Minutes after meeting with teachers union representatives for the first time since taking office, Gov. Rick Scott announced tonight that he will not support any cuts in education funding in the next budget.
Scott's office issued a press release that included the new edict shortly after he finished a press conference standing side-by-side with Florida Education Association president Andy Ford. That would be the teachers union that opposed his bid for governor and has several lawsuits pending against the state. Ford and other teachers union leaders had a two-hour dinner with Scott at the governor's mansion, and a follow-up meeting is scheduled for next week.
Scott has spent the week on an educational listening tour, meeting in small groups with teachers, parents and students. He said the school visits were about listening and helping him shape his policy for the spring legislative session, but the statement released at 9:42 p.m. tonight puts a clear line in the sand when it comes to funding.
“In our dinner tonight, I told the FEA that as we continue to develop our education agenda we are going to at a minimum sustain current state funding for education in the next budget and depending on the state’s economic outlook, aim to increase education funding where we can improve student outcomes," the governor said in the news release.