State law requires the governor to release his/her state budget recommendations at least 30 days before the opening of the legislative session. Governor DeSantis unveiled his state budget recommendation on Monday with time to spare. It is important to keep in mind that the governor’s budget recommendation is exactly that: a recommendation. It is the Legislature that has the privilege and responsibility of crafting the state budget. The governor’s recommendation is more of a policy document that highlights the spending priorities and new policies that the state’s chief executive wishes to pursue. As such, it serves as an important guide to the Legislature as it takes on the more detailed task of crafting a balanced state budget.
Governor DeSantis’ “Bolder, Brighter, Better Future” state budget recommendation totals $91.4 billion — an increase of $1.4 billion over the current year — and maintains state reserves totaling $5.6 billion. With regard to education, the Governor has recommended several initiatives that are addressed in FSBA’s Legislative Platform priorities including:
- Nearly $1 billion to provide both salary and bonus packages for teachers including $602 million for the Florida Classroom Teacher Compensation Program designed to increase the minimum teacher pay up to $47,500 and nearly $300 million for a tiered bonus program for classroom teachers and school principals (replacing the current Best & Brightest Teachers and Principals program). Questions remain about both of these programs, but details will be forthcoming.
- Increased funding for the early learning and Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) programs including an increase in the Base Student Allocation (BSA) for the VPK school year and summer programs (the first such increase since FY 2013-2014 and an important step toward restoring the VPK BSA to pre-recession levels), and expanded teacher professional development to improve the credentials and effectiveness of VPK teachers and related personnel.
- An increase in Safe Schools operating funding, continued funding for safe school capital needs, and an increase in the Mental Health Allocation.
- Earmarked funding for teacher professional development training in the proposed new state standards in English Language Arts and mathematics.
Other key elements of the Governor’s recommended budget include:
- An increase of more than $1 billion in total FEFP funding – mostly due to the salary and bonus packages
- A $50 increase in the Base Student Allocation
- Continuation of the partial roll-back of the Required Local Effort millage rate
- Continuation of the Funding Compression Allocation
- Elimination of the Declining Enrollment Supplement
- Modest increases in most categorical programs
- State PECO funding set at nearly $174 million for charter schools and $50 million for traditional public schools
- Increased funding for Special Facility Construction to add three more districts for their 1st year
- A $60 million increase in Workforce Education Funding
We have prepared a Side-by-Side comparison of current year funding with the governor’s recommendations for next year and posted it in the “2020 Education Appropriations Information” file on our Legislative Session page or you may access it directly by clicking HERE. We have also posted a link to the governor’s FEFP summary and other information that you may find useful.
In the coming days, more details of the governor’s recommendations will be forthcoming and we will keep you informed as this information becomes available.