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FEA: Florida must fund our future

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. DeSantis’ proposed state budget appears to show that he has heard many of the same concerns from parents and educators as the Florida Education Association (FEA) — on school safety, counseling, teacher retention and recruitment, and overall funding needs.

“This budget represents a step toward where we need to be. Money matters,” said FEA President Fedrick Ingram. “Florida still has a long way to go to come anywhere near national averages on funding for our neighborhood public schools or educator pay. We rank 44th in the nation for education spending. We’re 45th in teacher pay, 47th in pay for our education staff professionals, and our higher education faculty continue to experience stagnant salaries. Our K-12 schools are facing an unprecedented teacher shortage.”

One of FEA’s main concerns is this rapidly growing teacher shortage, which leaves far too many of our students without qualified teachers in their classrooms. We are hopeful the Legislature will follow the governor’s lead on funds for teacher recruitment and retention, and we look forward to working with them as they build their education budget.

“Schools are struggling to retain our best educators and recruit more high-quality teachers. Salaries matter,” Ingram said.

A clear-eyed look at K-12 education shows we have denied our public schools the resources they need to provide our children with the best opportunity for success.

For the sake of our students and our state, Florida’s leaders need to fund our neighborhood public schools — and fund our future.

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