The 10 percent solution
Heeding Gov. Charlie Crist's call, the Department of Education has submitted its proposal for where to cut its budget by 10 percent. The $966-million plan would affect the state's 67 school districts most, with the biggest chunk - $644-million - coming from the Florida Education Finance Program (that's the per-student funding that drives the system). Another $49-million would come from student transportation, with $27-million coming out of instructional materials.
The DOE also would cut $9.9-million from the Florida Resident Access Grant, which offers tuition support to residents who attend private colleges and universities, $37-million from prekindergarten programs, and $102-million from community college programs.
Held harmless would be the $2.5-billion set aside for reducing class sizes. It would, after all, be hard to cut class sizes to meet the 2002 amendment if the state cut funding to do it, after all. The state does not seek to impose all the cuts in the trenches, though. The department also proposes $11.5-million in cuts from the DOE itself, with about half that amount coming from its assessment and evaluation division.
None of these cuts are final, and the department is still working on them to lessen the direct impact on students. They next get vetted by the governor's budget team, which will make recommendations to lawmakers who meet in special session beginning Sept. 18.