Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Short the Schools / Kiss the Babies

From the Sun-Sentinel:

TALLAHASSEE — House and Senate leaders signed off on a near-$58 billion state budget late Tuesday that will short South Florida schools by nearly $18 million — but does clear the way for an on-time Friday adjournment so legislators can concentrate on campaigning.

“If you’re from South Florida, this is bad,” said House Majority Leader Marco Rubio, R-Miami. “The only good news is that it was going to be worse. No one is celebrating. There’ll be no parades. No one is going to win an award over this thing.”

Countered Senate President Jim King, chief proponent of a revamping of the state’s school funding formula that hurt Miami-Dade and Broward the worst out of the state’s 67 counties: “They didn’t lose as much as they could have.”

His home county of Duval scores the most new money — $8.8 million.

The final budget deal cuts the loss from the redistribution of state aid over at least the next year. Miami-Dade stands to lose about $13 million, not the $27.8 million feared. Broward can expect a $4.3 million hit, not $8.6 million. And Palm Beach County will lose $192,000 instead of $392,037.

“There is nothing for teacher pay increases, higher gasoline and insurance costs or program changes,” said Vern Pickup-Crawford, lobbyist for Palm Beach County schools. “For those people who go home and run for re-election, I hope they don’t campaign on how well they did for public schools.”

Once again education gets the shaft. And go ahead – tell me it’s not political.