Florida’s universities say the state isn’t putting enough money into the budget for next year to keep up with their exploding growth.
The state’s college and universities hope voters do get a chance to reconsider the class size amendment in November because universities don’t think there’s enough money to do both smaller classes in k-12 and the needed new labs and classrooms on campus.
But there’s strong opposition in the Senate to asking voters to reconsider.
Florida’s exploding growth means there will be 55,000 more college students on campus over the next five years.
Mark Rosenberg heads up the state’s university system. He said the proposed state budget is hundreds of millions of dollars short in funding needed expansion.
“We’re very concerned that the public universities who are major drivers of the Florida economy will not be able to keep up.”
That concern has put universities in the awkward position of hoping voters get to reconsider the class size amendment so the state won’t have to put as much money into new k-12 classrooms. But the effort to put the amendment back before voters in November is in trouble in the Senate.
Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres said it’s a tough sell.
“It wasn’t just class size on the ballot in 2002 when it passed. There were other things like Gov. Bush’s election, my election, and it’s tough for me to tell voters, yeah, you had it right on me and perhaps the governor and other people, but not on class size. Let’s have a do-over.”
The class size amendment has been one of the biggest thorns in Jeb Bush’s side for the past four years, but even he admits he may not have the power to push through any changes.
Many lawmakers argue with Florida’s record budget surplus, the state should have enough money to fund new classrooms for k-12 and university students if they just put their hearts into it.