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Funding

House, Senate far apart on school funding

Jim Saunders / News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE --- Florida House and Senate leaders will go into budget negotiations hundreds of millions of dollars apart on spending for the state’s public schools. House Republicans on Wednesday released an initial proposal that calls for a $579.3 million increase next year in the key part of the budget for public schools, a 2.75 percent bump per student. That came a day after Senate leaders proposed a $1.1 billion increase, or 4.71 percent per student. Funding for what is known as the Florida Education Finance Program, or FEFP, is always one of the most closely...

Reviewing the past as a path to the future

Editor’s note: March 2 marked the 20th anniversary of the legislative session in which Florida Gov. Jeb Bush launched a series of K-12 reforms that transformed education throughout the state. (No, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years either.) Beginning today, as the 2019 Florida legislative session is set to open, and continuing for several months, redefinED will examine aspects of Bush’s K-12 education revolution. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was 20 years ago today When Gov. Jeb Bush taught the ed reform band to play They’ve been going in and out of style But they’re guaranteed to get sued at trial So may I introduce to you The...

Applications for Florida Tax Credit Scholarship remain strong

Interest in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship is continuing to surge in the wake of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Feb. 15 request for creation of a new state-funded program to ensure demand from lower-income and working class parents for educational choice can be met. At the time of the governor’s proposal for an “equal opportunity scholarship,” Step Up For Students, the nonprofit that administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, was averaging 1,550 new student applications a day. As of Thursday, Step Up, which hosts this blog, had received 25,299 applications for 36,026 new students, of which 10,824 have been found eligible. Applications from...
private schools

Private school generosity provides relief for families on scholarship wait list

By Scott Kent and Donna Winchester Some people just can’t take “no” for an answer. Among them are administrators at hundreds of Florida private schools that are providing free and reduced tuition to thousands of students on the waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. A case in point: Sunrise Academy in Orange City, a preK-12 school that enrolls 157 students. Founder and president Yahayra Marte, who describes Sunrise’s philosophy as “leave no one behind, like the military,” has waived tuition for 42 students. She’s reduced fees for another 15 students. Marte estimates that Sunrise has taken a $312,000 financial hit, which...
charter schools

Keith Jacobs: Wishing for equitable funding for ed choice

By Keith Jacobs As both an educator and a parent, my wish this holiday season centers around an essential building block for ramping up success for low-income and minority students – equitable funding for educational choice. Funding is often the centerpiece in debates on the quality of the educational experience. What is missing from this debate are the implicit biases that negatively impact families who benefit from educational choice. These families are rarely, if ever, adequately represented in these discussions. What is also missing are basic facts about the degree to which choice options are funded. Quality education has always been afforded...
school safety

Parkland Commission recommends sheriffs train school staff by law

The Marjory Stoneman High School Public Safety Commission wants lawmakers to require Florida’s sheriffs to train public school staffers to carry a gun on campus. The commission voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend the change to a guardian program that was named after the Stoneman Douglas coach, Aaron Feis, who died protecting students. The program provides law enforcement training to public school staffers, excluding teachers, who want to carry a gun on campus, but current law does not require sheriff’s offices to participate. So far, only 25 of 67 school districts are participating in the program, according to the Florida Department...

Florida’s gains give hope for the future – but hope is not a plan

  This is the state of things. Now, make your plans.                                                             -Sophocles Antigone Florida is getting it from both barrels of the age demographic gun – a rise in the elderly, super-elderly and youth all at the same time. On average, 10,000 Baby Boomers per day will reach the age of 65 until 2030, whereupon all surviving Boomers have reached retirement age. For the Florida economy, retirees are a way of life and benefit the state’s economy as they come in and buy condos. But the pain to the state budget hits later, when they near the end and draw...
charter schools

Gap persists on charter funding

Charter schools have become a popular choice for families seeking alternative ways to educate their children. In 2017-18, more than 7,000 charter schools in the United States enrolled nearly 3.2 million students, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year. Even though charters are public schools, they have been consistently underfunded compared to their traditional public school counterparts. A new study released this week offers a fresh look at this ongoing – and in some cases, increasing – inequity. Researchers at the University of Arkansas, led by Corey A. DeAngelis of the Cato Institute and Patrick J. Wolf of the...