TALLAHASSEE — There is a crisis in education in Florida. More than 3,500 classrooms and about 300,000 students do not have a full-time, permanent teacher. Teacher pay in this state ranks 46thin the nation, and pay for many of the employees essential to our schools is below the federal poverty line. In education funding, we rank among the bottom 10 states. Despite all this, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) proposes a per-student funding increase of 1 percent.
FDOE’s proposed budget makes no effort — zero — to address the fact that education funding in Florida has failed to recover from the Great Recession. The proposal falls well below last year’s budget effort, and will not keep overall per-student spending even with inflation.
“Commissioner Corcoran and members of the State Board of Education should get out and talk to the teachers who are buying classroom supplies and band equipment out of their own pockets. They should talk to some of the thousands of kids who started school without a full-time, qualified teacher. The DOE proposal is a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed for our students and schools,” said FEA President Fedrick Ingram.
“Last year the FEA called for a 10-percent increase in funding for public education — a down-payment on the amount needed to make up for years of starving our schools. This year we are again calling for a 10-percent increase and will propose a long-term program to rebuild public education and get us out of the bottom of national rankings on funding and educator pay. Florida has the fourth-largest economy in the U.S., and we can afford to do better for our students. Lawmakers must fund our future.”
While lawmakers approved a 3.27 increase to overall per-student funding for 2019-2020, the FDOE proposal released today calls for an increase of only 1.1 percent for 2020-2021. Inflation is currently running at an annual rate of 1.8 percent.
CONTACT: Joni Branch, (850) 201-3223 or (850) 544-7055
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 145,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.