Governor Ron DeSantis’ budget makes historic investments in Florida’s education system, with a proposal to increase the minimum teacher salary for teachers across the state. The Governor’s proposed FY 2020-21 budget recommendation includes a $900 million investment to reward Florida’s teachers and principals. This investment includes $600 million for a pay raise for more than 101,000 teachers, nearly 60% of Florida’s teachers, by raising the minimum salary to $47,500. The investment also includes $300 million for teacher and principal bonuses that provide the greatest awards to those in Title 1 schools, sending a clear signal that Florida recognizes their achievements at schools that need the greatest support.
“Florida has renowned K-12 schools and nationally recognized programs that ensure every Floridian has access to educational opportunities that meet their individual needs,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget invests historic funds into our state’s public education system, which ensures Florida is the best state in the nation to receive a world-class education. This year, I am prioritizing teacher pay, and proposing that we increase the minimum salary to $47,500. I am also proposing new teacher and principal bonus programs to reward their hard work and dedication. This budget invests in our Title 1 schools, by focusing on the schools that serve most of our students born with an economic disadvantage, the schools that often need the greatest support; and this is critical. We must implement game changing policy if we’re going to move the needle for these students. I look forward to working with the Legislature to secure historic achievements for Florida’s students, educators and families.”
“We have a lot to be proud of for education in Florida yet we also have realities to face, realities that continue to repeat themselves for every generation of students,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Every year Florida knocks it out of the park in AP testing, we’re #1 for access to preschool, massively improved high school graduation rate, our colleges and universities are #1 in the country, we’re leading the way closing achievement gaps, especially for Hispanic students and students with special needs, our charter schools are outperforming the best states as a whole in the nation. Nearly 60% of our students are born into low income households and they begin their educational journey disadvantaged and in dire need to catch up. We must also support our educators. Florida has the best teachers and principals in the nation and I am proud to support the Governor’s proposal to increase the minimum salary and new teacher and principal bonus programs.”
The Bolder, Better, Brighter Future Budget includes:
Investing in Great Teachers
- $600 million for increasing minimum teacher pay
- $300 million for teacher and principal bonuses
- $1.5 million increase ($25.8 million total) for Teacher Professional Development, which includes:
- $10 million for Computer Science (CS) Certification/Bonuses
- $500 thousand for High Impact Teacher Corps
- $1 million for Professional Development on Standards
Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP)
- $50/student increase in the Base Student Allocation (BSA)
- $302/student increase in the total FEFP
- $25 million increase, for a total of $100 million, in the Mental Health Assistance Allocation – to decrease the ratio of students to mental health counselors
Mental Health and School Safety
- $100 million to expand school-based mental health care in the FEFP, an increase of $25 million to reduce the ratio of students to mental health counselors.
- $181.4 million for school safety initiatives in the FEFP.
- $5.5 million for Youth Mental Health Training
- $8 million to fund Interoperability – real-time emergency services communications – in every school
- $75 million, an increase of $25 million, for school safety grants to improve the physical security of K-12 school buildings.
- $2.5 million for Jewish Day Schools for additional security to ensure students can learn in a safe environment.
Serving Students Unique Needs
- $12.8 million increase for Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK), highest BSA since 2011-12, for a total of $415 million
- Gardiner Scholarship – $24.8 million increase in funding, for a total of $172.8 million, for the Gardiner Scholarship Program to fund an additional 2,367 students.
- Office of Early Learning – Total funds of $1.23 billion to administer the VPK and School Readiness programs through 30 coalitions
- $760.9 million for School Readiness Services – ensures children of low-income working families receive high-quality care
- Vocational Rehabilitation – Total Funds of $246 million to provide employment opportunities to approximately 72,000 Floridians in 100 field offices
- $7.3 million for the Adult with Disabilities Program
- Blind Services – Total Funds of $57 million to provide education, employment and rehabilitation opportunities to approximately 12,000 Floridians in 15 field offices in the following programs and services:
- Blind Babies and Children’s Programs
- Pre-Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation Services
- Independent Living and Older Blind Services
- Braille and Talking Book Library Services
- Blind vendors in food service operations
College and Career Readiness
- Florida College System
- $23 million increase to College program funding, for a total of $1.3 billion – tiered approach to better align with student growth and demand
- $10 million increase to Performance Funding, for a total of $40 million – creating a new Dual Enrollment component
- $1.5 million for the Last Mile College Completion Program, to help students who left college with 12 or fewer credit hours remaining to complete their first degree
- Career and Adult Education
- $5 million for Postsecondary Certificates
- $11 million increase for District-Level Certificates
Critical Technology Needs
- Student Data – $5.5 million to modernize the DOE Mainframe and enhance DOE’s support for districts, all public schools, teachers, parents and students
“Governor DeSantis has remained committed to making sure Florida is known as the Education State and he is the Education Governor,” said Andy Tuck, State Board of Education Chair. “His Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget is paramount to students’ academic success, and I commend Governor DeSantis for taking these bold steps to ensure Florida’s students are set up for a successful future.”