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May 04, 2007

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Statement By:

Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg

Regarding Passage of the Education Budget

“Yesterday, the Florida Legislature demonstrated its commitment to our state's education system by approving a $24 billion education budget that sets record levels for per-student funding, reading instruction, class size reduction, and community college and workforce education funding. Despite budgetary constraints, our legislators were able to preserve current education funding levels and make significant increases of nearly $1.2 billion for K-20 education.

What do these increases mean to Florida? They provide more for our students with an increase of $455.36 in spending per pupil. They create smaller classes with an increase of more than 28 percent in class size reduction operating funds. They ensure that our students succeed in reading with nearly $200 million in state and federal funding dedicated to reading programs and initiatives. They generate more postsecondary education opportunities with an increase of almost 6 percent in community college funding. And, most importantly, they ensure that Florida’s education system has the tools it needs to prepare students for academic success, postsecondary education and the workforce.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support and leadership of all of our state legislators. I would especially like to recognize Senate President Ken Pruitt, House Speaker Marco Rubio, Senator Evelyn Lynn, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Committee, Senator Stephen Wise, Chair of the Education Pre-K – 12 Appropriations Committee, Senator Don Gaetz, Chair of the Education Pre-K – 12 Committee, and Representative Joe Pickens, Chair of the Schools and Learning Council who worked tirelessly to provide a budget that shows a clear investment in the future of our great state.