By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
It took less than a week for the first effects of the state budget cuts to be felt.
This week, in South Florida, the details began to emerge.
Broward County Public Schools, facing a $144 million shortfall, is cutting 1,400 teaching jobs. Even more cuts to support staff are expected. Insecurity hangs like a shroud over public schools.
This is what a 7.9 percent cut in education funding — about $540 per student — looks like. Schoolchildren worried whether their favorite teachers will be back, or whether there will be a band program, art class or baseball team next year. More than 1,400 families scared there may not be a paycheck come fall.
It’s not nearly as neat and antiseptic as a number in a budget or a campaign promise to cut spending.
Facing a $4 billion deficit, Gov. Rick Scott has now cut another 1,400 jobs. Couple that with the 8,600 state jobs he’s already cut, and the 24,000 jobs he tossed aside by turning away a federally funded high-speed rail line in Central Florida, and he’s now at negative 34,000 jobs.
Because other school districts — particularly large urban districts — will soon confront the kind of hard decisions the Broward district now faces.
I just hope Scott doesn’t campaign in the future on the promise of giving us all raises. I can’t afford a pay cut.
But hey, Scott’s mom still thinks her boy is doing a good job: