From the Palm Beach Post:
Florida schools could miss out on about $2.4 billion from the federal economic stimulus package because state lawmakers have cut spending on education the past two years.
A $1 billion hole in the state education budget that starts July 1 was forecast this week because of declines in property tax collections. State officials had hoped the stimulus money would plug it.
Now, local districts may be forced to raise property taxes as much as 10 percent, state Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander has predicted.
The state has one last hope for the money: asking the federal Education Department to waive the bill’s requirement that education spending not be below the 2006 level. But it is unclear how long that would take, what is involved and whether the request would be approved.
An aide to Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned that states wouldn’t get a blanket waiver if they didn’t meet the provision. The aide didn’t outline requirements for an exemption in detail.
Florida is spending $8.5 billion in state money on public schools, about $1.3 billion less than it did in the 2006-07 budget year.