Monday, April 6, 2009

Perspective on House PreK-12 Appropriations Committee Chair Anitere Flores' Proposed Education Budget

From the House Dems:

Representative Anitere Flores, R-Miami, introduced budget recommendations today that acknowledge the importance of Florida’s Class Size Amendment and the prudence of using federal economic recovery dollars approved by Congress and President Barack Obama.

Here are a few points to remember:

*Despite a last-minute infusion of $865 million in federal economic recovery funds for Florida schools, the proposed PreK-12 spending plan would put state spending for classrooms at roughly the same as it was three years ago under the 2006-07 budget.

*Recent-year increases in per-student funding for K-12 students is owed primarily to voters’ insistence upon smaller class sizes. Under the Class Size Amendment that Florida House Republicans have proposed to unravel, the Legislature has been forced to put more than $16 billion into overcrowded schools.

*Florida still ranks among the lowest states in per-capita funding of education. Average per-student funding has been cut by $445 in the last two years.

The “Flores” budget proposal also would:

*Force all future National Board Certified teachers to work exclusively in low performing schools if they want to receive the same bonuses current national board teachers get no matter where they teach;

*Delay implementation of the class size amendment another year in the hopes that Republicans can stop any further advances in reducing overcrowding in our schools;

*Give school districts the authority to ignore long-standing teacher tenure laws by allowing them to continue giving teachers a one-year contract even after they have completed their 3-year probationary period.

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