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Florida lawmakers consider revisions to school funding formula

Leaders of some school districts have called for changes to the way money is distributed.
Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr. SCOTT KEELER | Times
Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr. SCOTT KEELER | Times
Published Feb. 14, 2018

With complaints mounting that some school districts don't get their fair share of funding, Florida lawmakers on Wednesday advanced legislation that would require closer examination of the formula that guides the way money is distributed.

"It's been a while since we've taken a look at the factors," said Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., House PreK-12 Appropriations and the bill's sponsor.

The measure (HB 495) calls for a study of the price indexing used to determine the costs of business in different parts of Florida, a standard that is used in determining how to allocate resources.

Once that study is completed, it would go to legislative leaders for their consideration. Additional studies would then be mandated every 10 years.

"We have the study in the budget," Diaz said.

Some School Board members across Florida have complained that they do not get their fair share of tax revenue under the current system. They have called the district cost differential "education welfare" that has, in their view, benefited large districts at the expense of smaller ones.

Last summer, some lawmakers began calling for reforms to the formulas, as well. A Senate companion bill (SB 824) has been heard in one of three committees of reference.

Previous coverage (podcast): Is Florida's funding formula 'educational welfare'?