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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What's in that state education budget, anyway?

Florida's proposed education budget for 2009-10 includes numbers, to be sure. But there's also the details of the implementing bill to add further complications.

A spending plan isn't much of a plan, after all, without the rules for how to use the money, right?

Class size, for instance, will continue to be counted as a school average for another year. In 2010-11, the state would begin penalizing districts that don't meet classroom counts by the third FEFP calculation (unless lawmakers try one more time to get the amendment amended).

Read on for some of the more interesting specifics:

  • By super-majority, school boards will have the ability to levy an additional 0.25 mills tax for either capital expenses or "critical operating needs."
  • Districts will still have to provide virtual education options to all schools, despite their request for flexibility. They will be able to contract with Florida Virtual to provide the service, though.
  • Appointed superintendents will be limited to $225,000 in the amount of state funds that can be used toward their salaries. Lawmakers urge boards to reduce their appointed superintendents' pay by 5 percent. Elected superintendents would see their pay cut by 2 percent.
  • Colleges will be prohibited from conferring degrees upon students who have not met set rules for graduation, such as passage of an exam selected by the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education and maintaining a 2.5 grade-point average.
  • School boards will have to expressly authorize the use of funds for out-of-state travel and cell phone use. Funding for arts, music and physical education must be given priority over these items.
  • Study hall will not count toward full-time student funding.
  • Employees would see changes to the maximum number of contracted employee days, essentially allowing districts to negotiate furloughs.

The budget is set for adoption tomorrow. Then comes the real implementation in district budgets.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:22am]

    

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