Education funding to reach highest point in Florida history

Public school funding will receive $458 million increase

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Education funding in Florida is reaching its highest point in history, but not everyone is praising the state's education budget.

The state's spending per pupil will eclipse the previous record set in the 2007-2008 budget year, as $20 billion of the state's $82 billion spending plan will go toward education. But the state's largest teacher's union, the Florida Education Association, said the dollars don't go as far for students because of inflation.

Public school funding will receive a $458 million increase. That's only 1 percent, and Sen. Bill Montford wanted more.

"I’m concerned that we only got really a 1 percent increase, but we also got some other funding in there, like technology, significant increase in technology which is what school superintendents wanted as well,"Montford said. "I wouldn’t say it’s an exceptionally good budget year for public education. It could have been worse, but we’ll just have to deal with it when it comes."

Gov. Rick Scott wanted more, too. He suggested using property taxes to pay for more school spending, but lawmakers disagreed.

"Property taxpayers shouldn’t be counted on that much for public education," Montford said. "The state has an obligation."

Like with everything in the budget, the Governor could choose wield his veto pen. Rep. Clay Ingram, who serves on the House Education Committee, hopes that isn’t the case, even if the budget isn’t as much as Scott wanted.

"Hopefully because the Legislature came to an agreement and it’s a win for everyone, it gets singed into law," Ingram said.

Charter schools also scored a victory in the spending plan. They’ll get $75 million for construction costs, the same amount public schools will get.