A Jeb program in line for cuts?
Maybe so. The state's budget picture is bad enough that the Legislature might have to look at cutting one of former Gov. Bush's pet programs, the "school recognition money" used to reward schools with high and/or improving FCAT scores, state Rep. Joe Pickens, chairman of the House Education Council, told The Gradebook.
The same goes for other high-profile programs, Pickens said, citing the MAP performance-pay plan; the bonus program for national board-certified teachers; and the teacher LEAD program, which gives teachers about $250 to purchase classroom supplies. "I don’t think anyone's considering the elimination of those," said Pickens, R-Palatka, but "those are certainly the types of things we’ll look at first."
Last year, more than 1,600 Florida schools got $129.3 million in school recognition money.
Pickens wouldn’t use the word "bad" to describe the revenue projections, but he said the likely cuts are "definitely going to be felt." At this point, lawmakers are looking at $2 billion less than last year, which probably means an ed budget that is leaner by several hundred million dollars. "This could be a year where even good legislation is put on hold because we can’t fund it," he said.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter