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Gov. Scott Floats $1.2 Billion Boost to Education, Including $480 Million for Teachers

| January 30, 2013


Still looking to make his mark on Florida. (Gage Skidmore)

Gov. Rick Scott will propose a $1.2 billion boost in education funding Thursday when he unveils his spending plan for the coming fiscal year, he told reporters during a Wednesday speech to newspaper editors.

Speaking to the annual Associated Press Legislative Planning Session, Scott said he would ask lawmakers to increase spending on public schools by around 6.5 percent, to about $6,800 per student. While that would mark an increase over the last two years, it would still be off the all-time high for per-student education funding.

Scott had already floated a $2,500-a-year raise for all Florida teachers; that $480 million would be included in the $1.2 billion increase for K-12 education. If approved, it would mark the second consecutive year that Scott asked for — and the Legislature approved — an increase in education funding of about $1 billion.

“In this budget, I am doubling down on our billion-dollar investment last year in education,” Scott said.

The governor said that the recent recovery in the economy, and a projected rebound in state tax revenues, gave him more room to push for increased spending on schools.

“We made the hard choices to recover and get back on track,” he said. “Now we must make the smart choices to invest in Florida’s future.”

Republican leaders in the Legislature said they welcomed Scott’s proposal, but also questioned whether they would be able to fund all of it. The most recent forecast by state economists estimated the state would have a surplus of about $829 million in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Lawmakers have been cautious about relying even on that funding, noting that automatic spending cuts by the federal government could harm the state’s economy if President Barack Obama and Congress don’t agree to alternatives.

“Certainly, to get to that number, you would have to make some cuts somewhere else,” House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said in his own comments to the gathering.

Scott said he would more clearly spell out how he would provide the money for the education increase in his full budget proposal, set to be unveiled Thursday. [It remains unclear, for example, to what extent the proposal weighs in favor of charter schools, as opposed to traditional public schools.]

Democrats, meanwhile, credited Scott for the current increase but assailed him for cutting school funding in the first place. Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, painted it as another step in a political reinvention aimed at Scott’s 2014 re-election campaign.

“When he’s now throwing gimmicks and dollars at education after he came in and slashed education tremendously, [it] shows that he’s finally admitted that ‘I was wrong to try to starve education,'” Smith said.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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12 Responses for “Gov. Scott Floats $1.2 Billion Boost to Education, Including $480 Million for Teachers”

  1. bq says:

    Beware of Geeks baring gifts!

  2. confidential says:

    Wow… someone sees the writting in the wall?

  3. Samuel Smith says:

    Throwing dollars at a turd just makes it a dollar covered turd. The FCAT needs to go, and the legislature needs to get its slimy little uneducated hands out of school curriculum and let teachers actually do their job, e.g. teach.

    • Dlf says:

      We have allowed the teachers to do their job, we have spent $$$$$ and we still lack the needed results. Maybe we need to introduce a system that tells us what kind of job the teachers are in fact doing,oops that would be in violation of their union contract.

      • Samuel Smith says:

        No, you’ve tied teachers’ hands with endless administrative tasks and state-set curriculum that is meaningless in the classroom.

        • dlf says:

          Yes, we have tied their hands with dollar bills paid out for lack of results. Between the poor results of the teachers and the school board we are turning out kids that will be a burden on everyone for the rest of their life, and we want to hire and pay more for these results.

  4. Bruno Tars says:

    Too late for kiss-kiss Rick. I’m voting for Crist. Don’t let the door hit you in the axx on the way out.

  5. Edman says:

    Once a con man always a con man. The details will come out and again this phony will be exposed like the emperor who wore no clothes. This unprincipled Governor can not change his spots so easily.

  6. Howard Duley says:

    It seems this fool is making his reelection run early. I voted for him the last election which will be the last time. If the Repubs are looking for the governorship they need to dump him. If the Dems put up the previous fool I’ll vote Communist.

  7. Dawg says:

    He probably has some swamp to sell also…. any takers?

  8. Samuel Smith says:

    Explain this to me: the required, state-set curriculum for a degree in education has so many classes in just the educational field that it’s impossible for a teacher to be proficient in the actual area that they want to teach. Several years ago, I was on a committee that was tasked to put together a physics education degree for big name Florida U, and we discovered that it was literally impossible to stick enough classes in there to actually make the teacher proficient in the field beyond 2000-level classes and the requisite maths because of credit limits on degrees and financial aid. How exactly is throwing dollars going to fix this, when proficiency in the subject is superseded by 130 credit hours of “how to make a schedule and set up a planner”?

  9. another voice says:

    Aahahaha! Does he think this will get him votes next year? Think again, Voldemoort. You’re toast. You know it. Get used to it…

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