Florida taps Republican politician to head its schools

Published 12-17-2018

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida's combative former House speaker is going to become the state's education commissioner.

The State Board of Education voted unanimously on Monday to select Richard Corcoran for the job. The board took the step after Governor-elect Ron DeSantis recommended the long-time Republican politician for the position. Corcoran just wrapped up a two-year term as House speaker.

Corcoran, who is an attorney, will succeed Commissioner Pam Stewart in January. Stewart had planned to remain on the job for several more months, but changed her plans once DeSantis backed Corcoran.

While in the Florida Legislature Corcoran championed charter schools and an expansion of private-school vouchers and sharply criticized the union that represents the state's teachers.

State officials have not yet negotiated a salary for Corcoran. Stewart is paid $276,000 a year.

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