Gov. Mark Warner says his next budget will include full funding for the state Standards of Quality for public schools.

Warner said at a news conference in Richmond that the $525 million needed to meet the state's own minimum requirements for kindergarten through high school will be met, though not necessarily through increased taxes.

He also said he will "begin the process" of funding millions more in revised standards proposed by the state school board.

The governor's announcement this morning at Virginia Commonwealth University was the first of three today and several more this week as he outlines the education reform package he will present to the legislature in January. Warner provided few details and mostly stuck to broad themes at his Richmond appearance.

Features of the program include a mentoring program for new teachers, improved use of technology in the classroom and sending auditors and management specialists into public school districts to help them improve their efficiency and save money.

The program would also send "turnaround specialists" into troubled schools to improve the performance of students and teachers.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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