Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Scott recommends $100 million for Florida charter schools

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday released a key detail of his proposed education budget: $100 million for charter school construction and maintenance.

His recommendation was welcome news for charter school advocates. If approved by state lawmakers, it would represent a $25 million increase from the current year.

"This is a lifeline for us," said former state Rep. Ralph Arza, who represents the Florida Charter School Alliance. "It helps us provide classroom space and desks for students across the state."

Scott would not say if he planned to recommend construction and maintenance dollars for traditional public schools, too.

Traditional schools received more than $100 million for capital projects in the 2014-15 budget. Nearly $60 million of the total went to seven small counties.

Charter schools and traditional public schools have been battling over facilities funding since the economic downturn, when the state's school construction fund began drying up.

In 2012 and 2013, state lawmakers awarded virtually all of the money to charter schools. Their rationale: Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools cannot levy property taxes to support construction and maintenance.

But local school systems have argued they, too, need the funding because most of their property tax revenues go toward paying down debt.

"We could definitely use more help in the area of facilities and, especially, technology," Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado said Thursday.

Both charter schools and school districts are likely to ask the Legislature to consider new sources of funding for facilities. Charter schools in particular are seeking a steady stream of revenue to help with construction costs.

Scott's announcement Thursday was part of a larger rollout of the governor's proposed budget.

On Monday, Scott said he would like to see lawmakers increase the statewide K-12 education budget from $18.9 billion to $19.75 billion. His recommendation includes $7,716 per student — a record-high figure, not accounting for inflation.

Scott unveiled the charter school plan at the Sports Leadership and Management Academy, or SLAM, charter school the in Little Havana area of Miami.

The announcement was practically drowned out by loud dance music and screaming teenage girls. Standing on stage with Scott was Miami-born recording artist Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez.

Pérez has championed SLAM and was in Miami to celebrate his birthday and announce an expansion of the school.

Plenty of politicians were on hand to proclaim it Pitbull Day in Miami. And in Miami-Dade County. And in Florida. The governor himself placed a blue ribbon over Pérez's head, recognizing him as an arts ambassador.

Scott is expected to release his entire budget proposal later this month. That announcement will likely take place without the dance music.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com. Contact Christina Veiga at cveiga@MiamiHerald.com.

Scott recommends $100 million for Florida charter schools 01/15/15 [Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays power their way to 5-1 win over Orioles before embarking on crucial road trip

    The Heater

    St. PETERSBURG — The Rays didn't get many hits in the early going Wednesday, but they got a couple that went a long way and that was enough to beat the Orioles, 5-1.

    Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) hugs catcher Jesus Sucre (45) after Souza's solo home run in the seventh inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. Man accused of sexually assaulting 5-year-old girl

    Crime

    ZEPHYRHILLS — Pasco sheriff's deputies have charged a Zephyrhills man with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in his care.

    Brett Campbell [Photo Courtesy of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  4. Coming to Netflix in August: 'The Defenders,' 'Death Note' and more

    Blogs
    Krysten Ritter, Finn Jones, Charlie Cox and Mike Colter in Marvel's The Defenders.
  5. Report: $36 million worth of guns stolen in Florida in four years

    Public Safety

    An estimated $36 million worth of guns was stolen in Florida from 2012 to 2015, according to an analysis released this week by the Center for American Progress.

    Broken glass litters the floor of Tampa Arms Co. after thieves drove a pickup  through the front of the gun store and stole more than 40 weapons, including handguns and semiautomatic rifles. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]