Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

A million here, a million there, and pretty soon ...

13

November

Money_stacks Yep, Florida is talking about real money -- and how much is no longer available -- for its public school system.

As we reported Tuesday, the state has announced it will take another $355.2-million from public education starting in December, with no promise that another round of slashing won't happen. Leaders are expecting the worst.

"I think this is just the beginning," Broward superintendent Jim Notter told the Sun-Sentinel. His comments were echoed by Volusia superintendent Margaret Smith in a Daytona Beach News-Journal report this morning, as well as by Leon superintendent Jackie Pons in the Tallahassee Democrat. "The problem you get now is you don't know when it's going to end," Pons said.

At the Capitol, where most of the state's education funding decisions are made, CFO Alex Sink wants lawmakers to make some tough decisions now rather than wait until spring. "I think they need to look at the functions that are truly mission-critical to state government," Sink told the Orlando Sentinel. "This is not rocket science."

But Gov. Crist, like incoming House Speaker Ray Sansom, reacted coolly to the idea of a special session. "I'd rather not spend $40,000 per day on a special session," Crist told the Palm Beach Post on Wednesday.

It has become a disappointing scenario for folks at the district level, many of whom are deciding to consider local funding alternatives in the absence of state leadership, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "In Seminole County, our voters have always been extremely supportive of schools," superintendent Bill Vogel told the Sentinel. "That, to me, is the long-term solution ..."

Before we end, just a little perspective. Not just Florida schools are feeling the pain. California schools face giant cuts (LA Times), as do New York schools (NY Times) and a host of others.

As for that lead-in, I know that the late Sen. Everett Dirksen is supposed to have been talking in the billions about real money (even that isn't clear). I just liked the sound of it. So indulge me.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:04am]

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