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Budget conference: Legislature approves $354 million in PECO spending

Charter schools are the biggest winners.

The Legislature will spend about $354 million on public education capital outlay projects in the 2020-21 state budget.

The biggest winners are charter schools, which will receive nearly half of the funding — about $170 million. The allocation is a 7% uptick from last year, when lawmakers set aside $158 million for charters.

Projects at state universities account for another $106 million in PECO spending, while state colleges are set to receive nearly $13 million.

The University of Florida gets a largest slice of the pie, with $35 million being set aside to fund the university’s Data Science Research (DSR) Lab.

The UF Data Science Research Lab uses cutting edge technology to develop data management, data mining and data analysis strategies for everything from text-based databases to multimedia ones with images and video.

Lawmakers backed DSR with $25 million last year and $50 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year. UF will get another $8 million for the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School.

The Florida State University business school is set to get $20 million from lawmakers, while Florida Atlantic University will receive more than $25 and other state universities splitting the remaining funding for an array of smaller projects.

Of the remaining cash, $41 million will pay for projects in Gilchrist, Baker, Levy and Bradford counties

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