FEA Press Release from March 1st.
What’s “historic” just isn’t what it used to be.
Like Gov. Rick Scott did when he laid out his budget proposal, legislative leaders are currently touting the education budget numbers that they’ve agreed on as “historic.” Their rationale is that the total amount allocated for public schools in the current budget proposal is $7,178 per student and that tops the $7,126 figure that was the previous high, way back in the 2007-08 school year. Any person with common sense knows that inflation changes the value of money over time – certainly over the course of nearly a decade. Unless you make that adjustment, our schools are forced to provide less to our students, purchase less, and pay our teachers and education staff professionals less.
In fact, to truly equal the historic high of nearly a decade ago, today’s Legislature would have to fund education per student at least $8,145, according to figures provided by the federal government. That means the Legislature’s education budget proposal is nearly $1,000 per student short of being truly historic.
“You can’t compare these numbers unless you adjust for inflation,” said Florida Education Association (FEA) President Joanne McCall. “Today’s dollar simply doesn’t go as far as it did a decade ago. There’s nothing ‘historic’ about this budget. It barely moves the needle.” McCall added that Florida continues to be ranked near the bottom on per-pupil spending.
“If legislators really want to have a ‘historic’ education budget, they must provide our students, districts, teachers and other school employees with the funding needed to provide what’s necessary for our children to be successful in public schools,” McCall said. “Slapping the word ‘historic’ on this budget is simply misleading the public.”