The Florida Department of Education is asking for a boost in funding for the 2013-2014 budget.
The request amounts to an additional $668.6 million.
Amy Hammock, education budget chief, said the state’s current education budget totals $20.3 billion, taking up 29 percent of the total state budget.
That’s second only to spending on health and human services.
Elements of the 2013-2014 education budget request include:
- Address enrollment growth forecasts – Enrollment is expected to rise only slightly in the coming decade as more students pursue alternative learning options, like charter schools.
- Honor matching donations – The donations of private contributors to eligible programs in public schools and colleges must be matched.
- Tie new funding to performance-based outcomes
- Add funding for an education technology initiative in public schools – $441.8 million is requested for the transition to digital learning.
FDOE Chief of Staff John Newman said spending on digital programs is the most significant because the technology enhancements are “necessary to support the conversion to digital instructional materials, which is required in Florida statutes.”
Textbooks will be phased out in favor of iPads and other electronic devices.
Newman said the education budget request does not contain increases in tuition or millage rates.
The requested funds would also be used for the transition to computer based testing and implementation of PARCC assessments.
PARCC stands for Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. It’s being used to craft a K-12 assessment system that follows Common Core State Standards in English, language arts and mathematics.
PARCC assessments are scheduled to begin in 2014-15 and will replace the FCAT.