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A BOLD VISION FOR HIGH QUALITY EDUCATION

As a product of Florida’s public school system and a parent of two future Florida students, Governor DeSantis knows the importance of ensuring all Florida students have the opportunity to attend a great school and get a high quality education. Governor DeSantis believes that every student, regardless of their zip code or family circumstances, should have the opportunity to get a great education. That is why the Governor’s recommended budget includes key investments in K-12, workforce, and higher education to build a high quality education system that prepares all Florida students for the future. Key investments include: Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) is funded at $405.4 million K-12 public schools has the highest total and state funding of all time with $21.7 billion in total funding and $12.3 billion in state funding In addition, K-12 per student funding of $7,653 exceeds the current year’s record funding by $224 per student The Florida College System state operating funds is funded at $1.28 billion Total funding for the State University System operating funds of $4.4 billion and total state operating funding of $2.6 billion

Early Learning

As a father of two young children, Governor DeSantis recognizes a child’s early years of education provides a strong foundation for their future learning. That is why the Governor’s recommended budget provides more than $1.2 billion in funding, an increase of $135.3 million over Fiscal Year 2018-19 for early child education.

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK)

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget recommends an additional $7 million for a total of more than $405.4 million for Florida’s VPK program, a quality, free education initiative, which serves more than 160,000 four and five-year olds. VPK prepares each child for kindergarten by building a strong foundation for school and focusing on early literacy skills.

School Readiness

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget recommends an increase of $130 million in federal funding to serve additional children in the School Readiness program, meet additional federal requirements for the School Readiness Program, and reward School Readiness providers who participate in program assessment and implement quality improvement strategies.

In addition, the Governor’s recommended budget provides funds in Fiscal Year 2019-20 for the following initiatives that support early learning: T.E.A.C.H. – $10 million for early childhood teacher scholarships; Help Me Grow – $1.8 million to connect children and families with information, resources and developmental services to enhance health, behavior and learning in the development of young children; Teacher Training – $3 million for statewide professional development that improves child care instructor quality; and Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) – $3.9 million to deliver high quality School Readiness curriculum directly to parents so they may strengthen the cognitive and early literacy skills of at-risk children.

K-12 Public Education

After two decades of education reforms, Florida now ranks fourth in the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for K-12 achievement and has a graduation rate of 86.1 percent. To build on Florida’s successful turn-around efforts, Governor DeSantis will continue to build a high quality K-12 education system by making key investments in Florida’s public school system. The Governor is recommending $21.7 billion in total funding for the Florida Educational Finance Program (FEFP). This recommendation results in a per student funding amount of $7,653, an increase of $224. The base student allocation grows by $50 per student.

To achieve the $21.7 billion in total funding, $425 million in additional state funding and $142.3 million in required local effort (RLE) revenue is provided. The increase in RLE revenue is generated from new construction.

Highlights of the FEFP Increases include: $50 million of the $211.9 million in total funding for school safety initiatives, $10 million of the $79.2 million in total funding for mental health initiatives; $423 million for a new initiative to recruit and retain great teachers and principals.

Protecting Florida’s Jewish Day Schools

In response to safety concerns for Florida’s Jewish communities after they received hateful threats recently, Governor DeSantis is providing $2.5 million in recurring funding to provide additional security to ensure children at Florida Jewish Day Schools can learn in a safe environment. This funding will help provide security and counter-terrorism upgrades such as video cameras, fences, bullet-proof glass, alarm systems and other safety equipment.

Promoting Computer Science

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget includes $10 million to establish a program to cover the cost of training for teachers to earn educator certificates or industry certifications in computer science. The program would also provide bonuses to teachers who earned an educator certificate or industry certification who are teaching computer science courses.

Higher Education

In higher education, Florida now boasts five of the top 100 public universities in the country, including one in the top 10, while maintaining the second lowest tuition in the country for public four-year institutions. To continue building on Florida’s success, Governor DeSantis will support and expand higher education programs that ensure Florida’s state colleges and universities offer students a high quality education at an affordable rate. That is why the Governor’s budget includes state operating funding for Florida’s higher education system of more than $1.2 billion for Florida colleges, and more than $2.6 billion for Florida universities.

Performance Funding

Governor DeSantis will increase performance funding to encourage Florida’s career technical centers, the Florida College System, and the State University System to continuing investing in initiatives that have proven effective in: increasing the number of industry certifications awarded, increasing the four-year graduation rates, increasing student retention rates, lowering student costs, and reducing student debt.

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget includes the following performance funding at career technical centers, state colleges and state universities: Provides $6.5 million for students earning industry certifications in high-skill, high-demand areas at career technical centers. This is an increase of $2 million over FY 2018-19. Provides $120 million in performance funding for the 28 state colleges, which is an increase in state investment of $30 million over current year. The recommended budget also provides $14 million for students earning industry certifications in high-skill, high-demand areas at Florida colleges, which is an increase $4 million over Fiscal Year 2018-19. Provides $620 million in performance funding for state universities, which is an increase in state investment of $30 million over current year.

Holding the Line on Tuition and Student Expenses

Governor DeSantis will work with the Legislature to keep tuition as low as possible by looking for administrative spending reduction opportunities while also supporting Bright Futures Scholarships and other programs that reduce the financial burden on Florida’s students. That is why the Governor has not included any tuition increases in his budget recommendation.

Workforce Initiatives

Pathways to a Career Opportunity Grants - $10 million in funding for school districts and Florida College institutions to develop high-quality workforce, apprenticeships and other industry specific learning opportunities for students. Programs will promote partnerships between high schools, postsecondary institutions, and local businesses that align Florida’s graduates to job market demands. Work Florida Initiative at State Colleges - $26 million in funding to support statewide efforts to align students in Florida to workforce programs, within the Florida College System, that lead to jobs. This initiative will focus on aligning our graduates to the job market needs by utilizing job growth reports and industry partner feedback to expand existing programs to meet workforce demands. Institutions should engage in a variety of innovative partnerships that will result in programs designed to meet local workforce needs.

College Completion

The Governor establishes the Last Mile College Completion Program by providing $1.5 million to fund an incentive program to assist up to 1,000 students who have dropped out of their associate’s or bachelor’s degree program to be able to return to school and graduate. The program will allow colleges to identify students who need ten percent or less credits to complete their degree and offer the students tuition waivers to continue working towards earning their degree.

Education Infrastructure

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget provides $510.4 million in funding to school districts, colleges, and universities, and funds the necessary infrastructure for public charter schools without utilizing any funds from the school districts. Governor DeSantis believes that students and teachers at all of Florida’s public schools deserve a safe environment in which to learn and work. Specific recommendations include:

School Safety Grants

More than $98.9 million for school safety grants provided to school districts to assists with costs associated with improving the physical security of K-12 school buildings.

Maintenance

$50 million for traditional public school maintenance; $155.5 million for public charter school maintenance; $6.6 million for lab school maintenance; $2.8 million for Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind maintenance; $2.9 million for public broadcasting stations to correct health and safety issues, correct building deficiencies and other project renovations; $35.7 million for Florida College System maintenance; and $48.4 million for State University System maintenance.

Construction

More than $45.5 million for Special Facility Construction projects. This funding is for critical infrastructure needs in Bradford, Gilchrist, Jackson and Liberty counties; More than $19.9 million to complete construction projects at the state colleges and state universities; and $44 million in budget authority to the State University System to spend collected student fees on a list of student-approved facility projects.