Veto FEFP too, Florida School Boards Association tells Gov. Rick Scott
Two days after calling for a veto of the Legislature's education conforming bill, the Florida Association of School Boards upped the ante by asking Gov. Rick Scott to reject the proposed Florida Education Funding Program as well.
The group's executive director and president sent the governor a two-page letter echoing concerns about the spending plan that have been rebounding across the state since the Legislature approved the budget.
Even though the bottom line figure is $240 million more than in the current year -- something supporters touted as historic and significant -- many critics have observed that the bulk of the new money is for enrollment growth and another big chunk goes to increased retirement plan contributions.
"This leaves about $24 million that would be further consumed by increases in necessary basic operating expenses for items such as health care, workers compensation insurance, and utilities," the FSBA leaders wrote. "After these off-the-top deductions, an insufficient amount remains to adequately serve our students and to prepare them to succeed in post-secondary education and/or their chosen careers."
They said the "meager" funding was avoidable, in that the Legislature could have allowed school districts to leave their property tax rates flat and benefit from increased property values. The Senate and Scott supported such a move, but the House firmly opposed it.
"The result of this roll-back is the removal of more than $500 million in potential local funding for education programs and services which this budget makes no significant effort to replace with state funding. We cannot support this practice of freezing the RLE revenue as it will echo forward into succeeding fiscal years a dangerous and unsustainable funding structure," they wrote.