Sen. Galvano's education spending plan draws bipartisan support

March 20, 2014 

TALLAHASSEE -- Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Bill Galvano unveiled his plan for funding education Tuesday.

Galvano, R-Bradenton, wants to spend about $6,955 per student, an increase of 2.58 percent over last year.

His proposed budget increases the spending on public schools by $651 million. It sets aside $40 million for digital learning initiative, equipment and training; and $30 million to encourage schools to develop industry certification programs.

The proposal also pumps $100 million in new funds into the State University System performance funding, and $15 million in new funds into performance funding for the college system. And it increases the funding for Bright Futures Scholarships by $25 million, or 9.4 percent over last year.

The education budgets being considered in the Senate and the House are similar, though the lower chamber's proposal adds about $60 million more into the K-12 budget. The Senate has more of a focus on capital spending, Galvano said.

Galvano's preliminary plan got some bi-partisan love Wednesday.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, called the pitch a "historic education budget."

"It reflects a growing understanding that education truly is our number one priority," he said.

Said Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach: "What a difference money makes."

Democrats also praised the proposal.

"It is nice to have money," Sen. Maria Lorts Sachs, D-Delray Beach, told Galvano. "You have allocated it in a very fair way."

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