In his speech to state lawmakers who were kicking off a 60-day legislative session, Gov. Crist called for fully funding the revised merit-pay program for teachers that the legislature created last year. He also touted his budget plan, which calls for $5 billion in additional funding for higher education and $60.6 million to enroll 46,000 more children in the state-financed health-care program. Barely mentioned in his speech, however, were the state’s budget woes. Florida lawmakers are expecting $4 billion less in revenue for the coming fiscal year, which is a sizable chunk of the $70 billion fiscal 2009 budget. Still, Gov. Crist has proposed a $1 billion increase in K-12 funding, which would bring total...
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