Governor Rick Scott's name is officially on the dotted line and the state budget is finally approved. Tuesday afternoon, Scott came to Bay County for the fifth time in five weeks spends time with students at Margaret K. Lewis School in Millville.
Scott chose the school as a platform to hold a ceremonial signing of the states $70 billion dollar budget and it was the perfect backdrop to show Scott fulfilled his promise of giving $1 billion dollars back to education, after it was cut by $1.3 billion dollars last year.
"If you look at actually what happened last year, state funding actually stayed the same. I walked in with a $3.7 million dollar projected budget deficit and we kept state funding for education exactly where it was. Basically, what happened last year is the federal government put that money through our budget and they stopped it through the stimulus, so we kept that funding which is your tax dollars we kept our funding flat last year," said Scott. "These are your tax dollars, your sales tax dollars and property tax dollars they came through our state budget. We increased it by $1 billion dollars and the way we did it, we looked at all of the state agencies I looked through them, the legislatures looked through them, and we looked for all of the efficiencies and that is what they did."
Here in Bay County teachers took four furlough days because of budget cuts this year, Governor Rick Scott says because those teachers are working harder the state needs to work harder as well and continue to give back to education.
"Right now society is holding government accountable and they are saying, 'You've got to figure out efficiency'," Scott added.
Margaret K. Lewis was a school that lost staff and paraprofessionals last year because of those budget cuts. Its principal, Britt Smith is grateful the Governor is making education one of his priorities.
"I'm very encouraged. When you look at the governor setting one of his top three priorities as education in the state, I think he's heard from the people I think he understands the people in Florida want the best education as possible and he is going about trying to fund that," Smith said.