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VIDEO: Rick Scott Categorically Denies Question on Record of Education Cuts

Rick Scott was asked yesterday at an event in South Florida about his track record of making cuts to education funding. Rather than dignifying the question with a response, Scott categorically denied the premise – saying “all that’s incorrect” and immediately pivoting away from the question. Scott’s rationale for denying and evading the question is obvious: he doesn’t want to talk about the billions in education funding that were cut during his tenure as governor, especially not with his re-election prospects hanging in the balance.

Get the facts in American Bridge’s new video.

Background

Between 2010-11 And 2011-12 Budget Years, Florida’s Education Funding Dropped By $1.6 Billion. According to Politifact Florida, “As Scott approached his first legislative session in 2011, he unveiled a budget proposal at a tea party rally that included steep spending cuts, including to education. Ultimately, the Republican-led Legislature backed some of those cuts. Multiple news articles described the cuts to K-12 education at more than $1 billion — and many articles used that $1.3 billion figure cited by Crist…. Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the state cut its own contribution to education funding by about $200 million, but it also reduced the local contribution by $572 million. Add in the lost federal stimulus money of $870 million, and we get $1.6 billion in funding reductions.” [Politifact Florida, 11/5/13]

Scott Approved Cuts To Bright Future Scholarships. According to The Ledger, “Florida students seeking college degrees during these difficult economic times now face a 20 percent drop in Bright Futures scholarship money and predicted tuition hikes. Budget cuts passed by the Legislature earlier this month and approved by Gov. Rick Scott last week slashed the amount students can receive from Bright Futures, a lottery-funded scholarship program. The average award last year at four-year public universities was about $5,000. The decrease likely will average about $500 less next year. The exact amounts available will not be known until this summer, according to the state.” [The Ledger, 5/28/11]

Rick Scott Approved Tuition Hikes Of 8% And 5% At Florida Colleges In 2011 And 2012. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “While Scott proudly vetoed a 3 percent tuition hike last month, his 2011 budget included an 8 percent hike for students, at a cost of roughly $50 million. Scott also approved a 5 percent tuition increase for state colleges in 2012, saying that ‘colleges remain best positioned to weigh the needs of their institutions against the burden of increased student costs.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/31/13]