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PRESS RELEASE

January 20, 2004

Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner Jim Horne Announce Proposed 2004 Education Budget
Proposed increase of nearly 1.26 billion across the K-20 system aimed at making reading, education a continuing priority in Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner Jim Horne today announced the Governor's proposed 2004-05 K-20 Education Budget. The proposed budget recommends an increase of nearly 1.26 billion in education funding. The increase includes additional funding across the K-20 education system.

"Education must continue to be a priority in our state," said Governor Bush. "From investing more in reading to focusing K-12 resources on the students that need it most, from ensuring that community colleges are properly funded to helping universities build on our research and emerging technology base, nothing is more essential to economic development and opportunities for Florida's families than access to a quality education."

"Governor Bush's budget recommendations demonstrate his continued commitment to ensuring that all students in Florida receive a high quality education," said Commissioner Horne. "His principled investment in proven methods will help Florida continue on its path of rising student achievement and access to higher education."

The Governor's budget recommendations include:

  • K-12: An increase of $1.0 billion for K-12 through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). This represents a 7.12 percent increase from the current year budget. Total enrollment is expected at 2.6 million, which includes an increase of 55,400 students for 2004-05.

  • Per student funding: The Governor's budget recommends a $267.50, or 4.85 percent, increase per student over Fiscal Year 2003-04. As a result, districts will receive an average of $6,097 per full-time-equivalent student, up from $5,830 this year. Over the past six years, per student funding has increased more than $1,200 per student.

  • Just Read, Florida!: An increase of $23.3 million for reading programs through Just Read, Florida! for additional reading coaches, diagnostic assessments, and teacher professional development opportunities.

  • Community Colleges: An increase of $104.5 million in direct support to community colleges. This represents an increase of 7.6 percent — the largest increase in community college funding in 14 years. In addition, the Governor's budget recommends $22.3 million for academic matching grants and $8.5 million for facilities matching grants, fully funding the backlog of community college matching grants.

  • Universities: An increase of $144.1 million, or 5.7 percent in direct support to universities, which includes $131.4 million to support additional student enrollment and $10 million to address critical areas of need in Florida, such as teachers and nurses. The Governor's budget recommends a $20 million increase in funding for the state's Centers of Excellence program, which fosters innovative, cutting-edge technology research at Florida's colleges and universities.

  • Scholarships and Financial Aid: The Governor's budget includes an increase of $12 million in need-based aid in the Florida Student Assistance Grants Program, $10 million for Project STARS which provides Florida Prepaid College contracts to needy students, and a $24.1 million increase for Bright Futures scholarships, which fully funds the scholarship program.

For more information on the Governor's budget recommendations, visit his e-budget at www.myflorida.com.