Florida governor vows record education spending in re-election bid

TALLAHASSEE Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:09pm EDT

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a ceremony opening new newsroom facilities for the Univision and Fusion television networks in Doral, Florida August 28, 2013.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a ceremony opening new newsroom facilities for the Univision and Fusion television networks in Doral, Florida August 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper

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TALLAHASSEE (Reuters) - Governor Rick Scott, under intense criticism by his main opponent for cuts in school spending, on Thursday promised record spending on education next year if he wins a tough re-election campaign.

“My mom taught me that a good education was the way out of poverty and I want all Floridians to have the opportunity to receive a great education and have their shot at the American Dream,” Scott said in announcing his plan.

“By increasing per-pupil spending to historic levels next year, school districts will have more resources to provide Florida children the best education possible.”

   Scott said he will budget more than $19.6 billion for education in 2015 legislative session, if he is in office. That is about $700 million more than this year’s spending, and would raise per-student spending to $7,176.

   The governor’s office said such a funding level would be $232 per student more than this year’s state education funding and about $50 more than the old record, set in 2007-08 by the first budget of ex-Governor Charlie Crist, who is running against him.

    Crist, a former Republican running as a Democrat, last week made a statewide tour in a yellow school bus to blast Scott for $1.3 billion in education spending cuts in 2011. Spending was increased in later legislative sessions but Crist has hammered his Republican successor with criticism that per-pupil expenditures remain lower than when he left office.

   The Crist campaign issued a brief statement accusing Scott of using his office to make campaign promises, banking on a projected $1.1 billion increase in state revenues next year.

   “No right-minded parent or teacher in this state believes Rick Scott – the same guy who cut K-12 education by $1.3 billion – cares about anything but holding on to power so he can keep giving away our tax dollars to corporations,” said Crist spokesman Brendan Gilfillan.

“In his taxpayer-funded campaign statement, he admits that Charlie Crist holds the record for per-student funding, almost $200 higher than what Rick Scott is spending, despite Scott collecting billions more in taxes.”

(Editing by David Adams and Eric Walsh)

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Comments (4)
SunnyDaySam wrote:
Hilarious! Rick Scott has done a 180 and is saying anything to get elected again. Voters should just look at what he DID, not what he promises. heck, Scott Walker promised 250,000 Jobs in WI and that didn’t happen. vote anti-R. For your own sake.

Aug 21, 2014 7:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JustProduce wrote:
He does not need to change. Public schools are terrible while the new charter institutions are delivering much better education.

Aug 22, 2014 9:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JustProduce wrote:
Funny that people attack for education spending at the same time that we are seeing real innovation in all the new schools. While the old public schools continue to worry about tenure and about not passing the problem of under-performing students to the next grade, new charter and choice schools offer curriculums highlighting science and art. Students are being challenged like never before without the fear of pissing anyone off. As a parent, I would rather take his results than any promise for more tax spending.

Aug 22, 2014 9:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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