Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced his education budget proposals for the 2022-23 fiscal year that would boost teacher pay, increase per-student spending, and provide $421 million for school safety and mental health initiatives.
“Since day one, I have been focused on making Florida a leader in education, and I am proud to announce my proposals to invest record funding into our education system over the next year,” said DeSantis. “By continuing to boost teacher pay, give bonuses to principals and teachers, prioritize workforce education, foster a strong civics curriculum, and replace the FSA with progress monitoring, we’re making a significant difference in the lives of our students.”
If passed, the starting teacher salary in Florida would be $47,500, nearly an $8,000 increase from 2018, prior to the consecutive salary increases levied by DeSantis.
“I am incredibly thankful for the bold commitment Governor DeSantis has made to make Florida the Education State,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “We must continue to act with urgency in seeking innovative ways to improve the quality of education we provide 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.”
DeSantis recently eliminated the administration of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) test and allocated $15.5 million in this proposed budget to provide progress tracking tools.
With progress tracking, conducted three times a year, teachers evaluate how students are responding to curriculum within a given standard. Corcoran claims that fewer standardized testing days would lead to more instructional time in schools.
A further investment toward civic and debate engagement is seen in the proposal.
“We’re going to be investing another $500,000 to the Florida civics and debate initiative to expand access to the program into every school district in the 2022-2023 school year. This is in addition to the $106 million investment in civics education that I announced earlier this summer, which will provide teacher bonuses for any teacher earning the Florida civics seal of excellence” said DeSantis.
Vocational training is highlighted, with a goal of making Florida the number one state for workforce education by 2030.
The budget calls for $534 million to support workforce education programs, which includes $100 million for a new workforce development capitalization grant program that will create and expand workforce development programs at Florida school districts and state colleges.