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Scott schools’ budget big — but maybe not that big

by John Kennedy | January 27th, 2014

Scott's per-pupil dollars not mentioned in rollout.

Gov. Rick Scott’s election-year education budget, unveiled Monday in Delray Beach, is touted as including record amounts of spending for Florida schools, colleges and universities.

But one basic numbers remains elusive.

What is Scott’s per-pupil funding for K-12 students?

It wasn’t touched on by Scott or his staff — and may loom as a basic measurement that may not measure up to the biggest ever.

The state’s all-time mark for per-pupil spending was reached in 2007-8, when then-Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law a budget which included average, per-pupil spending of $7,126 for Florida’s roughly 2.7 million school kids.

The recession and budget-cutting blew a hole in that figure. It dropped to a recent low of $6,217 in Scott’s first year as governor — when he cut school spending by $1.3 billion.

Since then, back-to-back years of billion-dollar increases in school spending have brought per-pupil spending back up. But this year’s average $6,776 remains $350 short of the record reached under Crist, now Scott’s leading Democratic opponent in this fall’s governor’s race.

Scott has included a few items in his budget that appear intended to take a swipe at Crist. His $401 million motorist fee cut is the most noteworthy, since it erases a fee hike signed into law by Crist. Monday afternoon, Scott planned to make an appearance in Miami to tout a sales-tax holiday on hurricane-related purchases, last deployed by the state when Crist was governor.

On schools, the record for per-pupil spending was something many thought Scott was aiming at.

Last year, Scott proposed a $1.2 billion boost in school spending, which would have increased per pupil spending by $412. But based on that math, the $542 million increase he recommended Monday is likely to bring per-pupil spending to just around $7,000 — still below the mark reached in the good times by his Democratic nemesis.


2 Responses to “Scott schools’ budget big — but maybe not that big”

  1. Jim Burkiewicz Says:

    When it comes to the budget Rick Scott and Charlie Crist are exactly the same, big spending Republicans. Neither are fiscal conservatives, it isn’t the money per student that matters it’s getting the money down to the classroom that matters, most of the money is lost in the waist and bureaucracy of the system. both big-spending Republicans Rick Scott and Charlie Crist refused to do that. What we need is a true fiscal conservative leader to tackle the problems of the waist and bureaucracy, Only Adrian Wyllie is willing to do just that, come election time vote Adrian Wyllie to cut out waste and fraud.

  2. timtopper Says:

    When Rick Scott ran for governor, he was a multimillionaire former CEO of the largest Medicare fraud in history who moved here in 1997. His company was fined $1.7 bilion for the crimes. When he decided to run for governor and could spend $70 million to buy the election with advertising, a popular comedian said it was an IQ test for Florida. We failed.

    Now, he claims that Charlie Crist was responsible for the economic calamity of the great recession and that he is responsible for the recovery. He could also say that we have been hurricane-free because of him. Scott is not responsible for our country’s improved economy or the weather. Crist did not cause the recession and Scott did not fix it.

    Scott has been on a crusade to turn our hospitals and prison system into gold mines for the kinds of businesses he operates. He has given the auto insurance industry a blank check to seal from us. He has turned his back on us, giving our $51 billion in Medicaid funds to other states and withholding needed healthcare from our people out of work. He wrecked the rail jobs opportunity, wrecked education with firings and program cuts that will take generations to recover from. He continues to try to “purge” people who have the perfect right to vote.

    This will be another IQ test for Florida. I hope we can say “Fool us once, shame on you, but you can’t fool us twice.”

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