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Budget Cuts for 12 School Districts Move Forward

February 9th, 2022 by Mike Vasilinda

The full House Appropriations Committee today approved cutting 200 million from the budgets of 12 districts that defied the states ban on mask mandates. But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, even with the cuts, lawmakers say each district will still have more money than the current year.

The sponsor of the move to cut a combined 200 million from 12 school districts that defied the states ban on mask mandates faced tough questioning Wednesday.

Representative Matt Wilhite (D-Palm Beach) asked “How is this not punitive to those twelve counties, or the parents in those twelve counties. You want to talk about parents, putting parents first?”

He was followed by Representative Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) “Putting parents first was intended to be punitive to the school districts that received those deductions?”

But Rep. Randy Fine held his ground.

“I don’t think its punitive” responded Fine. “I think its holding people accountable, and I think it is saying that we expect that the laws we pass be followed by all of our school districts.”

Two parents, both from Leon County spoke…one against.

Marie-Claire Leman of Fund Education Now called the legislation politically motivated. 

“This is being done to further divide our electorate. So one legislator ids proposing this because he thinks he can. And the rest of you are going to go along with it, stoking those divisions” said Leman. 

Parent Elizabeth Walker complained Leon school administrators dared her to sue if she didn’t like the mask policy” said walker..

 

 

“She has been denied entry into her class room without a mask. And she not given credit for any hour that she missed.

The budget was approved with the cuts. 

If these cuts remain in the budget, all twelve districts are still going to have more money in the next year than they do right now, but not as much as they would have had if they hadn’t bucked the state.

Representative Randy Fine told members “There’re going to have more funding per student, they’re going to have more funding over all. This is a way to send a message, an important message.”

So far there has been no effort to push the cuts in the Senate. But they are likely to be an issue when negotiations begin.

This coming school year Florida will spend 28 billion dollars on public education, up from 26.7 billion in the current year.

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