Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel)
Tallahassee, Florida - House Speaker Will Weatherford says education is the big winner in the proposed budget unveiled by the Florida House on Friday.
The House proposal includes an extra $1 billion for K-12 education. That's a six percent increase over this year.
An improving economy is giving lawmakers more cash to spend. The $74.4 billion spending proposal is four-and-a-half billion dollars larger than the current budget.
Weatherford says the spending plan prioritizes education.
"I think if you were to look at our budget and say who's the big winner in the budget in the Florida House of Representatives, the big winner is education."
Weatherford says the House also wants to spend $676 million for teacher raises, but ultimately, school districts would have the final say on how that money is spent.
"The reason why we like that is because it creates flexibility for the district. But the merit pay component of it is, basically what we're saying is, we're strongly encouraging and asking that whatever you spend on teacher salaries we would like for 50 percent of those dollars to be based upon merit."
The Senate budget proposal sets aside $480 million for teacher raises.