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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Sequestration to take its toll on Florida school construction funds



Florida public schools have watched their PECO funds shrink in recent years, with the small amount remaining funnelled by lawmakers to charter schools.

Now a top state economist warns that the amount could dwindle even more, because of the federal across-the-board spending cuts. The Florida Current reports:

"The state’s chief economist told a Senate committee that fallout from a Florida Department of Education policy decision to build reserve funds and the federal sequestration will probably consume about $80 million in cash expected to be available for Public Education Capital Outlay projects.

'You’ll probably be down to zero at the end of the day for how much you have  available to appropriate for PECO funds,' Amy Baker told the Senate Appropriations Education Subcommittee on Wednesday."

PECO funds surpassed $1 billion just six years ago. Lacking the money for needed projects, districts have turned to other revenue sources including a bond referendum in Miami-Dade. Lawmakers are expected to discuss their options for next year's budget in the next few weeks.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 14, 2013 9:52am]


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