Crist proposes small increase in per-pupil spending
The key number: $7,045, which is how much Crist’s budget aims to provide in per-pupil spending. That’s up from $6,870 last year.
Crist said the budget includes no increased taxes or fees, but ... it does include another big shot of federal stimulus spending (it was $908 million last year and was expected to be about the same this year) and $433 million from a proposed gambling compact that the Legislature doesn't seem to like very much. It also depends on nearly $2 billion in increased revenue. “We’re fortunate,” Crist told reporters after his remarks at Bay Vista Fundamental Elementary School in St. Petersburg. “For the first time since I’ve been governor, we actually have more revenue coming in to the state treasury than years past.”
Crist also proposed:
* a $44.8 million increase in the state’s voluntary pre-kindergarten program
* restoration of the state’s school recognition money program - which gives bonus money to schools that earn high grades - to $100 per student (it had been cut to $75 per student over the past two years)
* Elimination of the $2,000 cap on bonuses to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate teachers. (Those teachers now get $50 for every student who passes a standardized AP or IB exam.)