EDUCATION FAIL: Rick Scott and the Rickpublicans cut a devastating $2.6 billion from schools, health and social services. Thousands of teachers across the state received pink slips after the GOP gutted funding.

The State Budget Cut 8 Percent From Education, Resulting In The Loss Of Thousands Of Teachers. “With an 8 percent cut in education funding, the new budget will result in the additional loss of thousands of jobs in schools around the state. For instance, Broward County has announced 1,400 teachers will be laid off in the coming year.” [Sun-Sentinel, 6/6/11]

Rick Scott And The Republican Legislature Cut About $2.6 Billion From Schools, Health And Social Services. Closing Florida’s budget gap “included some pain, as first-year Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled legislature cut $2.6 billion from schools and health and social services.” [Palm Beach Post, 9/8/11]

The Budget Included A $37 Million Corporate-Income Tax Cut And About $300 Million For Tax Cuts And Business Incentives. “Despite all the pressures to cut and save, legislators still set aside about $300 million for tax cuts and business incentives. It was a far cry from the $2.4 billion in tax-and-fee cuts that Scott called for, but legislators made sure to give some tax relief to ensure he didn’t veto the budget. Scott was placated with a $37 million corporate-income tax cut. Scott wanted the tax eliminated.” [Herald/Times, 5/26/11]

Scott Lobbied Hard For More Than $300 Million In “Tax Cuts But Didn't Lift A Finger To Prevent The Real Harm That Will Be Caused By Cuts In Education And Health And Human Services.” President of the Florida Education Association, Andy Ford, “When Gov. Rick Scott announced his budget proposal in February, the word ‘education’ was notably absent from the political event. And when he did roll out his education budget proposal, it called for slashing already-underfunded public schools by more than 10 percent. The education budget approved by the Legislature did not cut schools as deeply as the governor recommended, but it was almost as irresponsible. Teachers and other school employees will lose their jobs, programs will be drastically cut, in some places school days shortened and schools closed. Florida's classrooms cannot be protected from these decisions. … This Legislature handed out more than $300 million in tax cuts in a year where the education budget was slashed. The governor lobbied hard for these tax cuts but didn't lift a finger to prevent the real harm that will be caused by cuts in education and health and human services.” [Op-ed, Sun-Sentinel, 6/2/11]

School Districts Received Their Lowest Level Of Funding In Six Years – Almost An 8 Percent Reduction. “School districts, which have since laid off thousands of teachers and other workers, received their lowest level of funding in six years -- $6,267 per student, an almost 8 percent reduction.” [Palm Beach Post, 9/8/11]

In This Past Legislative Session, Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Budget Was Cut By $30 Million. Lawrence continued, saying that “in this past legislative session,” Florida saw “the $30 million cut from Florida's voluntary prekindergarten budget, a program we know gives all children the opportunity to start kindergarten on the right foot.” [Op-ed, Naples Daily News, 6/9/11]

Florida's VPK Was Forced To Absorb A 7 Percent Decrease In Already Low Per-Child Funding – The Program Serves More Than 166,000 Children, Or 75 Percent Of All 4-Year Olds In The State.  Lawrence asked, “How is it that Florida's infamously underfunded voluntary prekindergarten program is being forced to absorb a 7 percent decrease in the already low per-child funding? How does it make any sense when we have all that research that shows that a child's most crucial brain-stimulating years are from before birth to before formal school? How does this make even the slightest bit of sense? Because of what was done, and wasn't done, in Tallahassee this session, thousands of 4-year-olds and their families will be affected. Teacher-to-child ratios are being worsened. … This year Florida's VPK program will serve more than 166,000 children; that's 75 percent of all 4-year-olds in our state. And while it's a program not yet near its potential, it's a program that we know works. As noted in the Orlando Sentinel's March 21 article: ‘Florida youngsters who took part in the state's pre-K program were more prepared for kindergarten when school started in August than children who did not.’” [Op-ed, Naples Daily News, 6/9/11]

President And Co-Chairman Of The Children's Movement Of Florida Called On Scott To Restore The $30 Million Cut From Florida’s Voluntary Pre-K Budget. Lawrence opined, “If Tallahassee continues to gut this state's prekindergarten program, it will mean fewer children are prepared once they reach kindergarten. But there's much more. It will mean fewer children reading at minimal proficiency in third grade and, therefore, even more unable to read at grade level in 10th grade. It will mean increased costs in education remediation, even beyond the $2 billion Florida spends each year on elementary and secondary remediation. And, sadly, it will mean increased costs for police, prosecution and, ultimately, prison. Governor, restoring the $30 million cut from Florida's voluntary pre-K budget is an opportunity where you and the rest of the Tallahassee leadership have the chance to invest in something that will continue to benefit Florida long after we are all gone.” [Op-ed, Naples Daily News, 6/9/11]