Putting Education Reform To The Test

Why Gov. Scott Wants to Add $1 Billion for Florida Schools

Joe Raedle / Getty News Images

Gov. Rick Scott listens at a Miami business roundtable meeting in August.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants to add $1 billion for Florida education, according to the News Service of Florida, despite an expected $2 billion budget shortfall.

Scott will release his budget today, but News Service of Florida said he gave school leaders a preview Tuesday:

In a conference call with state school superintendents Tuesday, Scott, who will be proposing his second budget since getting elected in 2010, said he plans to call for lawmakers to increase per-pupil spending from $6,262 to $6,372, even after factoring in expected growth of about 30,000 more students over the current school year.

A spokesman for the governor said late Tuesday that officials in the governor’s office believe it would be one of the largest increases in K-12 spending in recent history if lawmakers were to go along…

His spokesman, Lane Wright, declined to say Tuesday where the governor will propose to cut spending to be able to afford the proposed boost in education spending a cut that will need to be even larger because of revenue projections that are off by nearly $2 billion over what legislators earmarked this year.

Scott has drawn the ire of teachers’ unions and some school board leadership since taking office last year. For instance, Scott vetoed capital funding for district schools last year while not doing the same for charter schools.

The infusion could aid school districts who have seen their state funding decline by 18.1 percent since the Great Recession began in 2008, the sixth-highest cut in the country. Florida spends $705 less per student than it did in 2008.

Several years of federal stimulus money will also have run out by July.

Districts were preparing for the worst when the Legislature returns in January.

What do you think of the governor’s proposal? Is it enough money, or too much? Do you think the Legislature will go along?


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