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Press Release

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Governor Crist Signs 2008-09 Budget
~ Education funding provides for the continuation of student learning gains ~

TALLAHASSEE – The Fiscal Year 2008-09 budget was signed today by Governor Charlie Crist. The budget contains education funding to continue long-term academic gains that Florida students have experienced over the last decade. These learning gains are further evidenced by Florida’s performance on national and state measures.

“I commend Governor Crist and the Florida Legislature for the admirable work they have done in preparing next year’s budget,” said Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith. “Despite the limited revenue available for next year, they were able to craft a budget that allows us to build upon the tremendous educational progress Florida has made.”

Florida’s achievements are demonstrated in recent educational assessments that have ranked the state near the top of the nation in student performance. The 2008 Quality Counts report placed Florida 14th in the nation, a 17 place jump compared to last year’s ranking of 31st. In addition, Florida’s latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Advanced Placement (AP) and Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) all demonstrate increased student performance.

Education funding highlights for the 2008-09 budget include:

  • Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) Funding – The K-12 FEFP is funded at a total of $18.4 billion. Although this is a reduction of 1.77 percent ($332.3 million) compared to last year, it represents a $423.7 million or 2.36 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2006-07.
  • Per Student Funding – Average per student funding is set at $6,997.37. This is a reduction of 1.84 percent ($130.85) compared to last year, but represents a $179.02 or 2.63 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2006-07;
  • Required Local Effort (RLE) – The RLE and Discretionary Local Effort (DLE) millage rates are reduced to maintain overall local funding at the current year’s level.
  • Class Size – To ensure compliance with the Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2002, the Legislature approved an additional $168.4 million for Class Size Reduction for 2008-09.
  • Teacher Performance Pay – The Merit Award Program (MAP) has been fully funded for eligible districts at $32.1 million to continue recognizing and rewarding outstanding teachers in Florida.
  • Excellent Teaching Program – Funds 10 percent salary bonuses for teachers who hold National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification.

For more information on Florida's education budget, visit www.flgov.com/budget.