One part of Florida’s complex public school funding program is drawing fire from two Republican state senators. They’re calling for a study of what’s known as the district cost differential.
The Florida Education Finance Program, or FEFP, determines the level of state funding school districts receive each year. One variable is a cost of living adjustment called the district cost differential. Republican Sen. Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine) is skeptical, because it’s calculated by comparing wages for a set of occupations across counties.
“Basically the money follows the parents to where they work,” Hutson says.
“Well in my districts that I represent, they all work in those urban areas, and they choose to live in suburban areas because of how great the schools are,” he says. “So they’re choosing to come to the suburban areas and we turn around and punish them with this formula.”
He’s joining Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) in calling for a study of the funding model. Removing the district cost differential would likely mean fewer dollars flowing to urban districts.