Representative Fresen refused to accept most parts of Senator Gaetz’s education funding plan. Now, the talks will escalate to the House and Senate Appropriations committees. It will be up to Chairmen Lee and Corcoran to hammer out a deal. According to news reports, the only agreement between the two was to avoid increasing local property taxes to support new education funding.
“All other issues in the entire education budget are bumped,” Gaetz, R-Niceville, said. Fresen said the breakdown had less to do with any components of the budget issues than with his ability to make the math work on a counteroffer.
“Most of the issues, although the entire budget’s getting bumped, are closer than what it would seem,” Fresen said.
The two sides disagree on funding for high-performing state universities and on spending for the “Best and Brightest” public school teacher bonuses, which are based in part on teachers’ college admissions test scores. Some senators — including Education Pre-K-12 Chairman John Legg, R-Trinity — strongly oppose the continuation of the Best and Brightest program.
A budget will have to be finished by March 8 if lawmakers expect to end the annual legislative session on time March 11.