Strengthening Education For Florida Families
Governor Scott’s College and Career FIRST (Focusing Investments on Results for Students and Teachers) initiative, unveiled in October 2012, provides a roadmap to ensure every student has access to a world-class education. Many of the initiatives that make up College & Career FIRST stem from conversations Governor Scott had with teachers, parents, and students on his Education Listening Tour. College & Career FIRST brings together the best of those ideas to invest in education and better prepare students for their future. The Governor’s Recommended Budget provides record funding to support education in Florida and the implementation of the Governor’s College & Career FIRST initiative.
Record State Funding for Education: Under Governor Scott’s leadership last year, Florida committed more than $1 billion to K-12 Public Education. Due to Florida’s positive economic growth, Governor Scott’s fiscal year 2013-2014 Recommended Budget proposes an increase of $1.2 billion in funding for K-12 public schools. Governor Scott’s Recommended Budget includes $10.7 billion in state contribution for Florida schools – the highest ever.
The most significant increase in the budget is a $480 million commitment to increase each teacher’s salary by $2,500. As the state continues to create jobs and opportunities, investments in education will continue to drive economic growth.
Governor Scott’s recommended public school budget is $18.5 billion for FY 2013-2014. The budget highlights include:
- Per student funding of $6,799 – an increase of $412.25 (or 6.45 percent).
- Increasing funds provided to classroom teachers for purchasing classroom resources and supplies for use in teaching students to an estimated amount of $250 per teacher.
- Increasing the award amount for the School Recognition Program from $100 to $125 per student.
- Providing $74.9 million for school safety, an increase of $10.5 million or 16.2 percent.
- Providing $100 million to districts for digital learning initiatives.
- Provides additional funding to cover the student enrollment growth in class size and increased student enrollment.
Investing in Florida Teachers: Governor Scott believes it is essential to support teachers and equip them with the tools they need to improve their practice as professionals and to help students realize better educational outcomes. As part of the state’s investment in teachers, Governor Scott proposes an increase of $2 million in funding to support teachers through programs aimed at providing professional development. Professional development opportunities for teachers will ensure they have the tools they need to become even better teachers.
As Governor Scott traveled the state over the past year, he repeatedly heard teachers say they could often use help to purchase supplies for their classrooms that they now pay for personally. In this budget, Governor Scott recommends providing each teacher an estimated $250 to purchase materials and supplies for their students.
The Governor also heard from many teachers that supporting programs focusing on parent and community involvement can increase student success in the classroom. This year, the Governor proposes $11.6 million in funding for results-based mentoring programs that provide enhanced instruction, mentoring activities, tutoring, social and academic activities, and support to low-performing, at-risk, and intellectually challenged students.
Supporting Early Learners. Governor Scott’s Recommended Budget provides a continued investment of more than $1 billion in early learning funding. This funding includes over $581 million for school readiness services to provide quality childcare serves that will prepare children for school. Additionally, the $1 billion includes over $413 million for the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program to ensure this program remains accessible for all four-year-olds in the state. The recommended funding also includes: $15 million for the Childcare Executive Partnership Program which is a match program with private businesses to expand services to low-income families; $3 million for TEACH which provides critical scholarships for child care workers; and $1.4 million for the Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY).
Investing in Higher Education
Governor Scott believes that Florida is home to exceptional higher education institutions that train and prepare students to compete in the global market place.
Fully Funding Higher Education: Governor Scott’s Recommended Budget provides $1.1 billion in funding for state colleges and $3.85 billion for Florida’s universities. The Governor’s higher education budget highlights include:
- An increase of $74.4 million over FY 2012-2013 funding for the state college system, resulting in a total allocation of $1.1 billion
- $50.3 million for operations including $22 million in new funding for improving equity and $14 million in performance funding.
- $13 million for competitive workforce programs.
- $10 million for the Florida Distinguished Teacher college Challenge Grant.
- An increase of $393.3 million over FY 2012-2013 funding for the State University System, resulting in a total allocation of $3.85 billion.
- $118 million for operating expenses.
- $167 million for performance funding.
- $15 million to the University of Florida to achieve a national ranking in the top 10.
Hold the Line on University Tuition: Over the past ten years the average tuition and fees at state universities have more than doubled, rising from $2,834 in 2003-2004 to $6,232 in 2012-2013. The rising cost of a four-year degree at a Florida university has made it difficult for students to obtain a degree. The cost of a prepaid, 4-year university plan for a newborn in Florida has climbed more than 350 percent in the last six years. For a Florida family making $50,000 or less, a $53,729 prepaid tuition is far too high. The Governor is committed to keeping higher education affordable and accessible to Florida’s students and therefore proposes no tuition increases in his 2013-2014 budget.
Finish in Four - Guaranteed Tuition for Degrees: The unpredictability of tuition increases makes it difficult for students and families to plan for the cost of higher education. A student who entered a university as a freshman in 2009-2010 has seen tuition and fees raise an average of 13 percent each year and approximately 40 percent total from their first year to the current year. To make higher education more affordable for Floridians, the Governor recommends establishing a fixed rate of tuition and fees for undergraduate students who are Florida residents for tuition purposes and who are continuously enrolled in the State University System during four consecutive academic years.
Continuing Scholarships: Governor Scott is an advocate for the advancement of students in higher education to ensure they have every opportunity to prosper in their careers. Florida students are supported by Lottery dollars, which provide enhancements to public education, including funding the Bright Futures scholarship program, which allows students to have access to higher educational opportunities. To maximize revenues from Lottery games the Governor proposes that the state:
- Continue increased funding of $4 million for additional purchase of advertising to promote awareness of Lottery games.
- Commit $406,100 for the purchase and deployment of mobile sales tools to support the Lottery’s sales force to manage retailer inventory and generate real time reports. This will allow the department to implement efficiencies and increase sales based on improved inventory management.
- Continue to support Lottery retailers by expanding the use of retailer incentives by $500,000, which are used to encourage Lottery retailers to actively promote new games and help to maintain the partnership between the retailer and the Lottery.
Educating Florida’s Workforce: The budget recommendations for workforce education includes $16 million for a new competitive grant to school districts and adult education programs to expand or develop program offerings that will lead to industry certification in a high-skill, high-wage, or high-demand area.
The budget recommendations also include $13 million for competitive workforce programs in the Florida College System. This money will be used to create or expand sustainable capacity in programs that prepare students for careers in high-skill, high-wage, or high-demand occupations and meet specific performance goals.
Focusing on the Return on Investment in Education: As part of the Governor's workforce education funding plan, $13.7 million has been designated to expand performance based funding to district workforce education programs. These additional funds will increase the total performance funding initiatives to $18.7 million, an increase from 1.3 percent to 5.2 percent, and will be earned based upon the completions and placements. Performance based funding for colleges and universities will help encourage that graduates are employable in fields where jobs are available. The governor supports the following performance measures to help Florida's higher education institutions meet that goal:
- Percentage of graduates employed or continuing education;
- Average wage of employed graduates;
- Average cost to produce a graduate.
As part of Governor Scott’s commitment to the state college system, Florida’s colleges will receive $14 million for performance funding. For the State University System, the budget recommends $167 million be used for university performance funding and $15 million to continue the performance funding pilot program for a select category of degree programs associated with science and information technology.
Supporting Education Infrastructure Needs: In order to maintain and ensure our educational facilities are up to date with the technology required to guarantee our students’ competitiveness and success in the world, the Governor’s budget includes $127.5 million of new funding for fixed capital outlay in the K-12 public schools – $100 million for the fixed capital outlay needs of charter schools and $24.5 million for critical infrastructure needs in Dixie and Glades Counties. Charter schools do not have the ability to levy taxes and are reliant on state funds to meet capital needs.
The recommended budget also includes $244.2 million for fixed capital outlay funding for higher education, including $100 million in new funding to expand STEM education through necessary facility construction and renovation at Florida’s universities.
The Governor recommends $37.9 million in PECO funds to be used toward the remodeling/renovation/maintenance/repairs of a list of prioritized critical deferred maintenance projects of state-owned facilities in the State University System. Additionally, in order for universities to complete student-approved projects, $70 million in budget authority is provided to spend student fees that have been collected for facility projects.
The Governor’s budget also recommends $36.3 million in PECO funds to be used toward the remodeling/renovation/maintenance/repairs of a list of prioritized critical deferred maintenance projects of state-owned facilities in the Florida College System.
Using Florida’s Natural Resources to Educate: Florida’s award-winning Park Service is one of the largest in the country with 161 parks spanning more than 700,000 acres and 100 miles of sandy white beach. Governor Scott’s proposed budget provides $19 million to ensure Florida’s parks are handicap accessible and to provide for needed repairs and maintenance. In addition, $250,000 is provided to develop a statewide plan to market the extraordinary educational opportunities that nature-based recreation at state parks can provide, and expand the brand of Florida State Parks.
Additional education programs continued within the environmental section of Florida’s budget include:
- Youth Hunting and Fishing Education - Governor Scott’s budget includes funding in the amount of $400,000 to encourage our youth to get involved in safe, educational, and mentored hunting and fishing opportunities to create a generation that cares about fish and wildlife and their habitats.
- Wildlife Hunting Education – Governor Scott’s budget includes funding in the amount of $163,610 for statewide hunter safety courses, which provide hunters with the necessary skills and knowledge to become better sportsmen, while instilling an awareness of firearm safety and wildlife stewardship.
- Boating Safety Education – Governor Scott’s budget provides $550,650 in funding for Boater Safety Education, which increases boater awareness and reduces accidents. Boating Safety Education ID Cards are issued free of charge.
Creating Efficiencies in State Colleges: The budget calls for a reallocation of $17.8 million that have no statewide impact in order to provide greater equity with those state colleges that were not equally funded.