Florida Legislature Poised to Approve Budget, End Session as Concerns Over Education Funding Continue

Florida legislators are poised to approve roughly $83 billion in spending for the coming year and officially end their session.

The Florida Legislature on Monday will vote on a new budget and several related bills.

The session was supposed to end last week, but legislative leaders didn't reach an agreement on a new budget in time. State law requires the budget to be finished 72 hours before a final vote.

Legislators also are expected to vote for bills tied to the budget that make sweeping changes to public schools and Florida's colleges and universities.

Those changes are having some, including local officials and state agencies, calling for legislators to vote no on the current budget – in spite of what they say are positive elements such as daily recess and testing reforms.

The money spent will drop by $27 for each student in the state. Officials from groups like the Florida PTA as well as administrators across the state say it will leave too many vulnerable children behind.

Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, who pointed out that Florida’s per student funding is already below the national average, calls it a “significant blow” to public education – saying he would have to cut $6 million from their budget as a result.

While the session is supposed to end Monday, legislators may have to come back. That's because Gov. Rick Scott may veto the entire budget. He has criticized legislators for ignoring some of his top priorities.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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