The Florida Legislature is hard at work on early versions of the 2020 Budget and policies that will impact our kids.
It is more important than ever to make sure that our elected officials know what we want for children, teachers and public schools.
Read the update below and visit the Advocacy Dashboard to take action for students. We make it easy to identify and contact your legislators via email and/or social media. Together, we can advocate for policies that invest in children and support their future.
2020 Budget and Teacher Pay
Last Wednesday, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved their respective budget proposals. The budgets will be debated and voted upon on the House and Senate floors this week. Any differences between the two spending plans will be negotiated in a conference committee.
The Senate’s $92.8 billion budget bill (SB 2500) earmarks $500 million for teacher raises, with the bulk of the money aimed at increasing the minimum salaries to $47,500 a year. The funds earmarked for salaries requires districts to use 80% of their total allocation to increase minimum classroom salaries towards Gov. DeSantis' goal of $47,500 and the balance for veteran teachers.
The House’s $91.4 billion budget bill (PCB APC 20-01) includes $650 million earmarked for increasing teacher salaries. $500 million of the House’s $650 million pay package is aimed at increasing minimum teacher pay across the state.
The negotiations begin now. Legislators need to hear from you today. Florida falls near the bottom of all states for per pupil funding. Tell your legislators that Florida's teachers and students deserve better.
Last week, the House Education Committee passed a bill that would drastically expand the current voucher programs. These programs drain millions of dollars from public schools every year.
The bill boosts the cap for the Family Empowerment Scholarship from 18,000 students to 28,000 students and would remove a requirement about students enrolling in public schools before becoming eligible for the vouchers. In addition, the bill contains a provision that reduces the required audits of the non-profits that manage all of the voucher funds from annually to once every three years. (Last year's audit found that Step Up For Students failed to properly check applicants’ household-income eligibility for the vouchers.) After an investigation by the Orlando Sentinel found that numerous voucher schools discriminated against children and families, many donor corporations publicly withdrew their support. However, the voucher bill includes no new protections for students attending voucher schools.
Tell your elected officials that you expect them to support Florida's students and demand that they add accountability to these voucher schemes and invest in public schools instead of privately owned schools.