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Friday News Roundup: Week of February 4-8

Published:  February 8, 2013
Alabama lacks funds for $200 million of Department of Education requests
 
UF, FSU face off over Governor Rick Scott's proposed $15 million bonus
 
Iowa Senate panel OKs more school aid spending bills
 
Governor Nixon reverses $8.5M in cuts to Missouri higher education
 
Alabama lacks funds for $200 million of Department of Education requests
Alabama state Superintendent Thomas Bice this week submitted a $4.1 billion budget request for fiscal year 2014, a $405.5 million increase from fiscal year 2013. Alabama state officials have indicated that they will only be able to fund around half of the requested increase; the Department of Education is now determining how to trim its request by $200.0 million. Of the additional funds requested, 90 percent were meant for distribution directly to schools; only 10 percent of the funds, or $40.0 million, were requested for the state Department of Education. Bice indicated that his budget request sought funds for what the state needs, not necessarily what the Department thought would be available. He indicated that the budget will be adjusted in the coming weeks, now that revenue projections are available from state forecasters. More here…
 
UF, FSU face off over Governor Rick Scott's proposed $15 million bonus
When Florida Governor Rick Scott unveiled his $74.2 billion budget last week, a $15 million line item caused contention amongst Florida’s largest universities. Scott’s higher education spending package includes an increase of $118 million and an additional $167 million tied to performance for the Florida university system. However, under Scott’s budget, the University of Florida would receive an additional $15 million bonus toward the goal of elevating it to one of the nation’s top universities. The entire sum would be allocated for new faculty hiring. The funds allocated specifically for UF have caused controversy in Florida’s Senate, especially for FSU alumni. Currently, UF is ranked 17th in the nation according to the U.S. News and World Report, with FSU ranked 42nd. FSU supporters have called for a matching allocation to help that school become more competitive, as well.  More here…
 
Iowa Senate panel OKs more school aid spending bills
The Iowa Senate Education Committee has approved two bills that will increase school funding by approximately 4 percent for the 2014-2015 school year. The bills would increase the “allowable growth” for spending from around $106 million to an estimated $114 million in that year. Additionally, $15 million was added for a teacher’s compensation supplement. Earlier in this session, the Iowa Senate passed $187 million in school aid and property tax relief for the next 2013-2014 school year. Under state law, however, legislators are required to authorize school aid for the following academic year within 30 days of receiving the governor’s budget proposal, so they moved quickly to pass the second bill. The Democratic-controlled Senate is set to vote on the two bills next week, and both will likely pass, despite likely Republican opposition to the bills. More here…
 
Governor Nixon reverses $8.5 million in cuts to Missouri higher education
Citing an unexpected increase in state tax revenue projections, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon this week reversed his plans to cut $8.5 million in cuts to state higher education. Missouri state revenues are up by 9.5 percent at this point in the fiscal year, as compared to the same point in the previous year. He also stated his plans to reverse several hundred thousand dollars in cuts to child care subsidies and other social programs. Despite his earlier decision, Nixon has still blocked other budgeted spending, including $6.0 million for K-12 schools and school social services. Funding decisions for those other programs will depend on state revenues over the course of the next month. More here…

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