Educators weigh in on Florida Governor's budget unveiling Thursday

Florida Education
Posted at 5:13 PM, Jan 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-31 04:34:53-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Amid growing budget cuts, education leaders say the funding is vital and very much needed to get back onto the right track.

"We've had years of cutbacks in education, years of the legislature adding new requirements for school districts and not funding that," said Mark Pudlow.

Florida Education Association spokesman Mark Pudlow says after years of budget cuts, it's time for lawmakers to give back to school districts.

Giving back is what Governor Rick Scott is expected to do Thursday. That's when he'll give lawmakers his 2013 budget proposal which includes$1.2 billion dollars in increased funding for k-12 schools.

"I think its a step in the right direction, its the first step to undo some of the damage that has been done in the last 5 years," said Pudlow.

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz says how to pay for it is still the question.

"First lets see the budget, lets see where its going to go and where the money is going to come from," said Gaetz.

President Gaetz, whose the former Okalossa county school superintendent cautions that adding money isn't the only answer.

"I've always been in favor of adequate funding for education but deploying those funds in a way that creates the best learning environment and the best academic results," said Gaetz.

Scott's proposal will be released in the morning.

As a part of the $1.2 billion dollars, Scott says every teacher should be able to get a salary increase of $2500.

That's something FEA agrees with as long as the state knows the outcome.

"If we wanted to show that we're committed to investing in our kids we definitely need to spend to do that. I mean you get what you pay for," said Pudlow.