The White House released a report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last week. The study shows that the money saved 250,000 education jobs this year. 9% of Florida’s education budget is being propped up this year by Federal money.
However, the crisis has not been averted. States nationwide are experiencing severe budget shortfalls for next fiscal year. Florida’s chief economist has reported that our state will experience a $2.6 billion deficit for just its critical needs: education, public safety, and healthcare. The Washington Post reports:
From coast to coast, officials are warning of education funding troubles ahead. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 27 states are forecasting shortfalls for fiscal 2011 that total at least $61 billion, with five more states predicting unspecified budget shortages. Widespread state cutbacks would threaten a major source of school revenue.
Florida schools are bracing for the worst. Our massive looming deficit almost guarantees another round of budget cuts for this state’s already under-funded public education system. Governor Crist has stated that he will seek out no new revenue sources (like a repeal of sales tax exemptions for bottled water, ostrich feed, and stadium sky boxes).
We are left to wonder- why must Florida’s children pay the price of our lawmakers’ disregard for fiscal responsibility?
by Christine Bramuchi