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PECO money dries up

The state won’t have any money for new school building, maintenance or repair projects for the next two years. Lynn Hatter reports the news comes after Governor Rick Scott told all of the state’s public schools, including charters, to give back unspent allocations from previous years.

At issue is the Public Education Capital Outlay, or PECO fund. The money, which comes from a tax on utility bills has shrunk in recent years due to the economy and more conservation. In a letter to the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors directing public schools to give back unspent PECO money, Governor Rick Scott said some projects going forward won't be able to be completed.

According to state law, unspent PECO money is supposed to revert  back to the state each year, but in the past universities have been allowed to keep the money. Last year the schools had no money to give back.

In his budget recommendations, Scott didn’t allocate any PECO money to public universities or traditional K-12 schools, but did call for giving $55 million to charter schools.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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