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More on those proposed schools cuts

Here's a breakdown of some of the budget-slashing proposals made by a Florida House panel Tuesday:

  • Cut any budget line-item funded by non-recurring (read: one-time) money. That includes programs funded by nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus funds that run out this year -- and more than $788,000 for the New World School of the Arts in downtown Miami, the only school with its own source of funding in the state education budget.
  • Eliminate or drastically reduce funding for programs outside the classroom, including money for low-performing schools to prepare students for Advanced Placement courses; funding for mentoring programs like Best Buddies and Big Brothers Big Sisters; dollars for autism programs at universities across the state, and money for the principal, teacher and school-related employee of the year.
  • Move schools toward using more (cheaper) electronic textbooks by requiring that school districts spend half of their state money for instructional materials for electronic and digital editions by the 2012-13 school year.
  • Authorize voluntary pre-kindergarten programs to increase the number of students per classroom.
  • Allow schools to enroll new students into full classes after October, when the state measures compliance with constitutional class-size requirements. Schools would be able to increase the number of students in classrooms provided they come up with a class-size compliance plan for the following year.

Rep. Michael Bileca, a Miami Republican, said he hoped that class-size measure would save more than $25 million, as expected.

"There's really not a lot of savings," said Rep. Marti Coley, the chairwoman of the Pre-K-12 House committee who made the proposals. "It's a constitutional amendment. We have to do it."