TALLAHASSEE – The state’s Department of Education plans to request nearly $24 billion during next year’s legislative session, an increase of about $880 million over the current fiscal year’s budget. Of that, $22.2 billion is eyed for operating the public-school and state-college systems and $1.8 billion would go toward capital-outlay expenditures, such as building projects. A projected increase of 45,272 students next school year spurred the department to ask for a nearly $317 million increase in the Florida Education Finance Program, or FEFP, the main funding source for public schools. Suzanne Pridgeon, deputy commissioner in the department’s Division of Finance
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