- Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed a $114.8 billion state budget for FY 2023-24, with a focus on K-12 education, receiving a record high of $26 billion.
- The budget includes a $1 billion increase in comprehensive education funding for raising average teacher salaries and increasing funding for special education programs.
- The average per-student funding will increase by $205, bringing the 2023-24 Florida Education Finance Program funding to $8,453.
- The budget requires full funding for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program and prohibits colleges and universities from raising tuition costs.
Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed his $114.8 billion state budget for the Fiscal Year 2023-24 this week, with K-12 education being a major focus, receiving a record high of $26 billion in funding.
The proposed budget also includes a $1 billion increase in the comprehensive education budget, aimed at raising average teacher salaries and increasing funding for special education programs by $100 million.
The governor’s proposal gained praise from the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union.
“Florida Education Association has been advocating for increased support for teacher prep and more flexibility for how experienced teacher salaries are calculated,” said FEA President Andrew Spar. “It is good to see these items are addressed in the governor’s proposal. Looking forward to working with the legislature on these items.”
Despite the praise, Spar and the FEA also criticized the proposal for not including more money for educator pay increases.
The union said the $200 million proposed for a teacher pay hike only amounts to about a $ 20-a-week raise for each teacher, on average.
The $200 million towards teacher pay increases comes as Florida faces a critical teacher shortage. Published data shows that vacant teaching positions in Florida have risen 21 percent compared to last year and more than 200 percent since 2018.
The average per-student funding will also increase by $205, bringing the 2023-24 Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) funding projection to $8,453.
Additionally, the budget 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 requires that no colleges or universities raise their tuition costs, despite requests made by the state Board of Governors.
To ensure student safety, the governor has 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.