Rick Scott announced plans this morning to raise per student spending on education in the state to its highest levels ever.
Interestingly, the announcement came just a week after likely Democratic challenger Charlie Crist criss-crossed the state in a yellow school bus reminding people how much Scott had slashed education spending in the first place.
"I am proud to announce that in the upcoming legislative session we will propose an increase in Florida's per-pupil spending to the highest level in our state's history," Scott said in a statement. "We already have the highest total spending in K-12 this year and gave every teacher the opportunity for a pay raise. Because we were able to get Florida's economy back on track, revenues are now projected to stay at a strong enough rate to support historic investments in education."
Scott's plan would have the state spend $7,176 per student on education. That's up $232 from the state is spending this year, and up $50 from 2007-08, the most the state had ever paid per student. Incidentally that was under the Crist administration.
Crist, meanwhile, spent three days last week traveling the state in a yellow school bus (during which time the bus managed to get rear ended, and opponents called his use of the bus illegal). He highlighted the $1.3 billion in cuts Scott had made in education, which might explain how he has room to raise spending so drastically in the first place.
Crist however didn't announce a concrete number of how much he'd increase spending, and it appears Scott took the opportunity to undercut his message. We wouldn't be all that surprised if Crist responds with a promise to raise per student spending by $233 Price is Right-style at the rate this is going.
Of course, to enact the changes and introduce them in the next legislative session, Scott would have to win reelection in November.