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House education budget pumps up spending, tuition

by John Kennedy | March 27th, 2013

The Florida House would increase school spending by $395 per-pupil next year while also allowing Florida colleges and universities to boost tuition by 6 percent, under an education budget released Wednesday.

Education Budget chairman Erik Fresen, R-Miami, said the spending plan is also likely to include $2,500 teacher pay raises — a priority of Gov. Rick Scott. Details are still being worked out.

“Right now, we are exceeding it,” Fresen said of the pay-raise effort.

But there are clear areas of friction.

Scott has recommended a $412-per-pupil increase — bringing spending to $6,800 for each of Florida’s 2.7 million students. That’s edging closer to the state’s high-water mark, $7,126 reached during the pre-recession 2006-07 school year.

Scott also reiterated his opposition Tuesday to tuition increases.

“I’m against tuition increases. This is a tax, this is a tax on students, it is a tax on families. We can’t be raising the cost of getting a higher education in this state,” Scott said.

Among the more controversial provisions of the House budget is what Fresen called a recalibration of the state’s school funding formula. The rewrite changes how students taking online classes are calculated — a move which supporters of Florida Virtual School — condemed Wednesday.

Florida Virtual School is the nation’s largest K-12 online system. It’s been used by many students to take a seventh class — above the standard six offered by many school districts — and in rural counties where online students can access classes not available in classrooms, supporters said.

Vern Pickup-Crawford, lobbyist for the Palm Beach County School Board, said the revamped formula would likely cost the county about $5 million.


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One Response to “House education budget pumps up spending, tuition”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I do not understand the justification for these tuition rate increases year after year after year other than perhaps supply and demand market forces in play. The quality of the education provided at Florida state universities has certainly not improved and neither has the value of most college degrees in landing you a good paying job. I question the wisdom of taking out a loan to purchase a degree unless there is a very high likely hood you will be able to pay it off quickly by working in your chosen profession. Colleges should be required to publish statistics on the percentage of their graduates who are on track in repayment of their student loans categorized by discipline. This would serve as a bellwether to parents and students on the quality of the education at that university as well as the regional job market for a given career. Too many people are going into debt to get a degree and end up finding out that many of these pieces of paper are practically worthless. I would much rather hire a high school graduate with aptitude for the work I need done and teach him or her how to perform successfully in the field than a college grad with no practical life experiences complete with an attitude who figures he should get top pay just because he has purchased an expensive degree. Some of the graduate engineers I have worked with don’t even know which end of a screw driver to hold on too much less how to trouble shoot problems and neither do many of their professors. The old adage still holds true, those who can do and those who can’t teach. I would like to see a return of the technical school as a driver for creating a more productive work force and less emphasis on how much money you spent on your so called higher education.

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