1. Gradebook

Florida Board of Education to consider budget request with no change in tax rates

Lawmakers have long battled over whether to let districts benefit from rising property values.
The Florida Board of Education  meets Aug. 15, 2018, in Orlando, where it discusses budgets and turnaround plans, among other issues. [The Florida Channel]
The Florida Board of Education meets Aug. 15, 2018, in Orlando, where it discusses budgets and turnaround plans, among other issues. [The Florida Channel]
Published Sep. 11, 2018
Updated Sep. 11, 2018

One phrase stands out in the guidelines Florida Board of Education members used in developing their 2019-20 legislative budget request, which comes up for adoption Friday:

"Include no change in 2018-19 millage rates, tuition or fees."

It's an issue that has proven a sticky wicket for lawmakers over the past several years. Some, primarily in the Senate, have pushed to let school districts maintain their local tax rates to take advantage of rising property values. Others, mostly in the House, have insisted that districts drop their rates so the tax revenue property owners pay remains mostly unchanged.

Related coverage: Speaker Richard Corcoran draws bright line on Florida school taxing issue 

Gov. Rick Scott took the Senate's (losing) side last year, and the Board of Education aims to align with the governor's priorities. So it looks to be posturing for another discussion on whether to allow school funding to grow naturally through increasing values.

Such a move could placate many school district leaders who complained loudly last year that the state provided only a tiny bit of additional funding without strings attached — not to mention failing to cover the full costs of required measures relating to security and mental health services.

Related coverage: The Legislature raised funding by 47 cents per student. Here's how Florida schools are coping. 

State Board members discussed such needs at their August budget workshop. They mentioned the need to better pay employees and secure schools, without making Florida become a tax heavy state.

They asked the staff to bring more details so they could consider a spending plan that meets such needs and provides districts flexibility, something they suggested was in too short supply.

The two-page agenda backup material for Thursday did not include many details of the actual legislative budget proposal, which is expected to be provided separately. That didn't concern some observers too much, though, because the state's final education budget rarely resembles the board's first pass.

"The budget process is going to carry the stamp of the leaders," Florida School Boards Association lobbyist Ruth Melton said, and many leaders will be new for the next session. "We have to take this with the recognition it is very likely to change."


  1. Tampa Bay Tech, still missing star sophomore Janiah Barker, falters in the region final Friday, but if healthy should make another deep playoff run next season.
  2. After its 3-1 victory over Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale on Friday, the Shorecrest girls soccer team  will be playing in the program's first state final next week in Deland.
  3. Land O' Lakes may have fallen one game short of a state final, but, as coach Jen Craven says: “We have some good kids coming from the local middle school. Looking forward, I don’t see any reason why you won’t see us in the show next year."
  4. Monte Kiffin, shown here talking to safety John Lynch during a preseason game against the Jaguars on Aug. 16, 2002, this season will be the 14th inductee into the Bucs Ring of Honor.
  5. Carrollwood Day's Weeyah McGill, seen here during last year's state tournament, was dominant Friday against Seffner Christian.
  6. Plant senior Honor Culpepper, seen here earlier this season, scores a game-high 20 points in Friday's Class 7A region final victory.
  7. Surveillance footage shows thieves breaking into the Trulieve medical marijuana dispensary on U.S. 19, according to Clearwater police. The break in happened less than an hour after a similar burglary at a store on Clearwater Beach.
  8. Coach Karrmayne King hugs Keswick Christian player Marissa McCauley after the Crusaders soundly defeat Hernando Christian to advance to state.
  9. Tanner Donald Hackman, 22, of Clearwater, faces charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving death, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. This photo was taken after a 2018 arrest.
  10. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas.
  11. USF athletic director Michael Kelly (left) and first-year football coach Jeff Scott have confirmed the Bulls' spring football game will remain on campus. [JOEY KNIGHT | TAMPA BAY TIMES]