In October, the Florida Department of Education requested more than $400 million for digital learning in its annual budget request submitted to state lawmakers. The money was needed to buy computers and upgrade public schools' bandwidth and wireless access, it said. But now department officials say they can make do with just $100 million for next year.
Several State Board of Education members who heard the news Tuesday were upset, calling the budget downgrade of $342 million "embarrassing" and questioning whether the department was "caving in" to political pressure.
Because $100 million for public school technology upgrades is precisely what Gov. Rick Scott asked for in his budget proposal to the Florida Legislature. It's the Legislature that sets the state spending plan.