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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Rick Scott proposes budget for Florida education

7

February

Florida Gov. Rick Scott set forth his 2011-12 budget proposals today in Eustis at a tea party event. (See story here.) His three priorities for education:

  • Expand the Opportunity Scholarship Program to create additional public school choice
  • Expand access to high-performing charter schools
  • Ensure that students have access to multiple virtual education courses and program

Overall, there would be less money for education -- 10 percent less per student beyond past years' cuts. More details here.

In prepared statements, Scott made clear that Florida should not rely on temporary funding such as the federal stimulus package that poured money into Florida schools over the past two years. The money is about to disappear, leaving school districts facing multimillion-dollar holes to fill. 

Over the last few years, Florida accepted one time hand-outs from the federal government. Those temporary resources allowed state and local governments to spend beyond their means. That’s like someone who wins the lottery expecting to receive that same windfall year after year.

It just doesn’t make sense. There was never any reason to think that Florida taxpayers could afford to continue that higher level of spending once the federal hand-outs were gone. The false expectations created by the federal hand-outs are the reason we hear about a multi-billion dollar deficit.

Some have become accustomed to the artificially high level of state spending made possible by the money the federal government borrowed from our grandchildren. That level of spending was never wise and simply cannot be sustained. To those who suggest that we meet those new unsustainable expectations with higher taxes, I want to send a clear signal. That is NOT the answer. We will not increase taxes.

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[Last modified: Monday, February 7, 2011 5:49pm]

    

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