Governor Rick Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget Invests Record Funding in Education

January 31, 2017

DOE Press Office

Governor Rick Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget Invests Record Funding in Education

Tallahassee, Fla., January 31, 2017 – Governor Rick Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget makes historic investments in Florida’s public education system, with record high per-student funding, incentives to recruit and retain world-class educators, and proposals to make higher education more affordable.

Governor Scott said, “The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow and we must dedicate every available resource to making sure they have the tools and opportunities they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. This includes recruiting and retaining highly trained principals and teachers, providing record per-student funding, and remaining committed to making the cost of higher education affordable for all Florida families. We know that teachers are especially key to preparing our future generations for great careers and the ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ Budget recognizes this commitment by proposing funding to eliminate their initial certification and renewal certification fees. By making these critical investments today, we are ensuring our children and grandchildren have the tools they need to accomplish great things across our state.” 

The “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget includes:

K-12 Public Schools:

  • $20.9 billion in state and local funding, an increase of $815.2 million:
    • Historic per-student funding of $7,421, an increase of $216 over 2016-17 levels;
    • $203.1 million increase in funds to support an additional 28,193 students;
    • $80 million to assist districts in implementing their Digital Classrooms Plans;
    • $74.5 million to ensure school safety for our students, an increase of $10 million; and
    • $57.4 million for the Sparsity Supplement, an increase of $4.6 million, which provides funding to assist rural districts with sparse populations (24,000 or fewer students).
  • Funding to help ensure that Florida students have well-prepared, high-quality educators and that educators are recognized and compensated for outstanding performance:
    • $43 million to recruit, support, and retain the best teachers for all students by providing bonuses to teachers who demonstrate high levels of student growth; addressing shortages in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields; and supporting top teachers in struggling schools;
    • $8.5 million to provide school leaders with professional development opportunities that will enable them to inspire their teachers and maximize student learning;
    • $770,000 to recognize outstanding educators in our public schools through the Teacher of the Year program which provides at least $10,000 for district winners; at least $15,000 for the top five finalists; and at least $20,000 for the statewide winner; and
    • $15 million to pay for initial teacher certifications and renewal certification fees. This investment will save each of Florida’s aspiring teachers approximately $555 on their initial certification and each of Florida’s employed public school teachers $75 for their certification renewal.

Florida Colleges:

  • $1.25 billion in state operating funds, an increase of $10.5 million which provides:
    • $100 million for performance funding, with $40 million in additional institutional investment;
    • $10 million to incentivize industry certification performance; and
    • $5.6 million to fund summer dual enrollment for high school students to take college classes.

In line with his commitment to making college more affordable, Governor Rick Scott has also recommended a sales tax exemption for students purchasing required textbooks and instructional materials, which will save students $48 million next year. A student taking five courses per semester will save a minimum of $60 per year. He is also proposing to freeze all fees and tuition at state colleges.

Bright Futures:

  • $252.1 million to fund Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship Program, including $34.7 million to cover summer classes for eligible students, and $12.9 million to increase the Florida Academic Scholar per credit award amount by 10 percent.

Educational Facility Improvement:

  • $185.9 million for maintenance, repairs, renovation and remodeling includes:
    • $75 million for public schools;
    • $75 million for charter schools; and
    • $35.9 million for Florida colleges.
  • $16 million for two Special Facility Construction Account projects in Hamilton and Taylor Counties
  • $20.5 million for Florida College System construction projects, requiring a dollar for dollar match from private contributions.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said, “There is nothing more important than providing Floridians access to a K-12 and college education that will lead them to prosperous careers. I commend Governor Rick Scott for his ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ Budget, which further demonstrates his steadfast commitment to Florida’s families and their futures.” 

Marva Johnson, State Board of Education Chair, said, “Governor Rick Scott hit the mark with his ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ Budget. Florida is recognized as a national leader in the field of education, and by investing in the areas that have the greatest impact on student success, Governor Scott is investing in Florida’s next generation and securing Florida's future success."

Andy Tuck, State Board of Education Vice Chair, said, “There has never been a more important time to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in our state’s schools. Throughout the world, there is a growing demand for employees who can seamlessly fill positions in STEM fields, and Governor Scott’s investments will help ensure Florida students are prepared to compete in this global economy.”

Malcom Thomas, Superintendent of Escambia School District and Florida Association of District School Superintendents President,  said, “Our state’s students will greatly benefit from Governor Scott’s focus on K-12 education in his ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ Budget. I am particularly pleased by the significant increase in per-student funding, which will enable us to keep our focus where it belongs – on our students.”

Dr. Ed Meadows, Pensacola State College President, said, “I appreciate Governor Rick Scott for proposing an increase of $10.5 million for the Florida College System. Our 28 colleges serve more than 800,000 Florida students and lead the nation with graduation rates topping nearly every other state. This infusion of funds will help ensure each college has the resources necessary to offer their students a world-class education and to respond to the needs of their communities.”

Dr. Jackson N. Sasser, Santa Fe College President, said, “At Santa Fe College, we are committed to helping our students achieve their academic and career goals.  Our leadership and staff strive for excellence in all that we do, and I am thankful that Governor Rick Scott has included financial incentives to reward colleges for exemplary performance.”

Dr. Sandy Shugart, Valenica College President, said, “We appreciate the Governor’s commitment to performance funding in the Florida College System.  We are convinced Governor Scott’s consistent advocacy for performance funding represents solid business logic and will continue to drive positive student outcomes at Valencia and throughout the system.”

Jessica Solano, 2017 Florida Teacher of the Year, said, “I cherish the opportunity to help mold Florida’s future generations through my work in the classroom, and I know that so many of my fellow teachers around the state share that sentiment. I am immensely grateful that Governor Scott has once again proposed $10,000 for each of the district teachers of the year and additional funds for the finalists and statewide winner. These outstanding educators truly deserve to be recognized for their dedication to Florida’s students.”    

View the Fighting for Florida’s Future Budget highlights.

View the Fighting for Florida’s Future Budget FAQ.

View the Fighting for Florida’s Future Budget complete budget.

Read More News...