4 percent cut could be worse
School district officials across Florida are less than thrilled with Gov. Charlie Crist's plan to hold back 4 percent of all general revenue for 2008-09. They fear the quarterly 1 percent reduction of their revenue will only mean more cuts in an already dire budget year.
It may be bad. But lobbyist (and former Hillsborough schools chief of staff) Jim Hamilton notes in a memo to Hillsborough leaders that it could be worse. If voters approve a November ballot proposal to eliminate local property taxes as a source of revenue for education, the same action a year from now would mean double the pain.
"If this hold back is applied to public schools, it will only apply to the $9 billion in state revenue in the budget," he notes. "The $9.4 billion in local funds will not be included in the holdback, reducing the impact on public schools to slightly less than two percent. This shows the importance of property tax revenues to supporting Florida's students."