Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Superintendent Kurt Browning’s Letter to Governor Rick Scott

The letter below and attached from Superintendent Kurt Browning to Governor Rick Scott was hand-delivered today.

March 14, 2018


The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor of Florida
PL 01, The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0100

Dear Governor Scott:

I am writing to respectfully request that you veto the Florida Education Finance Program in the state budget.

The proposed Base Student Allocation (BSA) increase of $.47 per student statewide (.01%) equals an additional $34,613.29 for Pasco County Schools for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. This amount is not even close to one starting teacher’s salary. What’s worse, compared to the 3rd calculation, Pasco County Schools will see a decrease of more than $2 in our Base Student Allocation from our 2017-2018 funding, due to a reduced District Cost Differential.

The overall FEFP per-student increase for Pasco’s children is only $88.49 each, compared to the statewide average of $101.50 per student. If it were not for the 1,001 new students projected to enroll in Pasco schools next year, we would not see any new money. This is not the historical increase the Legislature suggests it is. It mandates the specific programs on which almost all of the increase must be spent, primarily on safe schools and mental health programs, removing any flexibility districts have to decide how best to appropriate the funds based on their individual needs.

Although I strongly support funding school safety measures, the majority of the increased FEFP is for student safety at the expense of educating our students. This increase in funding per student will not cover inflation (increased mandatory retirement contributions, costs for utilities, property insurance, and health care coverage for employees), or teacher raises.

Thank you for your efforts to truly increase per student funding. Please use your authority as governor to force the Legislature to adequately fund public school operations by vetoing the FEFP and calling the Legislature back for a special session to provide us with an operating budget that both enhances school safety and provides the funding necessary to educate Florida’s public school children.

Sincerely,


Kurt S. Browning
Superintendent of Schools