TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Backing a pledge made by Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Board of Education has approved a proposed 2015-16 budget that includes record per-student funding for public schools.

The proposal is an initial step in a months-long process that will end with lawmakers passing a state budget next spring.

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As he seeks re-election, Scott has called for the public-school funding formula to include $7,176 per student next year, the same number included in the Board of Education proposal Monday. The proposal would be a $232 per-student increase over the current year.

Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand said the proposal includes “historic” levels of funding.

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“I think we all know this is an investment in our future,” Chartrand said. “It will pay dividends for Florida.”

If approved by the Legislature, the $7,176 per-student total would top a previous high of $7,126 reached when former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist was in office. With Crist running as a Democrat this year to try to unseat Scott, education funding has become a heavily debated issue during the campaign.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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