The chairman in charge of crafting the Senate's education budget proposal signaled again Thursday that Florida Gov. Rick Scott's plan to increase K-12 education dollars primarily off the checkbooks of local taxpayers isn't going to fly.
Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, is preparing his fellow senators to consider other options including ones that would require a greater share of state support -- something that's not likely to be met well by Scott, who's also seeking a $1 billion tax cut in 2016-17.
The initial presentation by Gaetz came as no surprise. The former school board member and elected school superintendent in Okaloosa County has been critical of Scott's intentions dating back to September, when Department of Education officials first broached the idea with their legislative funding request.
Scott's proposed budget, released last week, goes farther than that original ask. As one of his core priorities, along with the tax cuts, Scott aims to boost funding for K-12 schools by more than $500 million.
But only $80 million of that is extra state dollars, while $427.3 million -- or 85 percent -- would come out of property taxes that homeowners and businesses pay, revenue that’s increasing thanks to rebounding property values.