Fla. budget deal will increase school dollars

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Legislative budget negotiators have agreed to increase public school spending by an average of $28 per student.

The deal Friday will give school districts $6,873 for every elementary and secondary student in the budget year beginning July 1.

The slight increase - instead of cuts that were feared - hinges on federal approval of $2.2 billion in education stimulus dollars for Florida during the next two budget years.

Florida needs a waiver because state spending on public schools has dropped since 2006.

Education Commissioner Eric Smith said he remains confident the waiver will be granted but a decision is not expected for at least two weeks.

That's after a final budget vote set for a week from Friday.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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