Gov. Scott Announces Special Legislative Session; Duval Schools Budgeting With Uncertainty

Jun 2, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott spoke against House cuts at a “fighting for jobs” roundtable he held in Jacksonville in March.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Duval County School Board will continue budgeting for the upcoming school year without knowing how much money it’s working with.

Florida Governor Rick Scott hasn’t said whether he’ll sign a massive education bill, HB7069, that would increase teacher bonuses but significantly cut capital dollars for traditional public schools and encourage charters to replace failing schools. Duval board members are calling for Scott to veto it.

“We’re still reviewing 7069, but I believe we’re on a pathway to have a very good special session and everything we’re doing is going to be good for all students,” Scott said Friday.  

Scott announced a special legislative session, beginning June 7, and an expected budget deal Friday, alongside House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron.

  • WATCH | Gov. Rick Scott announces special session

Scott is asking the lawmakers to increase per-student funding by $100.

Duval School Board Chair Paula Wright said while she’s happy to hear about the possible funding increase, the board will still have to move forward with budget decisions at Monday’s school board workshop without knowing what will happen.

“We’re going to look at two scenarios,” Wright said. “... “We’re going to just have to make a decision and move forward.”

She said the board will focus whatever resources it has on academic progress, teacher retainment and professional development. Monday will be the first workshop with interim Superintendent Patricia Willis.

Scott is also calling lawmakers in special session to dedicate $85 million more in incentives for businesses and $76 million more for Visit Florida, the agency that markets the state to tourists.

Sen. Audrey Gibson D- Jacksonville said on Twitter Friday, some of that incentive money should be considered to fund college cuts.

“We need to address community college cuts they create workforce for the incentivized jobs,” she tweeted.

Florida State College at Jacksonville President Cynthia Bioteau has been speaking out about the cuts her college is facing.

Scott also said he is vetoing more than $400 million in projects, but didn’t immediately release a list of what they were.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride