- The Florida Board of Education voted unanimously to amend its 2023-24 Education Operating and Fixed Capital Outlay Budget Request to reflect Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recommended budget.
- The board’s initial budget request differed from the governor’s recommendation by nearly $1 billion, with the largest discrepancies related to grant awards for class size reduction and the Florida Educational Finance Program.
- DeSantis’ proposed budget focuses on K-12 education, with a record-high of $26 billion in funding, an additional $200 million to raise teacher pay, and an average per-student funding increase of $205. The budget also includes more funding for school safety and mental health, and a $40 million increase for the Safe Schools Allocation.
The Florida Board of Education unanimously voted on Thursday to amend its 2023-24 Education Operating and Fixed Capital Outlay Budget Request to reflect Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recommended budget.
While the Board’s legislative request largely mirrored DeSantis’ proposal, the new motion will streamline the funding allocation process. Board of Education Chair Tom Grady stated that the amendment ensures the Board and Governor are in agreement with the budget’s priorities. The budget request will now move on to the Legislature for consideration.
The largest discrepancies between what the Board of Education initially requested and what Gov. DeSantis recommended were related to grant awards. The board’s original budget request included nearly $1 billion less in funding for grants related to class size reduction and the Florida Educational Finance Program.
In addition to the larger discrepancies, slight deviations were also observed in private college and university funding. DeSantis recommended allocating $28.8 million for the Access to Student Education Grant, which provides need-based aid to eligible students attending private colleges and universities in Florida. The Board of Education did not seek any funding for this program in its initial budget request.
The governor proposed his $114.8 billion state budget for the Fiscal Year 2023-24 last month, with K-12 education as a major focus, allocating a record-high of $26 billion in funding. The budget includes an additional $200 million to raise teacher pay, bringing the total Teacher Salary Increase Allocation to $1 billion.
The average per-student funding will also increase by $205, which raises the 2023-24 Florida Education Finance Program funding projection to $8,453. The budget additionally calls for full funding of the Bright Futures Scholarship Program, which provides high-achieving Florida students with full or partial tuition coverage, at $614.5 million. The proposed budget also stipulates that no colleges or universities raise their tuition costs, despite requests made by the state Board of Governors.
DeSantis also proposed a $40 million increase for the Safe Schools Allocation, a $20 million increase for the Student Transportation Allocation, and a $20 million increase for Mental Health Allocation in the FEFP. Under the budget, the state will allocate $10 million for additional school safety technology, $27.2 million for Teacher Professional Development, and $42 million for School Hardening Grants, should it find approval among lawmakers.