Democrats blast education cuts using election-year themesby John Kennedy | March 7th, 2012
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith joined House Democrats in blasting ruling Republicans Wednesday for falling short in dollars for public schools and forcing university students to shoulder an increasingly bigger share of state higher education spending.
“Rick Scott said he was going to focus on our education system — but sadly he and the Republican legislature seemed to only focus on tearing it down and making education less affordable for Florida’s middle class,” Smith said at an election-year media event held outside the Capitol.
”While the GOP has failed to improve education, they have succeeded at what they do best: prioritizing corporate tax breaks, special interest projects and Tea Party extremism ahead of Florida’s families,” he added.
Reps. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, and Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, were among the half-dozen House Democrats flanking Smith.
University spending faces a $300 million reduction in the $70 billion state budget positioned for a final vote Friday. While public school spending is boosted $1 billion in the budget, that still falls short of the $1.3 billion cut from classrooms last year, when per-pupil dollars dropped to their lowest level in six years.
“These devastating cuts to higher education make it increasingly unaffordable for students like me to attend college,” said Dominique Gelin, president of Florida College Democrats.