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Scott Cutting $3 Billion Out of Education as Per-Pupil Spending Would Drop $300

| February 8, 2011

The funding cliff is here.

Kathleen Haughney
News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE–Florida’s public schools and universities will take a more than $3 billion hit under the budget proposed Monday by Gov. Rick Scott, with public elementary through high school spending dropping by nearly $300 per student. The hit would be the equivalent of a $3.9 million loss for Flagler County schools, or the pay and benefits of 78 teachers.

Scott said, essentially, that’s not really his fault. He isn’t cutting state money to public schools, he simply is choosing not to replace federal stimulus money that is no longer available.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist and lawmakers used stimulus dollars to prop up the state’s budgets the past two years, and now that money is gone. Trying to find a new one-time source of cash to replace it doesn’t make sense, the governor said, likening that to a Lottery winner spending all his winnings on the assumption that he’d win again next year.

“We’re not going to take federal money and believe it’s going to be there forever,” Scott said.

Budget officials in the governor’s office said the loss of federal stimulus money accounted for some of the cuts to education, but didn’t provide details on how the governor planned to achieve all of them.

Scott said repeatedly on the campaign trail that he wanted Florida students to receive a “first class education,” advocating for the state to better invest in its education system, provide school choice and create a merit pay system for teachers. Lawmakers are already working on a merit pay system, but have been slower to take up a voucher expansion.

news service of florida

Under Scott’s proposed spending plan, per pupil spending in K-12 would drop by $298 to $6,600 per student.

The House Prek-12 budget subcommittee chair, Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, has said she hopes to protect the per pupil spending level at the current year amount.

Scott’s overall budget – just shy of $66 billion – gained kudos from business groups around the state, who praised him for a budget that didn’t raise taxes and focused on job creation.

“Cuts to education and health care will inevitably raise concerns among some, but in the midst of a recession, government must cut expenses because raising taxes is a death knell for job creation,” said Associated Industries of Florida President Barney Bishop.

Getting school spending to the $6,600 per student level would still rely in part on Washington, having local school boards reserve dollars from a federal education jobs fund from this year.

Education advocates argued that a $300 per student cut still will result in layoffs and make things worse for the public school system, not better., an Orlando grassroots education advocacy organization that says it was created by parents of public school children, called the proposed cuts “catastrophic.”

“Florida’s children are the key to our long term economic stability. High-quality public education is a job creator not a funding burden,” said group co-founder Linda Kobert. “Gov. Scott must embrace his paramount duty to invest in the real future of this state – the students.”

The governor’s office released details of the budget on a Website that got so many hits Monday afternoon that it crashed. That made it hard for some advocates to evaluate the proposal. Officials at the Board of Governors said they couldn’t comment on proposed cuts to higher education, because they hadn’t been able to read the budget recommendation.

The Board of Governors could face a substantial reduction if stimulus dollars from last year are not replaced. Twenty out of 53 positions were paid for by stimulus money.

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22 Responses for “Scott Cutting $3 Billion Out of Education as Per-Pupil Spending Would Drop $300”

  1. Jim Guines says:

    Public education as we know it today will not be able to come through an assault of this size.

  2. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Why not stop the scaremongering propaganda?

    It’s hardly a secret to those who care to do a little research that per pupil costs have nothing to do with kids getting educated. In fact, there’s quite a lot of evidence that private/religious schools and home schooling have far greater success than the public schools with their money wasting social engineering and cultural diversity programs that take their eye off the target of basic education — not to mention baby sitting and providing three meals a day even during school vacations.

    Scott should be cutting costs to the bone no matter where the funding comes from since the ultimate target of the funding is the long suffering taxpayer.

  3. Jenn Kuiper says:

    You’re exactly right Dr. Guines. We are looking at the end of public education as we know it. Those who want their kids to have access to an education are going to have to pay for private school. And most private schools cost above and beyond any voucher the Gov. would give so you know what that means for the poor and lower middle class–little to no education–exactly what the big corporations and billionaires want. An uneducated lower class that they can rule over for as long as we let them.

  4. DLF says:

    I did not understand the headlines ” Scott Cutting 3 billion out of education” and the article said the money in most cases is not available from the Federal Government, explain a one sided headline again by the liberal press. The amount of $300 per student seems a little steep but maybe a grass root group can do some fundraising events to make up the part that some parents cannot, I would be willing to make it up for two students, about the rest of you?

  5. DLF says:

    Since many of us are quick to blame Scott for the tax cuts he is about to make I felt it was my duty to bring to light what other Governors are doing. J. Kitzhaber, Oregon, Democratic is making two year cut to mental health and Medicaid, 15-25%. Iowa T. Branstad has cut corporate tax to 6%, a reduction of 50%, he feels this will bring more business to his state. the casinos in his state pay 36% tax rate, maybe we need more casinos in Florida. If we do that all the liberal will tell us how casinos increase the crime rate. None of the states will get any of the 150 billion dollars from the federal government, which they have been receiving for the last two year, who has been running the Federal Government for the last two years, it was not Scott. Illinois is solving their budget problems with a 67% increase in individual income tax rate and 45% corporate increase, how many of us living in Florida would be for that.. Iowa is cutting preschool education from 71 million to 43 million and having parent pay for preschool education, what a great plan that is. Last but not least is Texas is going to cut massage therapy and court reporting programs. In addition they will stop special counseling classes to African- American and single mothers, this is all being done to reduce the cost they can no longer afford. The bottom line we have all been living over our head and now is the time to pay or cut the costs of running a government that cannot do anything in an efficient manner,pay up or shut up.

  6. Rob says:

    The proposed state budget cuts will certainly have secondary effects on local employment and incomes. (economy) Careful consideration should be given by the local electorate before embarking on any spending forays.

  7. DLF says:

    Rob:good point, lets not say it is good or bad, but what will the end long term results be.

  8. Liana G says:

    Gov. Rick Scott shoud reduce the prison population by reducing the number of arrest made and time serve for petty crimes. Housing a prisioner costs a state between $18,000 – $31,000. Many inmates do receive some sort of education / job skill training to prepare them for when they get out. So why put them there in the first place when all we need to do is invest in them at the onset and prevent this path.

    We need to organize and push back against these prision lobbyists that favor the school to prision pipelineby by influincing and pushing for laws which ensure this happens.

  9. DLF says:

    Liana good luck with that one in Florida, if you cross the law in Florida you go to jail, sorry but that is Florida

  10. Liana G says:

    Sorry DLF if you cross the law in Florida you run for governor, get elected, become above the law, and get to make your own laws. And that pretty much goes for other states too!

    Change doesn’t come from doing nothing – This from my 12 year old justifying her reasons for complaining.

  11. Joe says:

    Why not stop the scaremongering propaganda? Its not propaganda my friend, its reality!

  12. well... says:

    I say the public reaps what they sow because is any of this a surprise? The United States cannot compete with other nations when our main concerns are the three “Gs”, god, gays and guns, with a little bit of “A” and “C” (abortion and creationism) thrown in on the side and you have the makings of a beautiful downward spiral. I would not be willing to donate any extra money to the schools in this state because I already pay taxes that go toward the school and take part in already existing fundraisers why should I pay more. It is not my responsibility to put forward extra funds to take care of community members, even if they are children. Sadly this is exactly what I expected from Scott and other elected officials around the country as they attack education, unions, the elderly and women’s rights, ignoring the issues that are important for our country’s future success. I think it is interesting that no one blinks at the money that was spent for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10 years (right now it is approximately 8 billion a month). However, we are content with slashing funds that help our own citizens? It is going to be a wild ride on a ship that has been sinking for a while now that will end in the United States falling apart as all previously great empires did in the past.

  13. palm coaster says:

    I could anyone be so surprised of the new cuts in jobs and education and parks to be closed proposed by Rick Scott ? He already targeted our Medicare a while ago and….got away with it.

  14. some guy says:

    So we used the so called stimulus $ on our government schools. I thought it was to help our economy get going. Why blame Scott on not having this “free” $ to spend

  15. Jack says:

    Twelve years of Republican control of the Legislature and Governor’s mansion have left us with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, despite having one of the lowest tax rates for big business. Does anyone see what’s wrong with that or do I need to explain in ‘American English’ for our Republiturd friends?

  16. Kyle Russell says:

    some guy,

    The money allowed the schools to not lay off employees. This prevented job losses. Which, you know, keeps the economy going.

  17. DLF says:

    Jack:wake up who has been in office for the last two years, has anything changed or gotten better, I don’t think so .Oh I forgot Obama has only been in office for two years, hate to see what it will be like in four years, don’t forget who was in the majority of the house and senate when Bush was in office for the last two years of his term, the good old spend spend and spend some more Democrats

  18. J.T. Quigley says:

    But he is against Abortion. Right? Shame that that’s all it takes to get these right-wing butt-nips elected. Maybe less education would decrease the abortion rate? Maybe conservative should support abortion. Less kids to educate, lighter on the good ole’ conservative pocket book.

  19. Jack says:

    DLF: Beating a dead horse again! That myth has been debunked. Conservatives like you love to rehash old and tired talking points.

  20. DLF says:

    Jack:what in that dead horse was not true, or it you liberals do not want to confuse the issues with the facts.

  21. Jack says:

    DLF: Virginia Foxx and many of your ilk have spread the same lies about the Democratic control of congress and the recession and who caused it, here’s a debunking for you.

  22. Jack Cowardin says:

    So what happens to the ‘quality’ of the education our children, now, and in the future, receive? In the next quarter, another social program will lose funds, be it law enforcement, road maintenance, or keeping our community attractive to fill the empty houses blighting our neighborhoods. Why does a state that has no personal income tax have trouble attracting more citizens? Seems the PR staff in Tallahassee needs to get cooking and start promoting Florida effectively. What better time than after the dreadful winter up north?
    Until administrators at all levels, and in all corners including schools, start touting our state, and what we offer from primary to higher education, so as to present our life style here favorably and far more comfortable than living elsewhere, we are going to see our quality of life suffer. It’s what brought us here in the first place, unless your ancestors were ‘bonafide natives.’

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