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Superintendent Tony Bennett says he won't apply in Florida

INDIANAPLIS – Indiana schools chief Tony Bennett has opted against applying for the same position in Florida after having serious discussions with the search firm looking to replace the departing commissioner of education.

Rumors had recently popped up in several Florida newspapers that Florida Gov. Rick Scott had targeted Bennett to take over for Eric Smith, whose last day is Friday.

"I believe I gave my word that I ran for this job to see the end of my term and I intend to do that," Bennett said.

"I think the other thing is we've pushed for some pretty strong reforms and we're in the middle of implementation. We're in the middle of for the first time in this state's history intervening in underperforming schools and … I just don't think it's right that I would leave while those things are hanging in the balance."

Bennett has been Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction since January 2009.

He said he was honored by the interest because Florida is historically considered the center of education reform.

"I think it was very nice to know that people noticed what we got accomplished here," Bennett said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. My attitude is I signed up to do the work."

nkelly@jg.net

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