Millions more dollars are headed to Florida’s public schools if Jeb Bush has his way. The governor’s proposed budget boosts spending per student to more than $6,300.
Gov. Jeb Bush says, "Education remains our state’s number one priority. We propose to spend more than $17 billion on K-12 education this year. This is $1.1 billion more than the current year.
More than $186 million will go into reading programs, including a mandatory course for struggling middle schoolers.
The governor’s budget would also put $400 million into Florida’s new pre-kindergarten program. It boosts community college spending by $83 million and puts an additional $119 million into universities.
But the governor’s critics say even with the increases, he’s still short-changing education. They point to proposed tax cuts benefiting the wealthiest Floridians while teacher salaries remain among the lowest in the nation.
Teacher’s union spokesman Mark Pudlow says schools are still being forced to cut art and other popular programs while the governor hands out 300 million new dollars in tax relief.
Mark Pudlow says, "That money could have been used to fully implement class size, give teacher salary increases."
The class size amendment remains a sore spot with the governor. He’s reluctantly proposing $500 million to continue reducing the number of students per class, but expect him to push for a repeal effort in the coming months.