$200 million budget cut for multiple Florida school districts
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The House Appropriations Committee approving Wednesday to cut $200 million from the states budget for 12 school districts, including Leon County. The cut is a result of the multiple districts defying the states ban on mask mandates. This decision faced tough questioning during the meeting.
Democratic Representative Matt Wilhite (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?”
Republican Representative Randy Fine responding to that stance and held his ground saying “I don’t think it’s punitive. I think it’s 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 attended and spoke at the meeting. One being Marie-Clarie Leman of Fund Education Now is against the cut calling the legislation politically motivated.
“This is being done to further divide our electorate. So one legislator ideas proposing this because he thinks he can. And the rest of you are going to go along with it, stoking those divisions” said Leman
Another parent, Elizabeth Walker complained that Leon County School Administrators dared her to sue the district if she didn’t like the mask policy in place. She also touched on her daughters experience in school since the policy went into place.
“She has been denied entry into her class room without a mask. And she not given credit for any hour that she missed,” said Walker.
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.
“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,” explained Representative Fine.
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.
Copyright 2022 WCTV. All rights reserved.