No Penny Pile at Education Rally

Coin mountain canceled to protect legislators' cars

The steps of the state capitol have been spared the crushing weight of some 2.6 million pennies that were to have been dumped upon them as part of a rally by teachers, parents and educators.

The pennies, one to represent each student in the state, weighed in at roughly 15,000 pounds, a load authorities didn't want to risk atop the steps. They feared the steps would cave in and crush an underground garage, destroying cars used by state officials and their lackeys.

"We didn't want to chance it," Cathy Schroeder, spokeswoman for the Department of Management Services, told the St. Petersburg Times. Schroeder fields requests for rallies and demonstrations at the Capitol.

But the pennies are coming, nonetheless.

Chris Higgins, secretary for the Brevard County Federation of Teachers, got her brother Chuck McNaughton to haul more than 300,000 of the near-worthless coins.

"We're putting a lot of pennies back into circulation that have been in bottles and cans and things in garages for a long time," said Higgins, who began herding pennies around 7 a.m. Monday.

The Florida Education Association spearheaded the penny drive to show support for a state Rep. Dwight Bullard's proposal calling for a three-year, 1-cent raise in sales tax to fun education.

"We had not even considered that there would be a problem" dumping seven and a half tons of zinc on the steps of a building, said FEA spokesman Mark Pudlow.

Seriously, what could have gone wrong?

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