Lawmakers need some schoolin’

Finally, more people than just students are protesting the proposed state budget up for vote this week. Maybe now Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature will open their ears.

University officials, like USF’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, and student governments from all over the state of Florida converged on Tallahassee Thursday to voice their concerns about the state’s budget that, if passed, would mean hearty tuition hikes.

While students have been on top of this since its proposal, the fact that the president of UCF and other university bigwigs are getting directly involved shows how serious it is and how much attention needs to be paid.

The budget does not include enough money for education in Florida, and every voting member of this state should consider that a tragedy. Students, the supposed future of Florida, could see a tuition increase somewhere in the double digits and could be forced to postpone graduation because essential classes are cut. This is not a budget the governor should advocate. However, according to the St. Petersburg Times Thursday, Bush has said, “I presented this budget not as a charade … I’m proud of this budget.”

While Bush has said he doesn’t want to raise taxes in order to pay for programs, what better reason could there be to increase taxes than education? Florida has been the laughing stock of America since the election debacle of 2000, but to treat its education programs this way, from kindergarten through grad school, just makes the state and it’s governor an easier target.

If Bush can’t get his priorities in line and devote necessary money to education, Florida’s children will suffer far worse fates than an F on their schools FCAT. And higher education in Florida will go the way of the dodo, once those children grow up and find better funded colleges to attend.