TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The latest finding by Florida TaxWatch, the state’s premier non-partisan government watchdog, explores the true cost of education beyond the “per student” number often cited by the Legislature and media. This report gives Florida taxpayers a more comprehensive and insightful view of the ways that education dollars are spent and allows them to make informed decisions as to whether their tax dollars are being spent in a fiduciary manner.
While per student allocations from the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) are the most common and known statistic (totaling $19.7 billion annually) for education funding, many taxpayers are unaware of the total amount of money being spent on educating Florida students. Capital outlay, debt service and other K-12 services are reported separately from FEFP allocations totaling ($8.9 billion). Giving taxpayers a comprehensive look at all of these categories promotes transparency and accountability in the state K-12 education system. In summation, the total of all operating and capital spending for fiscal year 2015-16 K-12 education is $28.6 billion.
“Public education spending is a significant portion of state and local budgets and must be spent with care to ensure that taxpayers are receiving the best value for their dollar,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “It is critical that taxpayers have a clear understanding of how much education revenue is available, how that revenue is spent and what it is spent on.”
“As a long-time fiscal steward, I have worked to ensure that Florida taxpayers are receiving the best services for their money. We expect government to be accountable and transparent when spending the hard-earned money of Floridians, especially when it comes to the education of our children,” said Senator Dorothy Hukill, Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “The latest TaxWatch report is an excellent resource for taxpayers to better understand just how and where their money is being spent and if their children are getting the best education possible.”
“Ensuring that our schools are properly funded is critical to the educational progress of our students. However, it is equally important that taxpayers have a thorough understanding of how their money is being spent. TaxWatch’s report on the true cost of education allows taxpayers to see exactly where their money is going and if they are getting a good value on their investment,” said Representative Manny Diaz Jr., Chair of the House Pre K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.
The full report can be read here