Florida’s abysmal record on education has resulted in over a decade of neglect for our schools and our children. After years of hurtful policies and neglect, we are calling for a Decade of Progress for Florida’s Public Schools.
- Florida ranks 43rd in the nation in per-student expenditures.
- Florida ranks 46th in the nation in teacher pay — more than $12,000 behind the national average.
- Florida has nearly 50,000 education staff professionals who earn a wage below the national poverty level for a family of four.
- Florida’s base student allocation (BSA) has only increased by $116 or 2.8% since the 2007-08 school year.
- Florida’s overall per-student funding has only increased by $369 or 5% since the 2007-08 school year.
- The average cost of living has increased by 21.7% between 2008 and 2019.
- In 2014-15 the millage rate for the required local effort (RLE) was 5.183. In 2019-20 the millage rate for the required local effort is 3.927, handicapping school districts’ ability to pay for educational needs.
- Florida began the 2019-2020 school year with more than 3,500 teacher vacancies. More than 300,000 students started the school year without a full-time, certified teacher in the classroom.
- Florida spends half the national average on funding per full-time university student.
- Graduate assistants in our universities teach up to 30% of undergraduate courses but pay up to 25% of their teaching stipends on university fees.
- Over the next decade, Florida will be in the TOP 10 in the nation in per-student funding.
- Over the next decade, Florida will be in the TOP 10 in the nation in teacher pay.
- Over the next decade, Florida will be in the TOP 10 in the nation in education staff professional pay.
- Over the next decade, Florida will lead the nation in a system of higher education that recognizes and values faculty and graduate assistant contributions to the work of our colleges and universities.
THE 2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION:
- The Decade of Progress is a 10-year investment of $22 billion in education funding through 2030.
- Lawmakers must make a serious down payment in 2020. An investment of $2.4 billion represents a 10% increase in per-student funding. While that sounds like a lot, it will only move Florida up four spots in the national rankings.
- This investment would increase per-student funding by $767, of which at least $614 must go to base student allocation, the flexible money under local district control.
- This investment would allow for across-the-board pay increases of 10% for every public school employee in Florida — teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, secretaries, librarians, social workers, cafeteria workers, etc.
- This investment will restore electives including art, music and drama. It will provide additional funding for lab materials, so students don’t just read about STEM, but also can engage in it.
- This investment will ensure students have increased access to mental health services — school counselors, social workers and school psychologists will be more readily available to assist struggling students and families.
- This investment would allow for Florida’s districts to better address struggling schools that have suffered under decades of underfunding.