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May 30, 2007
Governor Crist Signs Budget Funding Education at Record Levels
TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist signed the Fiscal Year 2007-2008 budget, which includes $24.1 billion for K-20 education. Increases in funding will enable school districts to provide more reading instruction to students, reduce class size and offer virtual tutoring.
“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Crist, Lt. Governor Kottkamp, Senate President Ken Pruitt and House Speaker Marco Rubio, the state continues to invest wisely in its education system,” said Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg. “This budget provides schools and educators with the tools needed to prepare students for academic success, postsecondary education and the workforce.”
Highlights of the 2007-2008 budget are:
- Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) Funding – For the K-12 FEFP, an increase of $1.2 billion or 6.8 percent, for a total of $19.3 billion. This brings per pupil spending to $7,305.79, an increase of more than 6 percent compared to the current funding.
- Reading Funding – Reading instruction is critical to student success in all subjects. To maintain and increase support for reading instruction in Florida schools, the budget provides $195.4 million in state and federal funding for reading programs and initiatives, including additional reading coaches. Of this amount, $116.9 million is funded through the FEFP, an increase of 4.6 percent over last year’s FEFP reading funding.
- Class Size – To ensure compliance with the Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2002, the Legislature approved $2.7 billion to reduce class sizes – an increase of more than 28 percent compared to last year. In addition, there is $650 million in capital dollars for construction of schools.
- Virtual Tutoring – The budget includes $3 million for online, virtual tutoring programs, which will be available to all of Florida’s public school students and will be aligned to the Sunshine State Standards.
- Teacher Lead Money – An increase of more than 6 percent in funding for teacher lead money – a stipend that enables teachers to buy additional supplies for their classrooms.
- Community Colleges – Florida’s Community Colleges received an overall increase of nearly 6 percent or $69 million. This includes a $2.2 million, or 24 percent, increase for baccalaureate degree programs and $20 million for SUCCEED Florida grants to help meet the state’s critical workforce shortages in teaching, nursing and allied health professions.
- Workforce Education – Also helping to meet Florida’s critical workforce needs and provide citizens with lifelong learning opportunities are the state’s Workforce Education programs, which received an overall increase of nearly 2.5 percent. Included is $14.75 million to continue the new Ready to Work Credential Program, which provides students of all ages with an opportunity to earn a credential that demonstrates his or her ability to enter the workforce with the skills necessary for success.
For more information on Florida's education budget, visit www.myflorida.com.