A Better Budget May Mean No Cuts - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

A Better Budget May Mean No Cuts

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Education in the State of Florida may be looking at more than a billion dollar boost in next year's budget. It is an increase that has Bay District School's budget in much better shape than in years passed. The School Board held a budget workshop Tuesday.

"We are just very thankful that the tide seems to be turning with regards to budget and cutting," says Superintendent Bill Husfelt.  

Governor Rick Scott is proposing a 1.2 billion dollar boost to public education. For Bay District Schools, that means possibly no cuts next year.

We want to continue to be efficient because we want to continue to put more dollars back to the teachers and back into the classrooms. And that is what we want to do," says Husfelt.

According to Husfelt, Scott's budget is increasing three main areas in education.

1) School safety and security- also a priority in Bay District's budget

2) Technology- helping to prepare the districts for the move to all digital by 2014

3) More than 480 million dollars for 2,500 dollar teacher raises

The teacher salary increases has many cautiously excited. "We want to make sure that the funding they're providing for teacher pay raises is going to be continuous. Not just something that's going to be a one year shot before we offer it as a continuous amount of money," says Husfelt.

For the teachers, with last year's four furlough days still fresh in their memories, 2,500 dollars next year is refreshing.

"That's a lot," says Diane Wishart, president of the Bay County teacher's union, ABCE. I mean, I haven't got a 2,500 dollar raise, in I cant even remember how long. I'm topped out. Those of us who are at the top, unless the District gives us a raise, we don't get a raise. We're still working off the pay check we got from the year before."

For Bay District's budget, two of the main priorities are school safety and replacing the aging bus fleet.