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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

More on the revenue estimates



When state economists get together in Tallahassee these days to estimate revenue, Florida groans. And maybe not only because the news remains bad.

It's also, perhaps, because we hear what they're saying and don't really understand anything beyond the bottom line -- less income means services will get cut or taxes will go up. Yuck, right?

Well, for some of us, that's enough to know. For others, though, details are required.

Former Hillsborough schools chief of staff Jim Hamilton, now a lobbyist for the district, has drafted a detailed explanation of exactly what's going on with Florida's education funding. He explains how recurring and nonrecurring revenue figure in, the difference between local and state funds, and the roles of general revenue vs. the overall state budget. A sample:

"The media often refers to a $66 billion state budget. Most of that state budget is not what we are talking about. The $66 billion budget you hear about includes about $41 billion in federal funds, local dollars, and trust fund revenue.  Almost all of the reductions we have been talking about come from the remaining $25 billion, which is general revenue.  This $25 billion (which was $31.7 billion in fiscal year 2006-2007) has been shrinking and requires most of our attention.

Here is an example of how public schools fit in the revenue picture. Public schools receive about 35% of all of the state recurring general revenue. For example if recurring general revenue were to be down $1 billion statewide, then the state public schools' share of the decrease is about $350 million. Hillsborough County Public Schools receives about 7.2% of the public schools' budget.  Our part of the $350 million in this example would be about $26.4 million."

Want to read more? Here's the report for your light holiday reading: Download Hamiltonreport.doc.

- Jeff Solochek

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:05am]


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