Less for education, Florida Senate style
Days after the Florida House put out its pre-K-12 education budget language, the Florida Senate has followed suit.
While the two sides share some key provisions -- particularly in allowing school districts to use textbook funds for software purchases and in moving the counting of class size for 2010-11 to February (to give voters time to decide whether to retain the amendment as-is) -- some differences also exist.
- The Senate bill would reduce funding for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate students, for instance, while the House bill would maintain those levels and instead cut funding for career and technical education programs.
- The Senate further would change high school grading to account for the successful completion of AP courses rather than the participation in them. The House does not address such a change.
- The Senate would allow school boards to increase the local tax rate for "critical needs" without voter approval, while the House would require a referendum after one year.
- The Senate would cut elected superintendent and School Board member salaries, while the House is silent on that issue.
The variations offer plenty of room for debate and, dare we say, compromise in a year when education spending promises to be bleak at best. Stay tuned to see what stays and what goes.