The legislative session begins with the Senators focusing on school funding concerns. Republicans and Democrats waste no time squaring off on the way to fix the public education funding program – which is under court challenge as inadequate and inequitable. Republican Senator Charlie Shields thinks a new formula can be compiled, but not implemented immediately. He suggests it be phased in through three or four years. And, he knows where the extra money will come from. Senate Democrat leader Maida Coleman says the present system already is underfunded by $900-Million, and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse and controlling growth in the Medicaid program won’t get the job done. Lawmakers have until May to figure out something. While they work, a judge considering a lawsuit by more than 200 school districts will be watching.
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