'An open and honest discussion on funding for education'
State Board of Education member Roberto Martinez says it's time for Floridians to have "an open and honest" discussion about education funding. To that end, at his request, the board is holding a day-long workshop on the state education budget Aug. 2.
"We will be examining what Florida needs to fund and by how much in order to fulfill the constitutional and statutory requirements and to accomplish the goals of the board's strategic plan," Martinez told The Gradebook via email. "In my opinion, this will be the board's first effort to fulfill its obligation in a meaningful and comprehensive manner."
Martinez, who has consistently pushed for more accountability and more funding for Florida schools, also said: "I do not know where our discussion will lead or how successful we will be in doing this exercise. We are rushed this year by the legislative session commencing in January. Nonetheless, Floridians need to have an open and honest discussion on funding for education. This will be a serious start to that process."
According to the agenda (which is attached below), the workshop will include presentations from five superintendents (including Hillsborough's MaryEllen Elia and Miami-Dade's Alberto Carvalho); three community college presidents; Florida Education Association president Andy Ford; Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, who is also executive director of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents; Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association; and former Miami Herald publisher David Lawrence, who has long pushed for more funding for Florida's pre-kindergarten program.
The workshop location has yet to be determined, but will likely be in Tampa or Orlando, Martinez said.
(Image from conncan.org)