Governor Rick Scott’s Florida First Budget Will Make Florida First in Education


November 23, 2015

DOE Press Office

Governor Rick Scott’s Florida First Budget Will Make Florida First in Education

Tallahassee, Fla., November 23, 2015 – Governor Rick Scott’s Florida First budget prioritizes Florida students by proposing historic K-12 funding of $20.2 billion, including raising per-pupil funding to record levels, and increasing funding for innovative strategies that support student success.

Governor Scott said, “In order to diversify our economy and make Florida first in the nation for jobs, we must invest in our students. As the leaders of tomorrow, we want to make sure our students have the skills they need to succeed in the classroom and in their careers, which means making strategic investments in our schools and teachers. I am proud to make these historic investments today as we continue our goal of making Florida the best place in the world to get a great education and career.” 

The Florida First proposed budget includes:

  • $20.2 billion in total public school funding, an increase of $507.3 million;
  • $7,221 per student, an increase of $116 per student over last year and $95 above Florida’s previous record level of funding in 2007-2008, including:
    • $86.8 million to support additional instruction in our lowest performing schools;
    • $74.5 million to ensure school safety for our students, an increase of $10 million; and
    • $80 million to assist districts in implementing their Digital Classrooms Plans, an increase of $20 million over last year.
  • $36 million for programs supporting economic development and workforce demands at district technical centers and Florida College System institutions, an increase of $26.5 million over last year, including:
  • $20 million to create a Rapid Response Start-up Grant program for technical centers to directly link workforce needs to job demand and provide students an opportunity to get a career in a year;
  • $10 million in performance incentives for the Florida College System for students earning industry certification in high-demand areas;
  • $6 million in performance incentives for Workforce Education for students earning industry certifications in high-demand areas;
  • $75.4 million for eight small school districts for critical construction needs through the Special Facilities Program;
  • $5 million to support STEM $10,000 bachelor degrees to help ensure Florida students are prepared to meet the growing availability of STEM jobs;
  • $212.1 million for maintenance, repair, and renovation of K-12 public educational facilities, charter schools, Florida colleges, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, and public workforce education facilities;
  • $1.2 million to recognize outstanding educators in our public schools through Teacher of the Year, Principals of the Year, and School Related Personnel of the Year programs; and
  • $1 million for the STEM Summer Residency Program for teachers.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said, "With his Florida First budget, Governor Rick Scott has once again demonstrated his unwavering support of Florida’s students and families with his proposal that underscores the value of having a strong education system every step of the way. We are committed to being the very best state in the nation to get a quality education, and this increased funding will help our students take full advantage of the opportunities before them.”

Marva Johnson, State Board of Education Chair, said, "The Florida First budget focuses attention where it belongs – on our students – by providing funding that will enable them to get a world-class education so they are poised to achieve their life’s ambitions upon graduation. I applaud Governor Scott for recognizing that an educated student population will become a prosperous working population and productive citizens.”

Diane Culpepper, Lake Technical College Director, said, “I am grateful that Governor Scott has included a significant increase in funding for technical colleges and centers in his Florida First budget. Our programs offer Floridians of all ages the opportunity to develop skills that will qualify them for high-wage careers in a year or less. The additional $20 million will enable us to develop and expand programs so Floridians have even more options when choosing the career path that best suits their needs.” 

Julio Fuentes, Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer, said “Florida’s Hispanic students are outperforming the nation, and I commend Governor Scott for proposing investments in our state’s education system that will help all of our students achieve continued success. In my role, I have witnessed the influx in job openings and I am confident this funding will positively impact students’ readiness to meet the growing workforce demands in our state.”

Diane McKee, 2016 Florida Teacher of the Year, said, “As Florida’s Teacher of the Year, I have had the opportunity to engage with fellow educators from around the state, as well as the governor himself and many of our state’s education leaders. It has been an incredibly valuable experience, and I am thrilled that Governor Scott has proposed funding that would provide all 2016 teachers of the year with the chance to benefit from these networking and professional development opportunities.” 

Dominic M. Calabro, Florida TaxWatch President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “By increasing funding from school readiness programs to Career and Adult Education, Governor Scott helps Florida students achieve at every stage in their educational journey. The Governor’s Florida First budget aligns programs in career and technical centers with projected employment opportunities within local communities. This additional funding helps provide the education and training for work in a high-pay, high-skill career at an affordable cost to Florida’s taxpayers.”

To learn more about the “Florida First” budget, visit

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