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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As thousands of students graduate and move onto college or the workforce, the State Legislature is heading into a special budget session, where funding for public schools like this one could reach record highs.
Governor Rick Scott is making a request of voters.
“Get out and talk to your House and Senate members. Let them know the importance of education and importance of funding education in our state. This is a very important day to get this started.”
Surrounded by fourth graders from Dr. Carlos Finlay Elementary in Southwest Miami-Dade, Governor Scott highlighted his budget proposal to increase public school funding…in part thanks to a nearly two-billion dollar state surplus.
“This year we should have the highest per pupil funding in the history of Florida. This year we have the funds to do it, this the special session, this is the time to do it,” Governor Scott told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
It’s a budget Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho can get behind–and he continued to underscore the promise the Governor made to public school students and teachers.
“The Governor made a commitment before the session that he would boost education funding above the all time high of 2007-2008 before the recession. I think a promise made is a promise kept,” said Carvalho.
The Legislature meets Monday for a special session on the budget, which includes Governor Scott’s proposal to bring education funding back that was slashed during the recession, a big about-face since the Governor’s first term in office where he proposed slashing public education by more than a billion dollars.
“We’ve turned our economy around,” he told Zea in explaining the drastic change in funding.
And if lawmakers approve the Governor’s school funding plan, each student would see the same level of funding they had before the recession and budget cuts–plus an additional $50 each. Finlay Elementary Principal Cecilia Sanchez says that extra money would help.
“It may seem only $50 dollars per student but we’re not taking them shopping, we’re putting all of those dollars together and really making them work toward students.”
The superintendent pointed out that Miami-Dade voters passing a bond to pay for physical improvements and maintenance of schools helped them make due during the recession. But now, he wants more financial help from the state for everything from teachers’ salaries, to textbooks, and desks.
“We’ve done our part, now it’s time for Tallahassee to do its part.”