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School Funding Cuts This Year, Next Year

March 3rd, 2008 by flanews

Lawmakers will decide how to cut more than 300 million dollars from the state’s education budget. The cuts come while school leaders worry about amendment one taking an additional chunk out of available funds. As Whitney Ray tells us, cuts made before July are just the first wave for schools, and lawmakers will cut even more.

Hear it here: School Funding Cuts This Year, Next Year

The fear of impending budget cuts has Educators across the state tightening their belts.

“We’re really going have to look at our enrollment numbers for next year and really look at decreasing our overhead,” said Leon County High School Assistant Principal Bill Epting.

With foreclosures reaching record highs and people in fear of a recession, many Floridians aren’t spending, which means no sales tax revenue.

“We can’t buy groceries like we should. We can’t go out and buy clothes like we should,” said Josephine Miller who is struggling financial because of mortgage problems.

Lawmakers must slice 542 million from the current budget. Three hundred fifty million dollars will come from public school funding.

“We’ve been working with the commissioner of education, the school board association and the superintendents association to make sure it doesn’t affect the classroom in any great degree,” said state senator Stephen Wise.

While millions will be cut by July of this year, Governor Charlie Crist wants to increase education spending by a billion dollars in the 2008 – 2009 fiscal year. Lawmakers aren’t so optimistic.

“The real problem will probably be next year when teachers, we give the money in a lump sum to the school districts and I suspect the school districts will not have enough money to give the teachers pay raises,” said Wise.

The Budget will be a hot issue as the 2008 legislative session begins this week. Despite the Governor’s recommendations, where money gets cut and who takes the brunt of the blow remains up to legislators. Both educators and lawmakers says they’ll do what they can to keep from cutting jobs, and will only look at teaching positions as a last option.

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