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Student Enrollment, Funding Falling

August 18th, 2009 by flanews

When school starts next week, there will be 28,000 fewer kids in the Florida school system. Researchers say Florida’s financial situation contributed to the decline by forcing families to look for jobs outside of the state. As Whitney Ray tells us, the student exodus will cost Florida schools 240-million dollars in education funding.

When elementary school Principal Sheree Cagle sounds the tardy bell next Monday, there will be 20 fewer students scrambling to find a seat.

“The whole district has seen a decline in the student population,” said Cagle.

And every time a student leaves a school, that district loses 8,500 dollars in funding.

Statewide the student population has fallen by 28,000 students, costing schools 240,000 dollars. Cagle said the drop in revenue will force schools to make tough choices.

“It usually equals less teachers and that’s what really hurts,” said Cagle.

The per-student funding reduction is just the latest financial problem facing schools. Falling property values and waning sales tax collections are costing schools billions. The Florida Education Association says lawmakers need to find new ways to fund schools.

“While we are in this area where we are not growing economically it gives us an opportunity to look at the way we structure our budgets; are we collecting the right taxes from the right people? Are we currently properly funding education,” said FEA Spokesman Mark Pudlow.

Stimulus dollars are helping to bridge a funding gap for education this year, but the unexpected decline in enrollment and falling property values could leave schools shortchanged. While enrollment is down, schools still face rising fuel, insurance, and other fixed costs.

Posted in Education, State Budget, State News | 1 Comment »

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