StateImpact Florida
8:04 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Scott, Lawmakers Making School Technology A Budget Priority

Both Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers want to spend more money on school technology. The question is the best way to do so.
Credit UTNAPISTIM / Flickr

The chairman of the Senate's education committee said Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers want to spend at least $40 million, and likely more, to upgrade schools' Internet capacity and add new computers, tablets and other digital tools.

Sen. John Legg, R-Port Richey, said education technology is a priority for Scott and both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders.

Legg said $40 million in Scott's proposed budget is a starting point.

"I think that was a placeholder," Legg said, "an indication of a willingness to fund, this year, technology. I think we need to do better. I think we need to do a little bit more."

Lawmakers have required half of classroom instruction is delivered digitally when classes begin in fall 2015. That deadline has been overshadowed by the state's switch to new math and language arts standards and a new test next school year.

Lawmakers generally agree the state needs to spend more money on school technology, Legg said. The question is figuring out what technology is the most effective for students and teachers.

"There hasn’t been a discussion," Legg said. "All of us have been for technology, but there hasn’t been a real discussion of what does that look like? And how do we provide that opportunity?"

Legg said Scott is willing to support more money for technology, but only if lawmakers show him a plan that makes sense.