PolitiFact: SB 6 is an unfunded mandate
PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times' fact-checking site, looks into claims that SB 6 is an unfunded mandate and concludes that ... yes it is.
In its simplest terms, SB 6 identifies funding for the education policy changes. What's different is the funding the Senate identified already is being used by schools for something else. It's not like the Senate is paying for the education reforms with an increase to the cigarette tax, or some other revenue stream. To fund their proposed reforms, Republicans in the Legislature are essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul.
And it's that funding scheme that produces the same result as if the Legislature didn't fund SB 6 at all. They are fencing in 5 percent of a school district's budget to implement the statewide changes, without any promise that additional funds will be coming down the road. The funding mechanism will force school districts to either cut budgets or raise taxes. Yes, a Race to the Top grant may help. But no one knows if the money's coming, or if it's enough.
Read more here.