Florida school leaders hopeful about 4 percent spending boost in tentative budget deal

After Florida's legislative leaders struck a tentative budget deal that would increase school spending next year by 4 percent, leaders from the state's largest seven districts expressed cautious optimism. School officials had been cringing at the prospect of the tight budget that had been proposed by the Florida House. But critical details remain unknown: Does "4 percent more spending" mean 4 percent overall, or 4 percent more per student? The difference could be critical to rapidly growing districts like Miami-Dade and Broward.

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The new education system being proposed for Florida might not be smaller or cheaper than the current one. It probably won't shorten the school year or improve cafeteria food, either. But if nothing else, it will be seamless. That, at least, is the battle cry of lawmakers and education officials who favor overhauling the current system. A "seamless" education system, they say, will allow children to make smooth transitions as they journey from kindergarten through graduate school.

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