Budget Passed at Last Second

Florida lawmakers went down to the wire Tuesday, agreeing on a state budget with just minutes to spare before being forced into overtime. One of the biggest sticking points was a plan to change how much money each school district gets. The changes have school districts all over Florida scrambling.

Jay Corbett crunches the numbers for Gadsden County schools. His district will gain hundreds of thousands of dollars under the re-working of the so-called district cost differential at the Capitol.

"The main thing we would use it for is to increase teacher salaries. Our salaries in this district are some of the lowest in the state," says Jay.

But some of Florida's larger school districts stand to lose millions of dollars under the proposal money they say they can't afford to lose. The battle pitted one part of the state against the others and parts of south Florida lost big.

"Let's face it, if you're from Miami-Dade County and you vote for that budget, I wouldn't want to go home," says Sen. Ron Klein, (D) Boca Raton.

The formula was based on an outdated equation that gave more money to districts with higher costs of living. With the population shifts over the past 25 years, things have changed.

Still, even the governor has reservations.

"As a policy, I think it's fair. In terms of implementation I have been concerned," Gov. Bush says.

The deal came down just minutes before the cutoff point to get the budget printed and end the legislative session on time this Friday. The cost shift will be phased in over two years under the compromise to give the losing districts time to adjust.

The budget agreement should be printed and placed on lawmakers’ desks by 8 p.m. Tuesday night. There's a three-day cooling off period before the Legislature can vote, which means the Legislature can't take a final vote on the budget until Friday night at 8 p.m., just four hours before the session expires.


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