Florida’s colleges of education are facing a one-two fiscal punch this spring.
The projected $2.5 billion shortfall in the state budget (and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better) is almost certain to impact the state’s public universities, despite campaign promises from the Gov-elect to raise funding for these institutions. With the universities already on their knees financially, and the recent arbitrator’s decision at FSU making it clear that only full amputations of academic units are acceptable (not the microsurgery attempted by the FSU administration), the universities’ departments, colleges and schools will have to answer the question, “Why shouldn’t we shut you down?”
Into this storm will come the push by conservative educational reformers to end the salary bumps traditionally given to teachers when they earn masters’ degrees in education. One version of an SB 6 sequel being circulated would ban such salary bumps. The demand for masters’ degrees in education, which are an important part of the bottom line for colleges of education and their host universities, would plummet, leaving the education colleges exposed financially.