it.  So I 

        21          can't see why we're -- this would affect the 

        22          wildlife in Florida.  But I'm not an 

        23          environmentalist, per se.

        24              Finally, the many benefits that the State 

        25          has offered has caused all of these people, 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          including the younger family members to come 

         2          here.

         3              And this is where they're going to choose 

         4          to be their final resting place.

         5              And we have the oldest and most severely 

         6          disabled --

         7              (Secretary Harris entered the room.)

         8              MR. LINDEN:  -- population in the country.  

         9          I believe that you couldn't find a better 

        10          purpose of conservation than expanding the 

        11          national cemetery into this property.  It seems 

        12          to be financially sound. 

        13              And as many of the previous people said, we 

        14          would never get another Federal cemetery in 

        15          central Florida if we were not -- didn't expand 

        16          this.  So we would -- those of us in central 

        17          Florida could forget about being buried at 

        18          Bushnell when the time came.

        19              So I would just urge your passage of your 

        20          proposal, and your favorable consideration, and 

        21          thank you.

        22              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, sir.

        23              Good afternoon.

        24              MR. GIESE:  Good morning, Mr. -- or is it 

        25          afternoon already? 

                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1              Good afternoon, Mr. Governor, Cabinet. 

         2              It's a pleasure to be here.  And on behalf 

         3          of the 70,000 members of the Disabled American 

         4          Veterans, I rise in support of the expansion of 

         5          this cemetery as we are proposing.

         6              As a 35-year veteran of the Army -- and I 

         7          know, Mr. Milligan, we were -- you were a 

         8          Marine -- but I cannot -- I cannot emphasize 

         9          enough the importance of this expansion to the 

        10          present cemetery.

        11              To delay any further the decision to expand 

        12          this cemetery would be an injustice to the 

        13          brave men and women who so unselfishly defended 

        14          the cause of freedom.  We were there when you 

        15          needed us, and now we need you, and your vote 

        16          today to make this project a reality.

        17              When you speak of conservation, only one 

        18          needs to look at the present cemetery.  And it 

        19          becomes very evident what the cemetery has done 

        20          for the ecosystems in that area.

        21              To see the deer wander through the forests 

        22          and hear the turkeys cackle at night is -- is 

        23          just a beautiful sight. 

        24              And you speak about endangered species.  

        25          I'll tell you who the next endangered specie is 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          in America, and it's your veterans of this 

         2          country.  They're the next endangered specie.  

         3          So let's not let that happen. 

         4              We have a chance here right now to have a 

         5          rightful burial spot in Florida.  I'm one of 

         6          those that came to Florida ten years ago, and 

         7          now decided to be buried here at the Bushnell 

         8          cemetery. 

         9              Please allow me the place to be buried at 

        10          Bushnell.

        11              So I strongly urge you to adopt this 

        12          proposal, and deed this land over to the 

        13          Veterans' Administration.

        14              Thank you for your time.

        15              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, sir.

        16              MR. PRICE:  Governor, and members of the 

        17          Cabinet, I'm Charlie Price.  I represent the 

        18          Vietnam Veterans of America.

        19              I'm not going to give you a flag waver 

        20          today.  I just want to say a couple of things. 

        21              The 1.7 million veterans of the state of 

        22          Florida is a very large group of people.  We 

        23          are in the tax base system.  We have supported 

        24          the taxes to buy this public land.  We feel the 

        25          veterans, as a group, has equal or superior 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          interest in that land.  And I would say I think 

         2          the veterans have a few lawyers, too. 

         3              And we would say -- we would say that two 

         4          legal considerations would be met today to meet 

         5          the statutory means of the Constitution.  If 

         6          what you do is fair, and the use of that land 

         7          is economically efficient, you have met the 

         8          standards.  We believe you will.

         9              And thank you very much. 

        10              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, Colonel.

        11              MR. MANFREY:  Governor Bush, and Cabinet 

        12          members, my name is Eugene R. Manfrey.  I'm the 

        13          Legislative Chairman for the Veterans of 

        14          Foreign Wars on a state and national level.

        15              I represent 85,000 members, an additional 

        16          47,000 members of the ladies auxiliary. 

        17              As a veterans organization, we are 

        18          concerned about the expansion of the Bushnell 

        19          National Cemetery for two reasons:  One, 

        20          Bushnell cemetery is the only cemetery that we 

        21          have that has case -- casket burials.  

        22          Barrancas, Bay Pines, St. Augustine are the 

        23          only cemeteries that take crematory burials at 

        24          this time.

        25              It is a fact that by 2010, Bushnell 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          cemetery will be full, which leads us to the 

         2          necessity to act now, not ten years from now.

         3              With the influx of families moving to 

         4          Florida, brings it -- the veterans also with 

         5          the State that we invited -- that we invited 

         6          these people --

         7              (Treasurer Nelson entered the room.) 

         8              MR. MANFREY:  -- to our state. 

         9              As our vet-- as our veteran population 

        10          dying faster than we can keep up with it, I am 

        11          a veteran of World War II, and a Korean 

        12          veteran.  My age is sixty-nine, and I'm getting 

        13          older.

        14              Plus the fact that the burial and cemetery 

        15          lots in the private sector has gotten so out 

        16          of -- far out of reach monetary, that they 

        17          are -- many of our veterans are depending on 

        18          the National Cemetery.

        19              It is a known fact, there would be a 

        20          minimum of eight to ten years before the first 

        21          burial would be put in by 2010. 

        22              I was recently in Washington, D.C., 

        23          lobbying for the veterans benefits.  I got to 

        24          see Bill Young, the Appropriations Chairman; 

        25          Mike Bilirakis, member of the veterans 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          committee; Jim Davis, who's a member of the 

         2          committee; and a good friend of mine from 

         3          Pennsylvania, George Gekas. 

         4              And, Governor, I like that attitude that 

         5          you said if you'll lobby for us.  I'm lobbying 

         6          today, too.

         7              GOVERNOR BUSH:  It sounds like it.

         8              MR. MANFREY:  Our mission is to talk to the 

         9          Legislature about the underfunding of the VA 

        10          budget.  And also about the national 

        11          cemeteries, especially the Bushnell cemeteries 

        12          which I reported to them.

        13              I'm happy to report that House 

        14          Resolution 2684, the VA HUD bill, has been 

        15          passed by the House, and signed by the 

        16          President, which funds future national 

        17          cemeteries.

        18              So that all remains, Governor, is that the 

        19          Governor -- the Cabinet gives its approval.

        20              Being a World War II veteran, a Korean 

        21          veteran, I am the spokesman for those people 

        22          who couldn't be here.  I speak for all the 

        23          mothers, the dads, the brothers, the sisters, 

        24          and the -- of those deceased veterans. 

        25              And for those of the POW and MIA who may be 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1          sent here and want to be buried in -- or would 

         2          rightfully be buried in the national cemetery.

         3              I would not like to be the person who would 

         4          have to tell a family of a veteran who wanted 

         5          to be buried in the national cemetery, sorry, 

         6          we have no space available because the 

         7          Legislature did not approve the expansion of 

         8          our cemetery.

         9              I urge that the -- the committee approve 

        10          the expansion of the national cemetery.

        11              I thank you very much.

        12              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, sir.

        13              Good afternoon. 

        14              MR. WHEELER:  Good afternoon, Governor. 

        15              Governor Bush, and members of the Cabinet.  

        16          Being a W, Wheeler, I always end up last place.  

        17          But this gave me an opportunity to scratch two 

        18          pages -- four pages down to about two 

        19          paragraphs.

        20              So I'll be very short.

        21              I represent officially today the Florida 

        22          Commission on Veteran Affairs.  Unanimously, 

        23          the members of that Commission early on said 

        24          this is the place to go.  This is the way they 

        25          wanted it done. 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              I'm one of the newer members so -- Florida 

         2          as well as that Commission.  But I have two 

         3          brothers, and we represent 94 years of military 

         4          service.  I think that qualifies me both ways 

         5          to say, this cemetery is essential. 

         6              We're some of the ones also that came down 

         7          late.

         8              I would say only one more thing.  They have 

         9          said several times, don't let emotions enter 

        10          your decision.

        11              To me, and to most of the military, emotion 

        12          and cemeteries is a -- synonymous.  We visit 

        13          lots of them, we help families, we put our own 

        14          away.  And I can't think of anything else that 

        15          should be more emotional than a decision on a 

        16          military cemetery.

        17              Thank you very much.

        18              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Thank you, sir.

        19              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  Governor, I'd 

        20          like -- like to move the staff recommendation, 

        21          if that's all the speakers.

        22              COMPTROLLER MILLIGAN:  Second.

        23              GOVERNOR BUSH:  There's a motion and a 

        24          second.

        25              Are there any other speakers, David? 

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                                 October 26, 1999
         1              MR. STRUHS:  No.  We're finished with --

         2              GOVERNOR BUSH:  Any discussion?

         3              MR. STRUHS:  -- all the speakers.

         4              I -- I just would note --

         5              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  With -- with the 

         6          change adding that --

         7              MR. STRUHS:  Thank you.

         8              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- that provision 

         9          at the end. 

        10              MR. STRUHS:  Thank you --

        11              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  I'd like to --

        12              MR. STRUHS:  -- Commissioner.

        13              COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER:  -- add that.

        14              COMMISSIONER CRAWFORD:  That's all right.

        15              GOVERNOR BUSH:  There's a motion and a 

        16          second.

        17              Without objection, it's approved.

        18              Thank you all very much for coming. 

        19              (The Board of Trustees of the Internal 

        20          Improvement Trust Fund Agenda was concluded.)

        21                                 *

        22              (The Cabinet meeting was concluded at 

        23          12:18 p.m.)



                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.

                                 October 26, 1999
         1                    CERTIFICATE OF REPORTER




         5     STATE OF FLORIDA:

         6     COUNTY OF LEON:

         7              I, LAURIE L. GILBERT, do hereby certify that 

         8     the foregoing proceedings were taken before me at the 

         9     time and place therein designated; that my shorthand 

        10     notes were thereafter translated; and the foregoing 

        11     pages numbered 1 through 184 are a true and correct 

        12     record of the aforesaid proceedings.

        13              I FURTHER CERTIFY that I am not a relative, 

        14     employee, attorney or counsel of any of the parties, 

        15     nor relative or employee of such attorney or counsel, 

        16     or financially interested in the foregoing action.

        17              DATED THIS 5TH day of NOVEMBER, 1999. 


        20                   LAURIE L. GILBERT, RPR, CCR, CRR, RMR
                             100 Salem Court
        21                   Tallahassee, Florida 32301




                        ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS, INC.