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PRESS RELEASE

September 14, 2005

Jennifer Fennell or
Cheryl Etters (850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner John Winn Announces Waived Fee for Certification of Displaced Teachers
K-12 teachers evacuated due to Hurricane Katrina not required to pay $56 application fee for certification in Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced the Florida Department of Education will waive the standard $56 application certification fee for Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama teachers displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Impacted teachers can continue their careers through a simplified transition process once their certifications are verified in their home state.

"Gulf coast teachers who have lost or left their homes due to Katrina's devastation are being forced to make important decisions on how to continue with their lives," said Commissioner Winn. "Here in Florida, we have a critical need for qualified teachers and that need increases each day as our state population grows and schools struggle to meet class size requirements. We welcome these evacuated teachers and students alike with open arms and waiving the certification fee is one small effort to make this transition as smooth as possible."

In addition, existing reciprocity agreements with other states allow teachers to easily transfer to positions in the Sunshine State without the requirement of additional documentation. Displaced educators coming to Florida will be put in direct contact with district leaders who will work through the Department of Education to verify their certification with Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama and perform required background checks. Once the certification is verified and background checks clear, teachers will be matched up with vacancies in their area of expertise in order to maintain quality education in Florida schools.

Additional information, including district contacts and vacancies, is available at http://www.teachinflorida.com/Displaced/Default.asp or by calling the Florida Cares hotline at 1-877-FLCARE1.