Florida picks interim schools chief after resignation

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida's State Board of Education has picked a top state education official to fill in as education commissioner.

The board selected Pam Stewart as interim commissioner during an emergency hearing on Friday, a day after the abrupt resignation of Education Commissioner Tony Bennett.

Stewart currently serves as the chancellor of public schools. But she was interim commissioner last year before the board appointed Bennett as education commissioner. Bennett had been the top schools official in Indiana but he was defeated when he ran for re-election.

Bennett resigned Thursday amid allegations that he changed the grade of a charter school run by a major Republican donor during his previous job.

Bennett maintained he had done nothing wrong.

Board members said they were dismayed by his resignation.

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