Senate school cuts not so deep after allby Dara Kam | March 23rd, 2011
Cuts to public school funding won’t be nearly as bad as it appeared earlier this week under the Florida Senate plan, budget chief J.D. Alexander said Wednesday morning.
That’s because the spending allocations released this week don’t include about another $1 billion in savings Alexander said he’s making in state employees,’ including teachers’, pay and benefits.
It appears he’s funneling nearly half that to schools, bringing down the cuts to about $300 million from more than $700 proposed earlier this week, Alexander said. That’s the opposite direction the House is headed in with its K-12 spending plan.
“It depends on your view of the world, but in terms of what a school board will have to do to adjust to available funds, our proposal has a much lower broad cut. I think the $700 million was too high,” Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said.
Without being able to raise new revenue through taxes or fees, Alexander said the savings from cutting health care benefits or requiring state employees to contribute to their pensions is the only way to avoid deeper direct cuts to services and education.
Under Alexander’s plan, state workers would have to contribute less to their pensions than the 5% Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House are asking.
Just how much?
All will be revealed Monday when Alexander releases his budget proposal.