Education gets a big boost from FL Legislature

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Education came out as one of the big winners this year in the legislature. Parents can expect to see more funding and power when it comes to their kid's schools.

"State-based funding for K through 12 is at the highest it's ever been," said Susan Hepworth, communications director for the Republican Party of Florida.

This year, schools will receive an increased budget reaching $11 billion. Each per student funding level differs per county, but will all go up.

Lawmakers also revised how people view grades for entire schools. It's a statewide accountability system, where they hope to grade schools more equally. It will focus on certain core subjects and requires the state Board of Education to create a district report card.

"The governor knows how important it is that we have great funding, we have great teachers," Hepworth said.

Even though funding has gone up, Democratic Party of Florida chairwoman Allison Tant says lawmakers could have done more.

"We are still trying to recover from the $1.3 billion Rick Scott stripped from our budget," Tant said.

Students at universities will also see a benefit from this legislative session. Lawmakers voted in favor of tuition changes. They got rid of a tuition differential, which allowed universities to raise it by 15 percent each year and they extended in-state tuition to certain undocumented students.

"Which is a huge win for Florida students as well as the in-state tuition for kids who are here by no fault of their own," Hepworth said.

"We can all run around saying we did this great thing for our kids, but we made it hard for them to be selected by universities," Tant added.


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