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PRESS RELEASE

February 1, 2006

Jennifer Fennell or
Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Bush/Jennings 2006-2007 Budget Funds Education at Record Levels

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush and Lt. Governor Toni Jennings today unveiled their 2006-2007 budget recommendations to fund Florida's public education system at record levels. Nearly $33 billion in budget recommendations will help better prepare students for Kindergarten, close the achievement gap and meet the state's workforce needs.

"The budget recommendations made by Governor Bush and Lt. Governor Jennings will ensure that Florida's public education system has the resources it needs for our students to achieve academic success," said Florida Education Commissioner John L. Winn. "By recruiting more teachers and increasing the opportunity for students to attend college, we make a wise investment in today's learners and tomorrow's workforce."

The Bush/Jennings budget recommendations include:

  • Voluntary Prekindergarten Program: Florida's Pre-K program will see $387.5 million to enroll more than 135,000 four-year-olds under the Bush/Jennings budget proposal 2006-2007. This will provide $2,640 per child, a 5.6 percent increase.
  • K-12 Public School Funding: Florida's K-12 schools will see a $1.2 billion increase under the Bush/Jennings budget proposal, totaling $18 billion for 2006-2007. Since 1998-1999, public school funding has increased by more than 64.29 percent ($7.17 billion) and per student spending has increased by more than 39.57 percent ($1,929 per student).
  • Reading Initiatives: Governor Bush and Lt. Governor Jennings are committed to all children reading at or above grade level by 2012. To further this goal, their budget proposal includes $189.9 million, a 19.7 percent increase in state and federal funds over current spending.
  • Class Size Amendment Requirements: Beginning with the 2006-2007 school year, districts must meet a school-by-school class size average to comply with the requirements of the class size amendment. To further implement Florida's class size mandate, the budget proposes $2.1 billion in operating funds — a 41 percent increase over current spending — and $1.98 billion in capital outlay funding.
  • Workforce Development: Florida's dedication to building an educated, skilled workforce to attract companies and investment to our state and to keep them here is critical to the economy. A proposal of $1.33 billion will prepare Florida students for high-skill, high-wage jobs, as well as to provide adult education including literacy instruction and adult high school preparation.
  • Community Colleges Funding: Florida's community colleges play a critical role in helping students reach their career goals. Under the Bush/Jennings proposal, Florida's community college programs will receive $1.7 billion in funding, a 58.3 percent increase since 1998-1999. In addition, to help community colleges expand facilities to meet the growing number of students, $338.7 million for capital outlay and $19 million in facility challenge grants are recommended. This budget ensures that more students are able to earn their Associate of Arts degree, as well as increase the number of transfers to state universities.
  • State Universities Funding: Florida's higher education system has given millions of Floridians the chance to realize their potential, pursue their dreams and prepare to enter the workforce. For 2006-2007, the proposed $3.43 billion is a 10.7 percent increase over the current year. These funds include $200 million for the proposed World Class Scholars and Centers of Excellence programs. These programs will help build the necessary infrastructure and attract leading researchers to make Florida a hub of high-tech innovation.

"Each one of these education budget recommendations is a testament to how committed Governor Bush and the Department of Education are to seeing Florida's students succeed," said Florida State Board of Education Chairman Phillip Handy. "Investments made in the classroom reap benefits for the entire state."

For more information on the Governor's budget recommendations and Florida's rising student achievement, visit www.myflorida.com or the DOE Web site at www.fldoe.org.