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School district watches state’s budget numbers

By Staff | Feb 1, 2012

Although the proposed House state budget was $5 million less than what the governor released earlier this month, the Lee County School District fared well in the recent proposed House state budget, which was released on Jan. 27.

Budget Director Dr. Ami Desamours said they received the house numbers late Thursday, which was an estimated $565,145,487. The governor’s budget, which has already been released, was $570,216,541.

She said the state numbers was what the house allocated statewide. That estimate, Desamours said, is the total potential for what the district may receive, which was not detailed for all the different categories within the district’s budget.

Desamours said some assumptions were made.

The House’s projection for total full-time equivalent student funding is $6,659. The school district anticipates an increase of 2,000 students next year, bringing their total enrollment to 84,780 students.

Desamours said the student estimation that the House used was based on their numbers for across the state of Florida. She said the actual allocation may be less than that projection.

The district will find out in the next couple of weeks if their projection of FTE was accepted, she said.

The legislature has been working with the student projections the district provided since December, which Desamours said is a good sign. She said the House has put a little more funds in their base student allocation than the governor’s budget did. The base student allocation from the House was $3,579 compared to $3,565 that the Governor proposed.

“Under the House budget they really are allocating additional amounts to education,” Desamours said. “That is a good sign because that is still backing what the Governor put out in his budget. However, we know there is still a long way to go in the process.”

She anticipates the final legislative budget will be made available in April or May. If they budget comes out in that time frame, she said they will proceed as they normally do.

“It is better than it has been, but not as good as it once was,” Board member Thomas Scott said. “But the needle is going in the right direction.”

Desamours agreed in stating that the budget is not near what the district has had in the past.

“The needle is moving in the right direction, which is a great relief,” she said.