The early end to this year’s legislative session, without an approved budget, has put Florida school district leaders on edge.
Even in normal circumstances, school boards often struggle to craft spending plans largely dictated by state funding formulas. This year, they face the task without any hard numbers as a starting point.
Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie called the situation “a huge problem.”
“It creates a little bit of chaos in our budgeting process,” Runcie said. “Schools are on a cycle. We have to give them their budgets so they can determine what programs to offer, how many teachers to hire. The only thing we can do now is go on last year’s budget, which means zero new investment in public schools.”
School districts begin their fiscal year July 1, although they don’t have to adopt a budget until September. That means they regularly operate each fall on tentative plans, using money carried over from the previous year.