It is budget time. The governor wants money $161 million for corporate tax cuts and tourism incentives….again. Education spending in his budget would support Bright Futures scholarships which have been consistently cut for the last several years. They are funded by the lottery. He also called for an increase in K12 spending…sort of. The increase would come from increased revenue generated by local property taxes. Actually this is a good thing!
Last year the legislature took away the revenue from public schools that the improving economy generated. The property tax rate was not changed, but the increasing property values meant that more tax was collected. The legislature rolled it back. The Governor says the legislature should let districts recoup this funding. Rep. Corcoran, Speaker of the House has emphasized that even allowing the districts to garner local revenue from increasing property values would not happen.
To help put this in perspective, consider the report just published by Education Law Center. Florida ranks:
- 43rd across levels on Education Law Center report. There are four levels.
- 41st on level of funding.
- 38th on effort low fiscal capacity and low effort.
- 40th on wage competitiveness
- last on teacher to student fairness ratio comparing low income and high income areas
Florida’s Voluntary Pre K program for four year olds consists of 51% from high income and 45% low income families.
Florida got an ‘F’ in funding effort related to funding capacity, a C in funding distribution, and lower half in funding level (41) and coverage (43).
Florida needs a pot of gold at the rainbow. Current proposals make finding that gold improbable.