Is there renewed hope for developmentally disabled schools' funding?

Gov. Rick Scott: 'It's important to fund K-12 education that helps students like this'


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The hopes of thousands of parents of children with learning disabilities were dashed when state lawmakers went home early. The kids were promised brighter futures by top lawmakers. Gov. Rick Scott may now be rekindling some of that hope.

While Scott still opposes a Medicaid expansion, he is taking credit for streamlining the program, cutting costs and saving taxpayers money.

Senate President Andy Gardiner is the father of an 11-year-old autistic child. Parents in the developmentally disabled community see him as a savior.

Gardiner pushed two bills that would open job opportunities and the possibility of college for their kids. Gardiner was visibly unhappy when the legislation died during last month's legislative meltdown.

"Sadly, some of the stuff for individuals with unique abilities that were finally going to have their opportunity to be promoted -- those bills are dead," Gardiner said.

Then, out of the blue, Scott showed up at a school for the uniquely abled on Wednesday, making a quick tour and presenting teachers with medals.

Scott has been critical of the Senate and Senate president over their efforts to expand health care.

When asked if Scott's presence was sending Gardiner a message, Scott said, "It's very important to fund the K-12 education that helps students like this. My goal is to continue to work with the House and Senate to make sure we have a budget for all our families. That includes education funding and tax cuts."

There was a bit of irony in the visit. Scott has been a staunch opponent of expanding Medicaid, yet most of the students enrolled in the school are also enrolled in Medicaid.