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Budget Deal Will Increase Per-Student Funding By $100 and Reset Visit Florida at $76 Million; Special Session Next Week

| June 2, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott gets his way after all. (c FlaglerLive)

Gov. Rick Scott gets his way after all. (c FlaglerLive)

Florida lawmakers will hold a special session next week after Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced Friday they have reached the outline of a budget deal. The three-day session is scheduled to start Wednesday.

Lawmakers passed an $82.4 billion budget on May 8, but Scott was angered by issues such as a lack of money for economic-development programs and a lack of money for public schools.

The deal is expected to boost funding for public schools by $200 million, increasing per-student funding from about $24 to $100. The deal also calls for $76 million for the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida than the $25 million legislators had originally approved. The $76 million will maintain current funding.

And the deal will provide $85 million for what is being called the “Florida Job Growth Fund.”

“All of that,” the Miami Herald reports, “would be funded by more than $300 million in vetoes of member projects tucked into the state budget passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate in early May.” That could potentially be bad news for Flagler County, which is in line for millions of dollars in special appropriations, whether for dunes repairs or an additional county judge.

The actual amount in vetoes totals $410 million, according to the governor’s office, though some of that includes his veto of the lesser funding for Visit Florida, and the portion of the budget that includes education funding, as that will be revised.

“Lawmakers,” the Herald also reports, “also broadly anticipate Scott will sign a charter-school-friendly $419 million schools bill that was a Corcoran priority. Corcoran noted that it is not part of the agreement reached with Scott and Senate President Joe Negron, but said he expects the governor to sign it.”

Scott, his office said, is proposing to establish the new $85 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to promote public infrastructure and individual job training which will encourage more businesses to choose Florida as a destination to grow jobs. The program would be a face-saving way to essentially keep Enterprise Florida’s mission going, under a different guise. The Legislature had zeroed out Enterprise Florida’s funding.

“Florida’s students deserve the very best and we must always do everything possible to provide them with the resources they need to get a great education,” Scott is quoted as saying in a release, addressing education funding. “It is my goal that a total of $215 million more is allocated to the FEFP which is a $100 per student increase over current year funding during the upcoming legislative session. Our students are the future of our great state and I know Speaker Corcoran is committed to our students, parents and teachers and ensuring Florida offers a world-class education to students at all levels.”

He added: “Like the Legislature, I strongly believe in transparency, accountability and a strong return on investment for any taxpayer dollars used. There needs to be legislation that allows us to market our state for tourism and grow jobs while maintaining these important principals. I look forward to working with the legislature during the upcoming special session to achieve these important goals for Florida families.”

“I am proud to stand with Governor Scott as we fight for continued strong job creation,” Corcoran said, “giving every child a competitive and world class education, ensuring Florida competes as a tourist destination, and faithfully stewarding taxpayer dollars — goals that unify us. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund will create both public infrastructure and job training and put taxpayers in the driver’s seat.”

3 Responses for “Budget Deal Will Increase Per-Student Funding By $100 and Reset Visit Florida at $76 Million; Special Session Next Week”

  1. Linda Johnsen says:

    Is it possible that I am missing the part of the budget
    that supports the Colleges and Universities? While I
    agree with the need for more monies towards K-12
    education, I wonder if the Higher Education Students
    who comprise a Huge portion of the Schools in Florida
    will be left behind…

    If I am misreading this article, let me know. My research so far
    is showing that it is entirely possible that Higher Education will
    lose to the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund which is just another
    name for Visit Florida, and other titles used and hidden in the agenda.

    The funding of private charter schools may be cutting off the Higher Education
    Students as well…

    Attending College is becoming a scary prospect between The Federal and State
    Government.. Pell Grants disappearing, Work Study as well. Student loans to be

    I look forward to any responses that are real, not cruel nor biting. Religious beliefs
    should have nothing to do with education. Everyone is entitled to an Education whether
    Public or Private.

  2. pink sport coat and a white crustacean says:

    I looked at the FY 2018 proposed budget powerpoint from the florida office of policy and budget:

    Slide 2: The population of Florida is growing exponentially since 2004.

    Slide 17: The FL College system and the state university system is proposed to receive a total of 6.21 billion in funding, and K-12 education will receive a proposed 20.99 billion in funding.

    Slide 19: FL College enrollment is projected to remain unchanged from last year. Further, enrollment in the FL college system has slightly increased over 10 years: In 2017, there were 18,188 more FTE enrollments than 10 years ago. Funding for FL colleges is increasing by 10 million dollars, from 1.24 billion to 1.25 billion. From the state, the funds the FL college system receives nearly never changes over 10 years.

    Slide 20: The FL state University enrollment is projected to increase by nearly 5,000 FTE enrollments from 2017 to 2018. Overall, the FL state university enrollment is increasing by 34,122 FTE enrollments over 10 years. To match that increase in FTE, the budget has increased state funding (local funding remains unchanged) by 80 million (2.36 billion – 2.28 billion). Over 10 years, this increase marks the highest state funding amount that the FL state university system has ever received.

    Slide 18: Enrollment is climbing steadily year over year, up nearly 211,000 FTE from 10 years ago. That increase alone is 1300% larger than combined increases of state college and university over 10 years. State funding of K-12 will increase by a proposed 250 million (11.55 billion – 11.3 billion). The most of education funding increases will stem from local funding of K-12 with an increase of 560 million (8.88 billion – 9.44 billion). I guess that’s county taxes like sales, property, tourism/bed taxes, etc.

    Slide 21, Governor Scott has recommended a 0% tuition increase for state colleges and universities, and he will freeze all fees for those both to what they are currently. On the same slide we can see $700 million allocated for performance funding for colleges and universities. That bonus is the equivalent to 6% of the K-12 education receives from just the state level.

    While I agree with you that it does not look like too much is being done for higher education, I think there is a reason why. We must be reminded that K-12 enrollment numbers alone warrant additional funding – in fact K-12 in my opinion is well underfunded. Moreover, students who attend college and universities must pay tuition to attend, and I think that’s the reason the K-12 education system is compensated 60% more money from state and local revenues than higher education in this proposed budget. Colleges and Universities are businesses, they are technically, that must get by using their own sources of revenue, i.e. tuition.

    I agree attending college is scary, and many grants are disappearing. While no one, including myself, agrees with college loan sharks, that’s become the ‘norm’ in this world. Front loaded interest loans commonly used to fund student tuition are a sad problem. However, we live in a quid pro quo world, and college just can’t be free.

    On a totally unrelated note, I was looking at a town’s website on Visit and it was TOTALLY useless. All of the links lead to the same page. Dining, Events, Accommodations: Same useless page. I went to Trip Advisor to decide if I wanted to visit that Florida town! Makes you so excited to know we’re spending so much money to keep that going!

  3. Linda Johnsen says:

    To: pink sport coat and a white crustacean,

    Please let me send my gratitude your way for the extensive
    research and in depth explanations of the FY 2018 proposed

    I am in total agreement that K-12 is underfunded. These students
    are the future students who will be attending Colleges, Universities
    and Technical Schools. The education these kids receive is crucial
    to the individual first, followed by the family, the education system,
    the State and the U.S. and the world…..

    The special Legislative Session June 6-9th will tell all… The budget will be
    truly known at that point, and hopefully the above mentioned information you
    provided will hold true..

    Many of the cuts I mentioned in my original post come at a Federal level. Sadly,
    many of the regulations that were in place will no longer be there to help our
    children. As we know, college is expensive, even with many options available.

    I could say “When I went to College” the cost was matched with income, inflation
    and a slew of other things.. I prefer not to go there as we know those days are gone.
    It would be very easy to get political, yet this would defeat the purpose and would
    garner unwanted and unrealistic responses to a very important subject.

    My younger son will soon be a Sophomore at USF Honors College in Tampa..
    He just took out his first Subsidized Student Loan for the required summer session.
    I know he is grateful to have chosen Summer B in a few weeks. Hopefully he’ll not
    need another loan as it would be Unsubsidized… Time will tell with the impending
    loss of Pell Grants and the Work study program.

    The College Loan Sharks are already hitting him up, believe me… College will not
    be free and will be tougher to attend for many families, especially lower income folks.
    There are many choices for students without much access to monies needed. The
    FAFSA will still be there, even with the changes..

    Live in a basic dorm for all years in college. Get the meal plan that makes the most
    sense. Usually, the full access plan is $90.00 more, but the options are great.

    If you own a vehicle, park it.. Walk, take shuttles, free bicycle use, etc….

    Take advantage of all possible free clinics, events, classes, recreation and learn
    to budget.. This skill should be taught by the parent/parents.

    Learn as you go. College is an Education in more ways than just getting a degree.
    Life lessons may be learned from mistakes, yours and others mistakes.. Biggest
    example: Uber Eats.. If you must do this, choose it only around exam time and share
    the cost with others.

    Many a student will receive a refund on financial aid or loans. Many bank it. Many
    say spending money… Wrong… Save it except for needs. The next semester the
    book you need may have gone up by several hundred dollars. You might need a
    clicker for lectures…

    On your totally unrelated note, I have been on several sites that draw a blank and
    make me question my computer search skills.. Statewide and Federally as well…
    I agree about spending money and lots of it on sites that are totally tourism based
    and not much else. If these programs are to be in the budget, they need to be revamped
    and totally updated.

    Again, Thank you for the wealth of information….

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