Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Scott pitches $542 million school budget increase

TALLAHASSEE — Facing one of the best state budget outlooks in recent memory, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday made a pitch to increase public school spending by $542 million.

Scott said his proposed budget would drive education spending to a record high of $18.84 billion and called the plan "historic."

But the proposed increase fell short of the $1.25 billion increase Scott recommended last year, and the $1 billion boost he suggested the year before.

What's more, critics said, the money would not be enough to cover new costs for school districts, including the technology upgrades needed for new, computer-based tests.

"The needs for Florida students continue to grow and the mandates passed down from elected leaders continue to multiply," Florida Education Association president Andy Ford said.

Scott is expected to release his entire budget proposal Wednesday.

State economists are predicting the state will collect $850 million more in revenue this coming year than during the current budget year — the largest increase since the economic downturn.

Scott has already said he will seek $30 million next year for a new workforce training initiative focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as $130 million for Everglades-related projects.

But Scott, a Republican who is running for re-election, will also focus his energy on tax cuts. He has unveiled a proposal to reduce taxes and fees statewide by $500 million.

Scott did not release many details about his proposed education budget Monday. Neither the governor's office nor the state education department could say if the proposal included money for technology upgrades or performance pay for teachers.

It was also unclear what the proposed per-pupil spending would be, or how it would compare with last year's per-student allocation of $6,776.

Some details were released, including Scott's desire to spend $8.4 million in professional development for principals and assistant principals. The nonprofit Florida TaxWatch has made school leadership a top priority in recent months.

Scott also wants to spend $5 million to help teachers transition to the Florida Standards, the new education benchmarks based on the controversial Common Core State Standards.

His suggested higher education budget includes $2 billion for state colleges and about $3.6 billion for the state university system. Of the total for universities, $40 million would be set aside for performance-based incentives.

Said Scott: "Our students deserve the best quality education, and this funding will help to ensure that every degree achieved is followed by a great career."

Both Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and State University System chancellor Marshall Criser III issued statements praising the governor's proposed education budget.

But Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant called it Scott's "latest re-election campaign stunt."

"Rick Scott thinks he needs to begin this election year by rewriting his record," Tant said. "But Floridians remember Rick Scott's record. Scott has consistently put corporate tax giveaways first and put the needs of Florida's kids last."

Scott's previous proposals for education spending have been closely watched.

In his first year in office, Scott proposed nearly $3.3 billion in cuts to education. About $1.3 billion of those cuts were included in the final budget.

The next year, Scott reversed course and said the Legislature should inject $1 billion back into the education budget.

He recommended another $1.25 billion be added to education spending last year. Lawmakers ultimately agreed to add $1 billion, including $480 million that was set aside for teacher raises.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.

Scott pitches $542 million school budget increase 01/27/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 27, 2014 10:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.