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Gov. Scott proposes extra $1.2 billion for education

9:04 PM, Jan 31, 2013   |    comments
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Holiday, Florida- Governor Rick Scott unveils his budget for 2013-2014. 

Two years ago, state leaders had to make "hard choices," which Governor Scott says have lead to a stronger economy, and now the state can afford to make "smart choices" starting with education. 

Scott proposes an additional $1.2 billion for schools grades K-12. It's money, teachers say, students need to prepare them for the 21st century.

See also: Florida teachers skeptical of Gov. Scott's pay raise proposal

Gulfside Elementary school teacher Jaime Darley says it's good to see education on the receiving end of a budget proposal for a change.

"I'm glad he's putting money back into education. We need to put money in our children and invest in them. They are our future," says Darley.

If approved, teachers would benefit too, with a $2,500 pay raise- something Darley considers a "step in the right direction."       

Gov. Scott proposes $1.25 billion for education, $480 for million teacher pay raises- $2,500 each-, $118 million towards 20,000 new students and $100 million for school safety. 

The added state funding means $6,800 would be spent on each student. That's $400 more than last year.

While more money for schools may be on the way. $1.3 billion in cuts from two years ago is still being felt. 

Gulfside Elementary's media specialist and its technology specialist are both part time. Darley would like to make both positions full time. 

"They teach kids how to research, find info online, how to use the encyclopedia. They do great lessons to teach kids how to use internet programs.." she explains.

The Pasco school district would receive an additional $220,000 to teach students at Gulfside Elementary. We asked Darley's fourth graders how they'd like to see the extra money spent.

They said they'd like to see more reading books, science books, computers in classrooms, and some would like more time at recess for more exercise.

We reached out to other school districts in the bay area and most say so many programs and positions have been cut during the last five years, it's hard to pinpoint how that money would be used.

The governor also suggests giving the Florida College System an extra $1.1 billion in state funding. The governor's proposal still needs approval from legislators.

Isabel Mascarenas

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