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School District could see increase in state funding

By Staff | Jan 10, 2012

If the Florida Legislature approves the governor’s budget, the Lee County School District may see a huge increase in the funding it receives for full-time students enrolled in the district.

The district would receive an additional $31 million in funding, which is a 2.5 percent increase of where it is right now.

Budget Director Ami Desamours said it is very good news that the governor will support education, along with not wanting to see funding cuts in this area.

She said, unfortunately, the budget process still has to work itself out.

“The Legislature has to come up with a budget and have to approve it,” Desamours said.

She said the governor prepares his budget way before the district sends its predictions about the full-time equivalent (FTE) students it will have in the district. Desamours said the budget is not related to what the district sent to the state.

The district’s second calculation for full-time equivalent students is 82,500, which Desamours said the district will exceed by the end of February with 82,736 students.

Desamours said during the 2006-2007 school year, the district received a huge increase in its FTE by 3,000 and 4,000 students a year, which dropped off during the 2007-2008 school year.

She said there has only been one year, 2008-2009, that the district experienced a decrease in its FTE, which was a slight 1 percent decrease.

The 2010-2011 school year, Desamours said they saw a 1.6 percent increase in FTE.

Based on statistical models, she said the district is looking at a 2.47 percent increase in the FTE next year.

“We determined that we would use 84,780 students, an increase of 2,000 students next year,” Desamours said.

That projection was submitted to the state in December. She said they had to send a number as close to what they believe their FTE will be, so the Legislature can allocate funding off of that projection.

Desamours said the district will continue to have briefings as more information becomes available.

“We are waiting for more information,” she said. “Hope this comes to pass, but a lot more work.”