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Gov. Scott, Ending Week-Long Education Tour, Speaks of Increasing School Funding

| September 17, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott meeting with parents at a school in in Madeira Beach last week.

Gov. Rick Scott will push lawmakers to avoid cutting the education budget this year, the governor said following a dinner with union officials late last week. And if there’s enough money, he’ll again push for an increase.

Scott, who championed the restoration of $1 billion to this year’s education budget after signing a 2011 budget that cut the same amount, told reporters that he promised union officials with the Florida Education Association that he will call on lawmakers to at least hold the line on spending for schools.

“In our dinner tonight, I told the FEA that as we continue to develop our education agenda we are going to, at a minimum, sustain current state funding for education in the next budget and depending on the state’s economic outlook, aim to increase education funding where we can improve student outcomes.”

Scott had dinner at the Governor’s Mansion Friday night with representatives of the union as the culmination of a week focused on education, during which the governor visited several schools.

“Our goal is to better prepare students for college and careers and our policies in the next budget and the next legislative session will be designed around that,” Scott said.

The dinner was noteworthy because the teachers union and most state Republican leaders have not been very friendly over the last few years. In fact Scott signed legislation last year that put in place a merit pay system that the union opposed in a high profile battle between the FEA and the GOP.

Scott’s promise to try to increase, or at least maintain current education spending, may put him at odds with his own party in the Legislature. Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville and the incoming Senate president, said earlier this week that he didn’t see enough money in the outlook for incoming taxes to be thinking about boosting education spending.

The $1 billion increase has proven popular, even if it was a restoration of earlier cuts. School districts have seen their overall budgets decreased significantly in the last several years.

Scott will release his proposed budget in January and lawmakers will convene in the regular session in March.

–David Royce, News Service of Florida

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2 Responses for “Gov. Scott, Ending Week-Long Education Tour, Speaks of Increasing School Funding”

  1. Samuel Smith says:

    What’s he going to do now? Allow sallie mae to lend to children under 5, thereby preparing them for the college experience with a $50k+ student loan debt?

  2. Anita says:

    Maybe the Guv’na ought to take a look at his legislature’s amendments padding Flagler County’s election ballot, specifically # 3 – State Government Revenue Limitation, and #10 – Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption.

    If I’m interpreting the legalese correctly and amendment #3 passes, state taxes will no longer be based on personal income, but tied to inflation and population changes (exactly how they plan to do this remains a mystery to me). After, and only after, the state budget “reaches its MAXIMUM balance” will funds “be used for the support and maintenance of public schools by reducing the minimum financial effort required by school districts for participation in a state-funded education finance program, or if minimum financial effort is no longer required , returned to the taxpayer.” WTF?! If participation is state-funded, what financial effort is required of the schools? Please help me out here, because I wouldn’t want to accuse the government of playing fast and loose with education.

    Amendment #10 is a simpler wish to starve public schools of funding. Let’s just simply exempt ad valorem taxes on tangible personal property valued between $50,000 to $250,000. That ought to be a big help when I buy my new boat or car next year and anyway, these kid’s parents should’ve thought about their needs before having ’em. So who’s Scott going to rob to get more money to fundschools, hmmmm?

    Meanwhile, get out your mixing bowls and fire up those ovens folks because if these amendments pass, you’re going to have to hold an awful lot of bake sales to keep these schools going.

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