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Carvalho: State Should 'Reward Performance' With School Funding For Miami-Dade

Miami Herald
Miami-Dade County school leaders are frustrated with the Legislature's funding levels, especially given the district's improving performance.

Miami-Dade County schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho hopes better academic performance will mean more money from the state legislature.

Carvalho and school board members highlighted the district’s improving state test scores during a press conference Friday at the school board building. Students in Miami-Dade are outperforming their peers in other urban school districts across the state.

"I hear in Tallahassee often that you ought to have a significant return on investment, and then you ought to reward for performance," Carvalho said. "At both levels, I think we make a compelling argument here."

Carvalho said it’s "not fair" that the district is performing better than the statewide average but most other school districts have gotten bigger funding increases. He and the school board plan to push for changes in the school funding formula during next year’s legislative session.

School board member Larry Feldman, who also spoke at the press conference, said he was frustrated that the district continues to improve without being recognized by lawmakers, and that the legislature chooses to focus instead on creating multiple public school systems — like charter schools and vouchers.

Feldman said some educators feel hopeless.

"What more can we give and not get another slap?" he said.

The Republican-led legislature has consistently increased education funding in recent years. But per-student funding in Florida remains among the lowest in the country.

In this year’s budget, most of the additional money went to hardening schools and enhancing mental health offerings in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Jessica Bakeman is Director of Enterprise Journalism at WLRN News, and she is the former senior news editor and education reporter. Her 2021 project "Class of COVID-19" won a national Edward R. Murrow Award.
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