Editorial / Poll: State education budget ... get real with numbers

Are you pleased with state spending on public education?

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The good news is that the proposed 2010-11 spending plan for public education issued by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist defies the movement to do more with less.

Crist’s budget outline for kindergarten through 12th grade is for $22.7 billion — an increase of more than a half-billion dollars over the current fiscal year.

The bad news is that local education officials, who should be happy, are wary. From administrators to union leaders, there is doubt that Crist and the Legislature can deliver the goods.

Some of the doubt seems well-founded, citing some of the extra money is to come from a Seminole casino pact that hasn’t been struck yet and a tobacco trust fund from which borrowing is not sustainable. In a Daily News story the other day, the most optimistic assessment that our reporters could find was one that called the governor’s budget an upper limit.

We would suggest that educators trying to do serious planning for high-quality learning deserve numbers grounded more in reality and less in election-year politics. Even if the news and projections are not good, public schools and their clients should be spared the white-knuckles roller-coaster ride that comes with raised and dashed expectations, and putting plans in place and then canceling them.

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