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Freedom First Budget Provides Record Investments in Teachers, Students and Workforce Education

Tallahassee, Fla. (June 2, 2022) – Today, Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. celebrated historic education funding in Governor DeSantis’ Freedom First Budget, including record investments in per-student funding, teacher pay, workforce education, literacy and civics initiatives. The budget raises per-student funding to $8,143, which is the highest amount of per-student funding in Florida’s history and an increase of $710 since the 2018-2019 school year.

The signing of the Freedom First Budget builds on the many legislative educational successes of the 2022 Session, which also included comprehensive legislation protecting parents’ rights, eliminating critical race theory from schools and replacing the FSA with progress monitoring. Overall, the Freedom First budget invests $29 billion for PreK-20 education, including raising teacher pay for the third year in a row with a record investment of $800 million to bring average starting teacher pay in Florida over $48,000 for the first time in our state’s history.

“Governor DeSantis is focused on the issues that really matter to families, like making sure their children learn in school, are not indoctrinated, and have the ability to succeed once they graduate, and with the Freedom First Budget, he is once again putting students first,” said Commissioner Diaz. “Under the Governor’s leadership, we will remain committed to ensuring every student receives the best education available in a school that cares about them and invests in their success.”

Overall, the Freedom First Budget dedicates $29 billion for education in Florida. Major highlights include:

  • $13.6 billion in state funding for the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) for K-12 public schools, raising per-student funding to $8,143, which is the highest amount of per-student funding in Florida’s history and an increase of $710 since the 2018-2019 school year.
  • A record $800 million, an increase of $250 million, to continue raising the teacher minimum base salary, as well as salary increases for veteran teachers and other eligible instructional personnel. With this investment, Florida has committed over $2 billion in new funding to teacher pay since 2020.
  • A record $579 million to support workforce education programs ensuring Florida is the number one state for workforce education by 2030. With this investment, Florida has now invested more than $5 billion in workforce education since the 2018-2019 school year.
    • This year’s funding includes $125 million to support nursing education programs, which will reward program performance and incentivize collaboration between nursing education programs and healthcare partners.
  • A record $396 million for school safety and mental health initiatives, including:
    • $210 million for the safe schools allocation– an increase of $30 million over the previous year;
    • $140 million for the mental health allocation– a $20 million increase over the previous year;
    • $6.5 million for the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program;
    • $20 million for school hardening grants; and
    • $4 million for safety initiatives at Jewish Day Schools.
  • $202.5 million to support literacy achievement. This includes:
    • $170 million, an increase of $40 million, for the reading allocation;
    • $29 million for the New Worlds Reading Scholarship;
    • $2.5 million for State Regional Literacy Directors; and
    • $1 million for online literacy professional development administered through Just Read, Florida!
  • Full funding for implementation of progress monitoring aligned with the newly adopted B.E.S.T. Standards.
  • $1 million to expand the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative into every school district in the 2022-2023 school year.
  • $3 million to implement the Portraits of Patriotism and Stories of Inspiration programs to provide Florida students with the materials necessary to better understand the freedoms of democracy.
  • $18 million for the Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program to increase and expand student access to dual enrollment opportunities.
  • $21 million for the “Florida Postsecondary Academic Library Network,” a one-stop-shop to support Florida College System and State University System students’ education goals.
  • $131 million investment to continue Florida’s steadfast commitment to its four Historically Black Colleges and Universities.