The Ocala Star Banner reports that funding priorities are changing. PreK 12 has received small increases in per student funding for the past couple of years. Florida is almost back to 2008 levels, if you do not count the increase in costs due to inflation. (The Consumer Price Index during that period rose 12.72%.) In the next legislative session, incoming Senate President Joe Negron has already announced his plan to increase budgets for colleges and universities, but not for K12. Richard Corcoran, incoming Speaker of the House has made his priorities clear.
According to a wfsu report, he is a strong advocate for universal school choice for families of any income level. This position would include the expansion of vouchers to private schools whether or not they are constitutional. His wife, moreover, is the founder of a charter school
A well known lobbying firm, Mixon and Associates, has advised Marian County schools to freeze hiring. Funding for the following two years may even decline, and the County may have to rely on teacher attrition in order to make its budget. With health care and utility costs continuing to rise, districts may have to use their trust funds in 2017-18 to meet costs. The future looks even more bleak. According to their projections. Funding for the years 2018-20 may be reduced by over $ three billion dollars. Basically, funding levels could shrink back to the 2008 recession level.
We know the priorities for the Florida legislature’s leadership. Do they know yours?