Florida lawmakers meet in Tallahassee for 3-day special session, state education budget hot topic

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida lawmakers are meeting in Tallahassee for a three day special session. They’ll be discussing several topics on the agenda, including the state education budget.

During the regular session, Governor Rick Scott vetoed the education funding portion of the state’s budget. He said he wants lawmakers to pump more money into public school funding. If the new legislation passes, $215 million more will be given to public school funding. That equals about $100 more per student.

Public school advocates fear public schools will take a backseat to charter schools if this passes.

“I believe the 2.8 million kids in public schools are the political pawns for the speaker, the governor and the president and that’s a shame,” said JoAnne McCall, president of the Florida Education Association

Gov. Scott says he wants public schools and charter schools to be created equally.

“My goal is, there’s a pathway that all students in our state have a chance to get a great education. So, I’m going to continue to review it,” he said.

Meanwhile, parents of children who attend Title 1 schools fear money will be taken away, ultimately cutting important programs from the schools.

“How are you going to take something away that is educating the kids?” asked Onita Harrison, who has a grandchild that attends West Tampa Elementary School.

“I have never seen a child that wants to come to a school just for a reading program,” she said.

A bright side to the budget battle is that Bright Futures is expected to get a big boost, making it easier for more students to go to college for free.

The special session starts Wednesday and is expected to last three days.

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