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News and notes

By TIMES WIRES
Published August 26, 2006


PSTA faces higher gas prices, too

Rising fuel prices may have encouraged more people to take the bus - it also prompted the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to raise rates. Effective Oct. 1, the basic fare will increase from $1.25 to $1.50. Student fares will jump from 75 cents to $1. Special fares for unlimited monthly and daily rides also will go up. Board members approved the higher rates Wednesday, the first spike since 2001. The passport fare, which allows passengers to ride on buses and trolleys in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, remains $85. Ridership is up more than 9 percent since October.

Another reason to score well on that FCAT

State education leaders announced Friday that Florida public schools will get $157.5-million as a reward for student scores on last year's FCAT. Schools that got an A or improved at least one grade from the previous year get will $100 per student. Here is the breakdown in the Tampa Bay area: Citrus, $1-million; Hernando, $1.1-million; Hillsborough, $10.8-million; Pasco, $3.4-million; and Pinellas, $5.7-million. The state has awarded more than $852.7-million since 1999.