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Public Statements

Issue Position: Education Funding

Issue Position

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In spite of the difficult budget times facing Florida and the nation, the Florida House continues its commitment to creating an excellent educational environment in our state. In spite of facing a $3 billion budget shortfall, I am pleased that we were able to actually increase per student funding in our children's classrooms by $111 million over current funding levels.

Not only does the budget show our continued commitment to education, the Florida House passed numerous education reforms to help our students compete and excel in a 21st century economy.

We looked at innovative solutions to help our students achieve and through expanded scholarship programs, we continue to offer our students and their families choice in their education.

In order to better prepare our students to enter an ever growing global economy, we created a more rigorous course schedule. These standards will better prepare our students for success in a 21st century economy that places a premium on knowledge. Data shows, that under the current system, too many of our students are not adequately prepared for college and their careers afterward. We must give Florida's students the necessary tools to compete and succeed, and these reforms help to do just that.

We have made great strides in improving education for Florida's students since voters passed the Class Size Reduction, but now that we are entering into full the implementation stage, school districts are facing the realities of harsh inflexible caps. This November, voters will be asked to give school principals flexibility within the requirements to avoid unintended consequences -- such as having to move students between teachers mid-year, rezoning school districts, or busing students to schools with available classroom space- of the Class Size Reduction Amendment passed in 2002. I believe by going back to the voters to help right size the Class Size Amendment, we can maintain the integrity of the voter's wishes by providing smaller class sizes, but also provide school districts with flexibility so they can provide consistency to maximize student learning in their schools and classrooms.

We know it is not only how much we spend on education that matters; how we spend it matters too. By raising standards, demanding accountability and offering innovative opportunities, student achievement results are improving significantly. Florida is a national leader in education reform, and this year, the Florida House continued this charge.


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