Gov. Scott announces ‘historic’ increase funding for Florida schools

“Historic funding” will be included in the 2014-15 budget for public schools, state colleges and universities, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday during a visit to a Delray Beach elementary school.

The funding includes “operating funds of $18.84 billion for K-12 public schools, $2 billion for state colleges and $3.59 billion for Florida’s public universities- all of which are the largest total investments in Florida history,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

“Building on the record K-12 education funding and teacher pay raises and classroom debit cards of last year, I am committing an historic $18.8 billion in total funding K-12 education,” Scott said in the statement. “We need to provide the tools, training and funding to give our students the best chance for success.”

The commitment to education won’t stop at the K-12 level, the governor said.

“We expect our students to get the best education at our state institutions of higher education that leads to a great job and career,” he said. “That’s why I’m also investing record total funding for state colleges of $2 billion and $3.59 billion for Florida public universities. Our students deserve the best quality education, and this funding will help to ensure that every degree achieved is followed by a great career.”

The statement also said:

The $18.8 billion in funding for K-12 education funding is the highest in Florida history and includes a record $10.6 billion in state funds. This total is a $542 million increase above the 2013-14 funding level. In addition, Governor Scott is recommending $8.4 million in professional development for principals and assistant principals and $5 million for training and technical assistance for teachers related to the implementation of state standards.

Included in the total funding for colleges and universities is $40 million of new funds for the Florida College System and $40 million in new funds for the State University System for performance funding.

The Governor’s office is working with the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education to ensure this funding will be allocated to colleges and universities based on metrics including percentage of graduates employed or continuing education, average wages of graduates, and cost per undergraduate degrees.

“Our students and teachers have led the nation in preparing for success in college, in career and in life,” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. “This historic commitment to our schools will only improve our state’s reputation as the national leader as the ideal location to learn, work and live.”

“Governor Scott has been a resourceful leader for education with creative ideas such as the $10,000 degrees from Florida colleges,” said Chancellor Randy Hanna, Florida College System. “The governor’s ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ further encourages the great work of our colleges by providing incentives to those who are most successful in strengthening Florida’s workforce and making our economy more viable.”

Marshall Criser III, Chancellor, State University System Board of Governors said, “Governor Scott’s support for Florida’s higher education system is underscored by his proposal to increase performance based funding in this budget. The Board of Governors has set objectives that best serve Florida students, families and our institutions. Governor Scott’s commitment to match new dollars with an increment of existing funding to achieve these goals positions Florida to continue to lead in developing a workforce for the growing job market and to grow Florida’s economy.”

“We are pleased to see Governor’s Scott’s continued investment in K-12 education,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of Foundation for Florida’s Future. “Our state has made the emphasis on student achievement a top priority and a precedent for education reform across the nation. We look forward to seeing how the latest budget will continue Florida’s commitment to student success.”

“Governor Scott’s investment in the future of our children will help ensure students are better prepared for successful careers. Employers across the nation will view Florida as a state with a strong, competitive talent pipeline,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Governor’s recommendations will have a lasting impact on Florida’s classrooms and our economy for years to come.”


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