FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
GOVERNOR’S 2013-14 FLORIDA FAMILIES FIRST BUDGET DRIVES COLLEGE AND CAREER FIRST EDUCATION AGENDA
–Teacher pay, technology, and a sizable increase in funds for state colleges help shape $1.2 billion boost over last year –
Tallahassee, Fla., January 31, 2013 – As Florida moves to Common Core State Standards, much of Governor Rick Scott’s 2013-14 Florida Families First budget request for K-12 public schools is prioritized to ensure the transition is a success. A $2,500 salary increase for classroom teachers not only values their contribution to student performance improvement as noted in national and international studies, it is tied to the additional responsibilities associated with the move to Common Core. Funding for technology will help meet the needs associated with a more digitally focused classroom setting, computer-based testing, and new learning tools. And a significant increase in discretionary funding will give districts the flexibility to pinpoint dollars where they are needed to ensure a smooth transition.
“This level of commitment to education sends a clear message that Governor Scott is committed to ensuring that children across our state have access to a high quality education,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. “Children are our most precious resource. They are tomorrow’s leaders. Investing in their education today helps ensure a successful tomorrow for them, for their families, and for our state.”
The $18.5 billion budget being proposed for public schools is a $1.2 billion increase over last year and includes these K-12 highlights:
· $480 million for teacher salary increases
· $100 million for digital learning initiatives
· $10.5 million more for safe schools for a total of $74.9 million, a 16.2 percent increase
· $412.25 per student increase overall in Florida Education Finance Program or FEFP (the formula used to calculate per pupil funding) – a total of $6,799 per student
Public Schools Chancellor Pam Stewart said the governor’s additional funding for education grew out of the fall statewide listening tour and roundtables with students, teachers, administrators, and parents.
“Parents want their children to have the best education available. This is also true for teachers and students,” said Chancellor Stewart. “The governor’s budget for education builds upon what we heard as we traveled the state. This budget addresses issues that are important to parents, teachers, and students, which reflects a strong commitment to K-12 funding.”
“We’re grateful to Gov. Scott for his proposed $1.2 billion increase in education funding, which will further the efforts of the dedicated professionals across our state who work closest to our students,” stated Pinellas County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego. “We’re also grateful to the governor for his personal outreach to our district and the visit he paid us last week to observe first-hand the results those dedicated professionals are achieving in the classroom.”
Florida’s teacher of the year Alex Lopes said, “Florida’s teachers work tirelessly every day to make sure each student in their classroom is getting a quality education and is progressing on the path for success in college and career. I am pleased that Governor Rick Scott recognizes the value of the teaching profession by proposing that every full-time classroom teacher receive a $2,500 salary increase.”
The Florida Families First budget also directs more resources to the Florida College System as a way to increase access for Floridians to affordable, high quality postsecondary education and includes these highlights:
· $1.1 billion in state funding for our state college system, an increase of $74.4 million or seven percent over the current fiscal year;
· $50.3 million more in operating funds for the college system;
· $13 million for competitive workforce programs; and
· $10 million for a Florida Distinguished Teacher College competitive grant.
Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna welcomed the additional funding for the 28 institutions that make up the system.
“The Florida College System has been nationally recognized for providing individuals with access to high-quality, low cost educational opportunities,” said Chancellor Hanna. “The Governor’s budget shows how the system will make continued improvements and build on existing strengths to become the national leader in higher education performance.”
St. Johns River State College President Joe Pickens, chair of the Council of Presidents for the Florida College System, stated, “The Florida College System strives to be first in the nation in the areas of college and career readiness, success and completion, access and affordability, and accountability. The requested funding will help the Florida College System be the leader in postsecondary education performance while meeting the needs of the state of Florida and our local communities.”
“The requested funding for the Florida College System will help our colleges be first in the country in postsecondary education performance,” stated Scott Howat, chairman of the District Board of Trustees of Seminole State College. “Increased performance will provide students in Florida with even greater access to quality educational opportunities.”
More information on Governor Rick Scott’s proposed 2013-14 education budget request is available here.
About the Florida Department of Education: The department’s mission is to increase the proficiency of all students within one seamless, efficient education system by providing them the chance to expand their knowledge and skills through world-class learning opportunities. Serving more than 3.5 million students, 4,200 public schools, 28 colleges, 188,000 teachers, 47,000 college professors and administrators, and 318,000 individuals who work in education throughout the state, the department enhances the economic self-sufficiency of Floridians through programs and services geared toward college, workforce education, job-specific skills, and career development. Florida ranks first in the nation for teacher quality, first in the nation in advanced placement participation, and first in the southern region for graduation rate and degrees awarded by the Florida College System. For more information, visit www.fldoe.org.