The Florida Department of Education wants to spend an additional $126.77 per student and $40 million on school technology, according to the agency’s preliminary budget request.
The draft budget is one item on a busy State Board of Education agenda tomorrow. The board will also discuss what’s next in hiring a new education commissioner and a new rule for determining residency for in-state tuition.
In total, the agency’s $15.1 billion request for the budget year beginning July 1 is $65.3 million less than the current spending plan.
The plan calls for every school district to receive at least $75,000 for technology projects (pg. 139), with the remainder of the $40 million distributed according to student enrollment. The first priority for the money is improving computer networks, but districts which meet state benchmarks could use the money for devices.
Lawmakers have said funding technology will be a priority this year as Florida decides how to (mostly) replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test with a new online exam tied to Common Core State Standards.
The budget request also includes an additional $18 million to cover the cost of dual enrollment courses (pg. 239). Those are classes where high school students can take courses from local colleges and earn credit toward a degree.
The agency has also included $15 million in performance-based funding to reward colleges (pg. 243) which meet state expectations for average cost per graduate, the percentage of employed graduates and the average pay of graduates.
Another new program would create math camps for students entering high school who have not enrolled or completed Algebra 1 at a cost of $8.9 million (pg. 139).
The budget would also continue the recent trend of cutting funding for the Bright Futures scholarship program (pg. 109). Since the 2010-2011 budget year, funding has decreased to $309.4 million from $425.3 million.
Lawmakers recently raised the ACT and SAT scores needed to earn a scholarship, and a result fewer students are eligible. The spending plan would cut Bright Futures by $37 million — 12.3 percent — and nearly 18,700 students.
The average award next year would be $2,033.42.