Florida's education budget boils down to details
Both the Florida House and Senate seek to follow Gov. Rick Scott's playbook in putting about $1.1 billion back into public K-12 education funding a year after taking away about $1.3 billion.
Beneath the bottom line figure, though, are specifics that don't have both bodies on exactly the same path. That leaves room for deals as conference committees gather to hash out the inconsistencies.
Among the differences:
Co-enrollment - The House would extend funding for high school students to take up to two adult education courses for credit recovery or dropout prevention. The Senate does not address this issue. many districts have requested this funding extension, and House members seem intent on it.
School recognition - The Senate would keep funding for this program at $70 per student, while the House would increase the amount to $100 per student. Gov. Scott has indicated his support for increasing the recognition funds, while some senators have suggested zeroing out the program.
PECO funding - Both would funnel $55 million in K-12 capital money to charter schools, with none for traditional schools. The House would direct an additional $22 million to the college and university systems, while the Senate would give just $5.4 million to the college system only.
Virtual instruction - The House would increase per student funding allocation to $5,000, while the Senate would leave the amount at $4,800.
Workforce education - The Senate would leave tuition charges for these programs unchanged, while the House would increase them to $2.39 per contact hour for residents and an additional $7.17 per contact hour for out-of-state students. Adult education fees would remain the same.
Public radio - The House would eliminate funding for public radio. The Senate does not address the issue.
Textbook purchases - The Senate would allow school districts to get a waiver of the requirement that they purchase newly adopted textbooks within two years of adoption. The House does not address this issue.