Florida Education Projects: State Resumes Borrowing Funds For School MaintenanceBy Jane Reed, UniversityHerald Reporter
Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet announced on Tuesday that they agreed to start borrowing to fund education projects. After five years, since 2011, they unanimously agreed to borrow $285 million in the next few years.
The funds are needed to maintain facilities for colleges, public schools and state universities. At first, Gov. Scott refused to borrow funds. He was described to be vigorous in opposing state borrowing. However, CBS Local reports that the state made the decision to borrow an approved budget. The Public Education Capital Outlay has lent funds to pay for the construction and maintenance of educational buildings.
The funding will be included in the 2016-2017 budget. A huge chunk will go toward major university projects. It includes the $20 million required for the University of Central Florida's downtown Orlando campus. In addition, a nuclear science building at the University of Florida will require $13.8 million. Another $22.5 million will go to the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine, in Tampa.
Aside from these major universities, Florida's rural areas will also benefit from the funds. About $18.7 million will go to Holmes county and $11.5 million will go to Levy County. St. Augustine's school for the Deaf and the Blind will also take advantage of the funds. A $9 million grant will help pay for school improvements. Another $12.7 million will be given to Seminole State College and $8.98 million for the library at State College of Florida. St. Petersburg College will gain $10 million for its student success center.
The director of the state Division of Bond Finance, Ben Watkins, said that the initial borrowings are quite small but will increase in the next few years. Florida's decision to issue new PECO bonds comes at a time with "very favorable market conditions," Watkins said.
Look back in 2015 and compare Florida governor Rick Scott's plan, to spend more money on education for your children, to this year's announcement: