There has been a lot of talk about the art funding being cut in Florida. State representatives say that school safety might be what’s behind these cuts.
“After the Parkland shooting, everything changed,” State Representative, Byron Donalds said. “Every Budget got ripped up.”
Most of the state’s budgets were finished when the shooting happened at Margery Stoneman Douglas.
As a result, the Florida Legislature had to reexamine and reallocate the entire state’s budget. Donalds can’t say for sure where the art funding went, but he’s almost positive that money was reworked to make schools safer.
“What we had to do was actually scrap those budgets and come up with new budgets, so we can find 400 million dollars for school hardening, for resource officers and for mental health,” Donalds said. “Which is what came about in the Margery Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act.”
Florida is ranked 48th in the country for art program funding. Donalds said that there are more important things on the table. Programs and facility for schools in Lee County and other SWFL districts will be effected by the final decision.
“We have to be able to fund essential services that are critical, there’s a lot of things that we would like to do that we can’t do and choose not to do,” said Donalds. “We think it’s far more important to be the number one state in financial stability, which we are.”
Donalds mentioned that Florida has a bigger population than New York, but almost half the budget. A limited budget means it takes a lot of give-and-take to make that budget balanced. He said it’s not easy.
“We take our budgeting process seriously, we would love to fund all those things,” Donalds said. “But unfortunately, we live in a world where there are limited means and there are unlimited wants, so we have to make those tough decisions.”