Senate education budget would remove money for school recognition
Budget discussions are in full swing in Tallahassee, and this morning the Florida Senate Pre-K-12 appropriations committee put out its education funding proposal (third from last page on this handout).
Chairman David Simmons pointed out that the Senate's spending plan is about $130 million more than the House proposal. Both chambers seek to meet Gov. Rick Scott's demand that they return at least $1.1 billion to public education that was cut last year.
Notable in Simmons' plan is the recommendation to zero out school recognition funding, putting the money instead into programs to help struggling students and schools, such as extended school days and seven-period days. Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, praised the proposal, saying that while high-performing schools enjoy the added funds, the lowest-performing ones need the money more.
The panel is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday and Thursday. Simmons said he was hopeful the members would agree to the budget plan and then work to get the House to adopt the Senate version.
What do you think? Should lawmakers redirect school recognition funding? Should it go to low-performing school programs, or perhaps to the unfunded merit pay plan? Something else?