Cannon: We Share Gov. Scott's Goal to Add $1 Billion to Education

House Speaker Dean Cannon (right)says the House and Senate would like to add $1 billion to education funding.
TAMPA (2012-01-18) -

House Speaker Dean Cannon is saying he shares Governor Scott’s goal of adding $1 billion back into K-12 education funding. But he’s not sure he agrees with the Governor about where to find the money.

Scott wants to pay for the $1 billion for schools by cutting $2 billion in hospital funding. In an interview with WMFE, Cannon says he’s not sure about the hospital cuts, but wants to find the education money.

“We share the Governor’s goal in the House, and I believe the Senate does too, as far as increasing K-12 education funding,” Cannon said.

“The method which we get there probably won’t be identical to the Governor’s approach. We hopefully will take some of his ideas, add some of our ideas to it, or approach it in a slightly different way.”

Critics say $1 billion in increased education funding doesn’t make up for last year’s even bigger cuts.

It's been a relatively slow year at the Florida Legislature so far, at least compared to last year, when lawmakers passed a merit-pay bill for teachers, re-wrote growth management laws, and toughened election laws.

Compare that to this year, where the main focus has been on drawing new political boundaries for the next ten years.

House Speaker Dean Cannon told WMFE in Orlando that redistricting is sucking the oxygen out of other issues.

“I think it probably more than anything just crowds out the time clock, because of the time on the floor and the time in committees it takes to handle the maps…coupled with the tough budget year. I think those two things taken together do limit the bandwidth of what’s possible,” Cannon said.

But Cannon said he shares Governor Scott's goal of adding $1 billion to the state's K-12 education budget -- as long as lawmakers can find the money.

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