Making sure the Legislature’s special session is narrowly focused was one of the goals discussed Tuesday morning by the Florida Board of Education during a conference call.
Board members said they want to make sure lawmakers focus on budget cuts and that other items are dealt with during the regular session next year.
The reason for Tuesday’s meeting was to give board members a chance to review their agenda for the session.
Members analyzed how the House of Representatives and State Senate have so far cut from the state education budget.
According to the board, the House has wanted to cut budgets across the board. But the Senate has taken a closer look at which groups have sacrificed in the past, members said, being more lenient to those groups. The board said lawmakers in general have asked that newly organized programs be put on hold in order to free up funding that was allotted for them originally.
Since this year’s education budget was passed in April, the House has cut $696 million dollars from it, and the Senate has cut $328 million dollars, officials said.
Some board members expressed disappointment in how community colleges have been treated during the cuts, saying they have been hit too hard. They want community colleges to receive more flexibility in reallocating money once budget cuts are finalized.
Even if the economy gets better by the end of the year, board leaders said the budget cuts decided upon during the special session will remain in effect. But there would still be a chance to draft a plan for next year’s budget to present at the spring session.