Next year’s state budget boasts what Governor Scott has called record funding for K-12 education. After deep cuts spurred by the Recession, per-pupil spending, known as FEFP, or Florida Education Finance Program has indeed hit a new high—but not when you account for inflation. In real terms, the state’s contribution is down nearly 8%, and Florida school districts have to make do with the difference.
Every morning at Palm Lakes Elementary School in Hialeah, Principal Alina Iglesias bounces from the drive-through drop off outside school to the hallway where students gather to go to class. “Line up Line up Line up!” she tells a raucous group of third graders. “I multitask, you’ll see,” she adds.
Depending on the help she gets from parent volunteers, Iglesias punches in as a security guard, a hall monitor, and a clerk all before the first bell rings. Iglesias insists that cooperative spirit should be part of any principal’s job description.