Scott’s budget-signing to focus on new school cashby John Kennedy | April 16th, 2012
Gov. Rick Scott plans to sign the 2012-13 state budget at noon, Tuesday at a public school near St. Augustine.
The $70 billion spending plan approved last month by lawmakers includes a $1 billion boost for Florida’s classroom, coming after a year in which schools absorbed a $1.3 billion reduction and per-pupil spending fell to its lowest level in six years.
Scott also will unveil budget vetoes, which he has said are likely to prove well below the record, $615 million total he eliminated from last year’s spending plan.
The budget-signing is scheduled for Cunningham Creek Elementary School, an ‘A” rated school in St. Johns County.
The school ceremony follows a pattern. Scott last week visited three schools touting the $1 billion increase, which bumps per-pupil spending up an average $150 statewide, or 2.4 percent.
But the average $6,375-per-student spending in the budget slated to take effect July 1 will be the second lowest level since 2005-06. It’s still well off the average $7,143-per-student Florida was spending in 2008 — when the recession tightened its grip on the state.
While school officials generally welcome the cash, the state’s largest teachers’ union ridiculed the approach by Scott and the Republican-ruled Legislature.
“Rick Scott and legislative leaders will bombard you with happy talk about their commitment to public education,” the Florida Education Association said in a statement. “But they haven’t even begun to clean up the mess they made last year.”