BOE approves budget request
As expected, the state Board of Education just approved a proposed $15.9 billion operating budget for schools and community colleges next year. Along the way, it also gently suggested that the Legislature find more money for schools - or potentially undermine Florida's recent academic progress.
“I agree that there’s more to education policy than throwing money at the problem,” said board member Roberto Martinez of Miami, who is close to both Gov. Charlie Crist and former Gov. Jeb Bush. “But in our state we’ve been doing good at a lot of things besides throwing money at the problem."
“The public school system is doing as much as it can with as little as possible,” continued Martinez, who made similar comments back in June. “I think it’s very important that we as an appointed board make a strong statement, but not confrontational … that encourages, as strongly as possible, the Legislature to appropriate as much as money as is required to make sure that education is adequately funded.”
Other board members agreed.
The latest budget request is 7.9 percent more than the Legislature gave to the BOE this year – after cutting education spending for the first time in decades - but 7.6 less than it requested last year. Among other notables, it includes $3.66 billion to reduce class size but $46 million less for reading grants. Gov. Charlie Crist and lawmakers will make the final decision on the budget next spring.
In other action, the BOE granted exclusive charter-granting authority to five school districts, including Hillsborough and Hernando. Read more here.