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Press Release

Friday, July 23, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Statement by Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith Regarding second request for liquidated damages for FCAT delays

“Today, the Department issued a second letter to NCS Pearson demanding a payment of $11,720,000 for liquidated damages associated with their delays in the delivery of this year’s FCAT results. This request is for the late delivery of mathematics and reading FCAT results for grades 4-10 and science results for grades 5, 8 and 11, and is in addition to my previous request for $3,025,000 which the company has paid in full. I have advised Pearson that this new request is to be received by the Department no later than Aug. 6, 2010.

“Pearson’s usage of unproven technology systems this year has caused great turmoil for our parents, teachers, administrators and other education stakeholders and I remain committed to holding the company fully accountable for these disruptions. Representatives of Pearson’s executive leadership will again be back before me later this month, and before members of our State Board of Education in September to answer to the issues that led to the delays and address how they expect to maintain the obligations of their contract moving forward. Currently, school districts are still in the process of recording any additional costs they have incurred due to the late results. If the total amount of those expenses exceeds the amount available through liquidated damages I will immediately demand the necessary additional funds to ensure our districts are fully covered.

“I have firmly impressed upon Pearson that failure to meet their contractual obligations is not an option, and I will continue to expend all effort and authority available to me to ensure future test administrations are free of the issues we have experienced this year.”