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Republican Caucus League Stands Behind Scott's Plan

7:04 PM, Feb 21, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Possible cuts to education have parents on the First Coast questioning priorities at the state capital.

"I think it's horrible.  Cuts to education are never good," said Jennifer Day.

Day has a 5-year-old who's set to begin kindergarten in the fall.  She worries what the state of the school system will be by then.

"It's concerning and it's scary," said Day.

In Duval County alone, Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget would cut more than $90 million. School leaders argue the cuts would cause layoffs and hurt programs. Still, there are some supporters of Scott's proposed plan.

"We actually applaud him for being the leader he was elected to be and making the tough decisions in a tough time," said Kristi Dunn.

Dunn is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Northeast Florida - a grassroots organization that supports limited government and reduced taxes. She said Scott is sticking to his campaign promises.

"During the bubble everybody profited and now that the bubble has burst, it's time to get back to reality and making some tough decisions," said Dunn.

It's a decision that would potentially cut $3.3 billion from education statewide which equates to a reduction of $703 per student.

"The fact of the matter is, when you look back, that spending doesn't always infer a better education.  Actually in Florida, it's the opposite.  The more we've spent, the worse the system has gotten," said Dunn.

Dunn said she believes the time is now to make drastic changes.

She said, "If we don't do it now, then we're actually leaving it for our children to deal with in the future."

But parents say children could be affected in the short-term.

"The reality is cuts have to be made somewhere.  I just don't like that it's to education," said parent Gayle Garrison.

"You never want to think about the future of the world getting cuts to their education," said Day.

Combined, Scott's proposed budget would cut $148.5 million dollars from Clay, Baker, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns County school systems.

First Coast News

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