Doubts Linger After Florida’s Scott Pitches Biggest Budget | 9/29/2017 | Staff
elio25 (Posted by) Level 3
NEW YORK (Reuters) – After deep cuts in spending for Florida schools and other public programs following the Great Recession, outgoing Republican Governor Rick Scott this month proposed an $87.4 billion budget he says boosts spending on some depleted services to record levels.

Despite Scott’s meaty 2018-2019 budget recommendation, which is about $2.4 billion above current spending, advocates for Florida public education, environment and affordable housing remained skeptical the new plan would go far enough.

Florida - Schools - Bottom - States - Mark

“It doesn’t move Florida (schools) out from the bottom when compared to other states,” said Mark Pudlow, spokesman for the Florida Education Association, the state’s teachers union.

Florida’s public school per-pupil spending sank from a peak of $7,126 in the 2007-2008 budget to a post-recession low of $6,217 for the 2011-2012 year.

Proposal - Scott - Funding - Student - Rise

In his latest proposal, Scott recommended increasing funding to $7,176 per student, a $50 rise above record-high per-student funding. Florida has more than 2.7 million students enrolled in its public K-12 schools.

Pudlow said he welcomed the governor’s increases, but support for Florida education was still lagging far behind most of the United States. The nationwide per-student spending average was $11,392 in 2015, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data available.

Inflation - Pudlow - Scott - Budget - Florida

Adjusted for inflation, Pudlow pointed out, Scott’s budget puts Florida’s per-student spending at about $1,200 less than it was at its peak.

Scott proposed increasing public elementary and secondary school spending to about $14.71 billion from some $14.45 billion in the current fiscal year.

Andrea - Messina - Director - Florida - School

Andrea Messina, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, said she was hopeful Scott’s proposal signaled a an attitude shift in the state capital toward public education financing, but the bill was...
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