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May 8, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Statement by Education Commissioner John L. Winn Regarding Passage of the Education Budget

"Friday the Legislature approved a record-breaking education budget in Florida. This year, the Legislature has committed a third more in education spending by approving a $19.1 billion operating budget for K-20 education. What does that mean to Florida? It means more money in the pockets of our teachers with more than $147.5 million to reward teachers for outstanding performance. It means ensuring our students succeed in reading with more than $111.8 million dedicated to reading instruction. It means more for our students — an increase of 9 percent in per pupil spending over last year. It means smaller classes with an increase of more than 42 percent in class size reduction operating funds over last year. It means more students will realize their dreams of going to college with an increase in student financial aid of 21 percent over last year. It means that we have the largest budget in Florida history to make certain our state has the best education system in the nation.

None of this would have been possible without the support and leadership of all of our state legislators. Special gratitude is due to Senator J.D. Alexander, Chair of the Senate Education Appropriations Committee, and Representative Joe Pickens, Chair of the House Educations Appropriations Committee who both committed themselves to ensure that education — the most important investment we can make — has the resources it needs for success."