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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Gov. Crist: Limit cuts to education



Crist As Florida lawmakers head into special session on the budget, let's take a closer look at what Gov. Charlie Crist has proposed for public education -- one of the state's biggest spending areas.

In his letter to legislative leaders sent just before Christmas, Crist wrote that he hopes to avoid cutting education any more than the already announced 4 percent hold back (actually 1.93 percent for schools). He also suggested that if the state receives any federal stimulus package, money should be redirected as possible to "enhance K-12 education funding."

Still, Crist's recommended cuts don't ignore public schooling -- they just would hit other areas of the expansive budget. For instance, he would cut:

  • $39.9-million from university operations,
  • $21.6-million from community college operating funds,
  • $1.3-million from the state testing program,
  • $5.4-million from the voluntary prekindergarten system,
  • $8.5-million from workforce education, and
  • $4.5-million from Florida resident-access grants to private colleges.

Lawmakers have not embraced Crist's plan to shield schools from further cuts.

"For any legislator to say right now that any program, any service, any agency would be held harmless would be irresponsible," Senate president pro tem Mike Fasano told the Gradebook. That doesn't mean that they won't try to protect what they can, he added, "but we need to be realistic."


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:10am]


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