School officials: Polk still strapped for cash despite state budget increase – News – The Ledger – Florida News

School officials: Polk still strapped for cash despite state budget increase – News – The Ledger – Florida News

BARTOW — The Polk County School District expects to get $56 more per student from the state for the 2017-18 year — an improvement from the previously proposed $8 cut, but still not enough to cover increasing costs, district officials and staff said Tuesday.


Gov. Rick Scott asked for $215 million more in state money for K-12 to raise spending per pupil when he called lawmakers back to Tallahassee, and they ultimately approved that last week.


“We have a little bit of help with revenue from the special session,” said Chief Financial Officer Mike Perrone.


But the district is still struggling to reach the board’s 5 percent unrestricted fund balance policy, raises for teachers and staff still seem out of the question, and House Bill 7069 looms.


The bill reached Scott’s desk Monday night.


“If the bill is signed, nobody knows how the implementation of that monstrosity will play out,” said School Board member Billy Townsend. “This bill is really a legislative expression of bad faith and bad intent.”


The $419 million bill has dozens of policies affecting public education, including a new formula for districts to share with charter schools millions of dollars in capital outlay dollars and regulations on how Title I funds are distributed. Scott has until June 27 to veto the bill or it automatically becomes law.


As for funding, the district expects to receive $6,983 per student, which is $110 less per student than 10 years ago. Over the past 10 years, Polk has lost $220 million in funding based on decreases, according to Budget Director Jason Pitts.


While the…

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