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PRESS RELEASE

August 22, 2001

CONTACT: Lauren Cain
Director of Communications
850-201-7406

Florida Board of Education Approves State’s First K-20 Education Budget

Tampa — The Florida Board of Education made history today, voting to recommend the state’s first coordinated education budget for kindergarten through graduate school. The $12.8 billion proposal represents the first education budget to be co-planned by the three education delivery systems and to reflect a realistic request for state funding resources to support educational priorities.

"Our actions today demonstrate that you can be an advocate for education and still be realistic in allocating resources," said Phil Handy, chairman of the Florida Board of Education. "This is dramatically different from what has been submitted in the past. The outcome will be that the budget will be considered in a more realistic way by the Governor and the Legislature."

The board is required to submit a budget request to the Governor by August 31 for consideration by the 2002 Legislature for budget year 2002-2003. Previously, each education delivery system developed and submitted separate, unrelated budget requests. As a result, last year’s budget requests were $1.3 billion over available resources approved by the Legislature. It is a priority of the Florida Board to develop a realistic, relevant and responsible budget request that reflects the educational priorities of the state as a whole.

"For the first time, Floridians have one source to determine how education is funded," said Jim Horne, secretary of the Florida Board of Education, who developed and presented the budget recommendations to the board in partnership with Education Commissioner Charlie Crist. He brought together, for the first time, budget directors from public schools, community colleges, state universities and workforce to co-plan and identify statewide priorities for education. These include assisting low performing students, enhancing the quality of teaching and increasing student performance.

"This represents the seamless aspects of our new education governance system," Horne said. "We constructed a realistic budget using guiding principles in law for the K-20 education system. This is a major departure from past budgets."

The Legislative Budget Request represents the funding from general revenue, Lottery dollars and other funds. It includes:

  • An increase of $650 million in general revenue, a 6.3 percent increase over the current budget.
  • A record 47.8 percent increase in general revenue financial aid, marking the largest increase in need-based financial aid.
  • A 24 percent increase in funding for Bright Futures scholarships.
  • A 275 percent increase in funding financial aid for part time students, reflecting an emphasis on increasing access for all students.
  • In all, it provides $90.3 million more for all financial aid programs.
  • A recommended 5 percent increase in tuition for state universities and community colleges. Even with the increase, tuition for Florida universities remains among the lowest in the country.
  • A 4.9 percent increase in funding for public schools. This includes a 3 percent increase per student, from $5,100 per student to $5,253 per student.
  • A 7.4 percent increase for workforce development, including a K-20 strategy to address shortages in critical workforce areas such as nursing, information technology, engineering and teaching.
  • A 7.3 percent increase for community colleges. This includes funding for a K-16 partnership with low performing public schools.