Gov. Scott’s proposed education budget is no “windfall,” public school officials say
Spending for public schools in Orange County could inch up under Governor Rick Scott’s $77 billion budget proposal for the new fiscal year.
But public schools aren’t expecting a windfall. At a legislative planning session today in Tallahassee, Governor Scott proposed a $19.7 billion education budget–up $842 million from last year.
The announcement comes eight years after a recession sparked public education spending cuts. Governor Rick Scott has proposed raising per student spending to nearly $7200, a $260 increase from the current school year.
Richard Collins, Chief Financial Officer for Orange County Public Schools, estimates the proposal, if approved, would increase the district’s current budget by 3%.
“We have increased costs just like any other employer does when it comes to employee compensation, benefits, and things like that, so much of that increase would be utilized to cover those costs.”
But Collins calls the proposal a mere estimate of student enrollment numbers and budget needs, which could change and affect whether lawmakers approve the full budget.
Collins says, “For instance, if there is an increase in the number of students that are forecast for public education, the question will be is the Legislature going to appropriate the per student amount that the government recommended or the total amount that the governor recommended?”
As part of his budget, Governor Scott also proposed to eliminate the sales tax on college textbooks and to introduce a $20 million grant program for technical training centers.
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