We just sent out a press release this morning with our reaction to Gov. Scott's proposed $3 billion in education funding cuts. We don't believe that cutting such a large amount of funding out of our public schools at a time when they can least afford it is what's in the best interest for Marion County children:
OCALA - Yesterday, Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his $66 billion dollar budget for Florida. Included in the Governor's proposal is a $3.3 billion cut in public education, a cut of $703 per student1. Nancy Noonan, President of Marions United for Public Education, released the following statement today reacting to Gov. Scott's budget:
"Gov. Scott believes that the best way to balance Florida's budget is on the backs of Marion County's teachers, parents, and students. This is unacceptable to the coalition of citizens that make up Marions United for Public Education. Public education is more than a set of numbers on a balance sheet - it's a fundamental social contract between Floridians and their government to ensure that democracy is reborn every generation. Gov. Scott is violating this contract with such draconian cuts at a time when Florida's teachers, parents, and students simply can't afford it.
"Marions United for Public Education renews its call for a fiscally responsible way of balancing Florida's budget, and investing in Florida and Marion County's public schools - our future. Florida gives up $12 billion annually in sales tax exemptions and corporate income tax loopholes2. It is reprehensible for Gov. Scott and the Florida legislature to consider cutting a penny from public education or consider laying off a single classroom teacher at a time when things like stadium skyboxes, yachts, and ostrich feed are sales tax exempt. It is long past time to close down these special-interest created loopholes, stop cuts to Marion County schools, and invest in our children's future.
"In the coming weeks and months, Marions United for Public Education will work with our citizen coalition to educate Marion County's legislators on these fiscal realities and fight for Marion County's public schools and our children's future."
1"Highlights of Gov. Scott's $65 billion proposed budget." St. Petersburg Times. 2/7/11.
2"Florida's Fiscal Crisis: The Prescription." The Florida Center For Fiscal and Economic Policy.