Legislative Update 04/30/2014

PECO Funding for Charter Schools Reduced in Budget Hearings

17.6% reduction from what charter schools are currently receiving

Tallahassee, FL 04/30/2014 - After days of watching House Budget Conference chair, Representative Seth McKeel (R-Lakeland) making the House recommendation of $100 million in capital outlay funding for charter schools, we were very disappointed to see the amount reduced in the final hours of the House and Senate budget negotiations Monday night.

After several offers back and forth between the two chambers, the House surprised many observers when it ultimately concurred with the Senate’s $50 million allocation of PECO funds to charter schools. (That would have been a 45% reduction from the $91 million charter schools received this fiscal year.)

“Thanks to the generosity of House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel), who added $25 million in additional supplemental funding for charter school’s capital outlay needs, the total becomes $75 million for 2014/15. While still a reduction of 17.6% from what charter schools are currently receiving, it is a better figure than the Senate’s original figure,” said Robert Haag, President, FCPCS. Speaker Weatherford’s supplemental is the single largest supplemental contribution he made to any area of the 2014/15 budget, reflecting his concern for the needs of Florida charter schools and the more than 239,000 children they serve. There is a slim possibility the $75 million allocation could be increased before the Legislature adjourns Friday, but the outlook for an additional increase is poor.

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