BOARD OF ED APPROVES ‘HISTORIC’ BUDGET PLAN
Backing a pledge made by Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Board of Education on Monday approved a proposed 2015-16 budget that includes record per-student funding for public schools. The proposal is an initial step in a months-long process that will end with lawmakers passing a state budget next spring. As he seeks re-election, Scott has called for the public-school funding formula to include $7,176 per student next year, the same number included in the Board of Education proposal Monday. The proposal would be a $232 per-student increase over the current year. Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand said the proposal includes “historic” levels of funding. “I think we all know this is an investment in our future,” Chartrand said. “It will pay dividends for Florida.” If approved by the Legislature, the $7,176 per-student total would top a previous high of $7,126 reached when former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist was in office. With Crist running as a Democrat this year to try to unseat Scott, education funding has become a heavily debated issue during the campaign.
CRIST CAMPAIGN REACHES $7.7M
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s campaign has brought in about $7.7 million in cash contributions and also is receiving heavy behind-the-scenes support from the Florida Democratic Party, a newly filed finance report shows. Crist’s campaign collected $367,024 in cash from Sept. 13 to Sept. 19, bringing its overall total to $7,697,145. The campaign had spent a total of about $3.37 million as of Sept. 19, according to the report posted on the state Division of Elections website. Crist’s campaign also reported receiving $368,805 in in-kind contributions during the week-long period, with most of that total coming in the form of campaign staff from the Democratic Party. Republican Gov. Rick Scott reported earlier that his campaign collected $302,782 in cash from Sept. 13 to Sept. 19, giving it an overall total of $8,253,134. The Scott campaign had spent about $2.44 million as of Sept. 19. All of those figures are in addition to the nearly $38 million raised by “Let’s Get to Work,” a political committee backing Scott, and the $20.8 million raised by a committee known as “Charlie Crist for Florida.”
SULLIVAN PLANS TO RUN AGAIN IN 2016
Though she has not been formally sworn into office, newly elected state Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, is making plans to run again in 2016. Sullivan filed paperwork last week as a first step toward seeking re-election, according to the state Division of Elections website. Sullivan defeated four other Republicans in the Aug. 26 primary in House District 31, which is being vacated by term-limited Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka. No other candidates sought the seat, which represents parts of Lake and Orange counties. Also this month, Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, filed paperwork to run in 2016 in Broward County’s House District 97. Moskowitz, who was first elected in 2012, was unopposed this year. Sullivan and Moskowitz are among 31 potential House candidates who have taken the initial step of opening campaign accounts for the 2016 elections.