DeSantis outlines education budget recommendations, including $600M to boost Florida teacher pay

Governor to be joined by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran

Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference in Niceville. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his education budget recommendations during a news conference Wednesday, including $600 million going toward teacher pay across the state.

The governor outlined the goals at Jacksonville Classical Academy alongside Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

DeSantis said the education budget would have “a lot of wins” for families, students and teachers and will seek to increase teacher salaries. He said the state has been increasing teacher pay over the last two years.

“We’re going to be able to do it even more and this is the highest level we will have done over the last three years. Our goal is to increase particularly the average minimum salary in the state of Florida, so we can continue to attract great people into the teaching profession,” he said.

He announced the following in his recommendations:

  • $8,000 in per pupil funding
  • $421 million for school safety, mental health initiatives
  • $15.5 million to replace Florida Standards Assessment with a new progress monitoring system
  • $500,000 to Florida Civics and Debate Initiative to expand access to every school district
  • $106 million investment in civics education
  • $534 million to support workforce education programs, $100 million of which comes from the new Workforce Development Capitalization grant

“We’re really, really proud to place a significant emphasis on education. I think that continuing to boost teacher pay, do these bonuses, make sure that we have workforce education, civics, all these things, replacing the FSA with progress monitoring, you know, it’s a really, really robust agenda and we’re happy that we’re able to do that,” DeSantis said.

Corcoran added that students’ education is the best predictor of what the future of the country and state will look like.

“In Florida, we’re educating them in a beautiful way to transform those hearts, minds and souls and the future for Florida looks great,” he said.

The governor said different aspects of the budget would be unveiled in the coming weeks and he would have the budget within the next few weeks.

DeSantis didn’t provide the total figure he is proposing for K-12 education. He has until Dec. 12 to announce the proposed state spending plan. The Legislature doesn’t have to approve the governor’s budget request, but Republicans control the House and Senate and have worked closely with DeSantis in the past.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.