Much has been made about the increase in K-12 funding, but a deeper dive into the numbers shows an actual cut in base student allocations.
Overall, the increase in total funds for K-12 FEFP funding in FY 2017-2018 budget is $241,293,414 or 1.2%. These dollars fund an additional 23,919 students who will be entering Florida’s public school system in the upcoming school year.
However, when you take the time to look at additional dollars available per student, the budget provides for a mere $24.44 or .34% increase over last year’s budget. This increase can be found only in the categorical funds, which, by law, are designated for specific uses, such as Transportation, Instructional Materials and ESE Guaranteed Allocation (services for disabled students). Moreover, and this is also key, the increase in funds cannot be used for general operating expenses or to increase teacher pay, these funds may only be used for specific purposes.
The only flexible funds school districts have access to are those in the Base Student Allocation (BSA), which decreases in this year’s budget by $25.97 from $4,160.71 to $4,137.74 dollars per student.
Money in the BSA are those used to fund teacher’s salaries and benefits or to add new programs for students.
This will be the first time since the great recession the Base Student Allocation has been cut in the state of Florida.