It’s become one of the perennial fights in the Florida Legislature.
In one corner: cash-strapped school systems with aging facilities and billions of dollars tied up in debt service.
In the other: charter schools looking to build and refurbish facilities of their own.
Both want dollars from the Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) trust fund, an ever shrinking pot of money generated by a disappearing tax on cable TV and land-line telephones.
This year, the Senate, House and Gov. Rick Scott all want to split the K-12 portion between charter schools and traditional school districts. It’s a departure from recent years, when only charter schools landed the funds. The wrangling has already begun.
There is some common ground: Both charter schools and school districts support a bill that would shift revenue from an existing tax on commercial energy consumption to the PECO fund.
But the bill may be a tough sell to Scott.
“The governor’s budget prioritizes K-12 education, without creating more debt or permanently earmarking general funds, limiting future flexibility,” Scott spokesman John Tupps said in a a statement. “For these reasons, we have concerns about the proposal.”
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