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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis presented a new education budget proposal that calls for record-breaking funding for the state’s public schools.
According to a press release, “the proposal includes a second-straight year of $1,000 bonuses for Florida’s teachers and principals; $600 million to raise minimum teacher salaries for the third year in a row from $40,000 to $47,500; and the highest per-student funding in Florida’s history at $8,000 per student.”
This proposal by Governor DeSantis is put forward as a recommendation for the FY 2022-2023 education budget. The $1,000 bonus checks would go to a total of 177,000 teachers and principals in the state, and the $600,000,000 targeted for salary increases represents a $50,000,000 budget increase over last fiscal year ($550,000,000).
The proposed budget also establishes a $421,000,000 fund for school safety and mental health initiatives. Of that total, $210,000,000,000 will go to the safe schools program, representing a $30,000,000 increase over the previous year, when the budget was $180,000,000. In addition, $140,000,000 will go to mental health, $42,000,000 will go to school strengthening grants, and the remaining $4,000,000 will go to Jewish school safety initiatives.
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Florida governor’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, told El American that DeSantis “has been the ‘education governor’ since day one” in office.
“Under his leadership, Florida has made major progress in education as well as teacher pay. 100% of kids in Florida have had access to high-quality, fully in-person education since August 2020, and this is all possible thanks to the dedication of Florida teachers. Educating the next generation is a momentous responsibility, and the governor deeply appreciates their hard work!”
According to the budget proposal, there are also three major investments related to innovative new education initiatives and programs in the state.
The first investment is to “eliminate the Florida Standards Assessment altogether and implement progress monitoring in its place,” for which $15,500,000 in regular funding is proposed “directed to progress monitoring tools to schools.”
The second is $500,000 to expand access to Florida’s civics education and debate initiative (this money would be in addition to the $106,000,000 DeSantis announced earlier this year to provide bonuses to teachers for earning a Florida Seal of Civic Excellence).
The last investment, according to the press release, is to develop and make Florida “the number one state in Workforce Education by 2030,” for which “$534,000,000 in funding to support workforce education programs is included in the proposed budget.”
“I have been focused on making Florida a leading state in education”
The governor of Florida, regarding the proposed budget, explained that the work of his administration will have a direct positive impact on Florida’s students and education officials.
“From day one, I have been focused on making Florida a leading education state, and I am proud to announce my proposals to invest record funds in our education system over the next year,” said DeSantis. He added, “By continuing to raise teacher pay, give bonuses to principals and teachers, prioritize workforce education, foster a strong civics curriculum and replace standardized testing (FSA) with progress monitoring, we are making a significant difference in the lives of our students.”
Likewise, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran thanked the governor for the effort to think through a comprehensive budget that will serve to improve education in the state. He also added that “we must continue to act with urgency in finding innovative ways to improve the quality of education we provide to students.”
“As Florida continues to be a national leader in education, these historic investments will undoubtedly help us focus on the individual needs of students to help them grow academically,” Corcoran said.
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.
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