Governor Ron DeSantis today delivered his first State of the State address, which placed an emphasis on high-quality education, and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran praised him for taking bold steps to make Florida #1 in education.
Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said, “It is not enough to simply improve; we must strive for excellence. In the two months since he took office, Governor DeSantis has made one transformational proposal after another, proving each step of the way that Florida’s students are his top priority. We share a vision for making Florida the best state in the nation for education and, after today’s State of the State address, it is crystal clear that nothing will get in the way of reaching that goal.”
Governor DeSantis has highlighted education through a number of transformational actions.
- He recommended historic education funding in his Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget, including:
- Nearly $423 million to create a Best and Brightest Teacher Bonus Program that rewards Florida’s most effective teachers and principals and the best schools ($413+ million for teacher bonuses; $9+ million for principal bonuses). This will replace the existing Best and Brightest Program.
- $10 million per year for the next five years to launch a loan/tuition forgiveness program for as many as 1,700 new teachers per year who commit to working as a Florida teacher for 5 years. Florida is going to need 8,500 news teachers to keep up with student growth over the next five years, in addition to those schools that already have critical shortages.
- Expand the reach and visibility of Florida’s teacher liability insurance program, including funding to provide this critical protection to student teachers.
- Largest Base Student Allocation (BSA) increase, $50 per student, since 2015-2016;
- Largest per student Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) increase, $224 per student, since 2013-2014, and second largest since 2007-2008;
- Nearly a $700 million increase to the total FEFP;
- Nearly a $100 million investment in security improvements to schools;
- Increased commitment to Safe Schools to nearly $212 million, a $50 million boost;
- Nearly $19 million to eliminate the waitlist for Gardiner Scholarships, a game changer for nearly 1,900 students with special needs;
- $10 million to fund grants that will place students in apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs; and
- $26 million for the Work Florida Initiative to be sure that students in our state college system are following a path that leads to the jobs of tomorrow.
- He proposed establishing the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, which will clear the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship waitlist.
- He signed three education-related executive orders on key education topics.
- Commitment to Eliminating Common Core, Ensuring High-Quality Academic Standards and Raising the Bar for Civic Literacy, which requires Commissioner Corcoran to thoroughly review Florida’s standards and make recommendations to Governor DeSantis by January 1, 2020;
- Charting a Course for Florida to Become Number 1 in the Nation in Workforce Education by 2030 and Ensuring Florida Students are Prepared for the Jobs of the Future, which was accompanied by funding recommendations for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year; and
- Ensuring the Safety of Our Children in Our Schools, which included directing Commissioner Corcoran to reopen and extend the application period for participation in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, develop best practices related to school safety, and communicate with school districts regarding the safe-school officer requirements.
For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.