America's least-loved governor shows new love for education funding

If state lawmakers were to approve his request, a spokesman told the Florida News Service that it would be one of the largest increases in K-12 spending in recent history.


State Democrats issued a press release last night showing that the current funding levels for education in the state are the lowest since the 2005-2006 fiscal year. Here's a breakdown of spending per pupil over the past years:

2010-11: $6,810/student


2009-10: $6,847/student


2008-09: $6,847/student


2007-08: $7,143/student


2006-07: $6,848/student


2005-06: $6,155/student


The governor's budget announcement comes fresh off a brand new public opinion poll showing him not only one with of his lowest poll rankings yet in 2011, but as the most unpopular governor in the country.


Public Policy Polling, which is considered a Democratic-leaning polling organization (yet was one of the most accurate of pollsters in Florida in 2010), released a survey that showed him with just 26 percent support, and 58 percent disapproving of his job performance.


Whether it's pure politics or the fact that he's simply learning on the job, his call for $1 billion in increased spending on education shows that he might be listening to his critics, unless he claims he came to the realization that education is critical to the future of this state by osmosis. In any event, it will be interesting to see how lawmakers from both parties react to this announcement.

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Rick Scott is making headlines this morning with his sneak peek announcement yesterday that he will be calling for a $1 billion increase in education spending this year — that's despite the fact that the state is again in arrears fiscally and there are fewer local school tax dollars available.

This is a pretty radical reversal for the governor, who less than a year ago recommended a 10 percent cut in education funding and signed a budget later in the year that reduced school funding by $1.3 billion.

The Florida governor will give a speech at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday detailing his budget priorities going into the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

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