Sufficient and Sustainable Funds to Meet the Educational Needs of Florida’s Public School Students

  • The Legislature funded the Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal programs in the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP).  The changes in these two programs expanded the number of teachers and principals who are eligible to receive bonuses. Superintendents support this program’s goal of rewarding high performing teachers and principals across our state, but we encourage further study in order to recommend more ways in which to reward high-quality teachers and principals equitably and in a recurring manner.
        
  • The Legislature should continue to increase the Base Student Allocation (BSA) which assists school districts to fund increased employee salaries, benefits, and mandatory employer contributions to the Florida Retirement System, as well as rising fixed costs, such as utilities and health insurance.
          
  • Superintendents also recommend that the Special Facilities projects in our small rural school districts that were recommended by the State Board of Education and Commissioner Corcoran be funded.     

  • Superintendents recommend that local control be expanded to extend, from 4 years to up to 10 years, the voter approved additional operating millage authorized in s. 1011.73, Florida Statutes.

School Safety and Mental Health

School safety remains our number one priority.  Superintendents across our state continue to ensure the safety of their students and staff.

Superintendents are thankful that the Legislature addressed many of our recommendations regarding safe schools during the last legislative session, including:

  • Increasing total funds for the Safe Schools allocation
  • Clarifying that the Safe Schools allocation could be used for all safe-school officers
  • Authorizing school districts to contract with security guards/agencies
  • Reappropriating the guardian funds to continue and expand training for school guardians
  • Maintaining funding for school hardening; and
  • Increasing funding for the Mental Health Assistance allocation.    

As districts are providing more mental health assessment and intervention services, the need for intensive, daily, services for some students has become apparent.  The Legislature should fund services that will help these students and families.    

Overall, superintendents recommend that the Legislature continue to support funding for safe schools and mental health by increasing each of these categorical programs by 25 percent.  Funding for school hardening should be at $100 million; the initial allocation provided for school hardening.


Invest in Teachers and Teaching - Increase Teacher Salaries

Recruiting and retaining qualified teachers is critical to the academic success of our students. A five percent increase would cost just under $575 million.  The gross salary for each teacher would increase by just under $2,440.  The total cost of salary and benefits is $2,832.  (The baseline figures are calculated on 202,419 instructional staff with an average salary of $48,784)

Any increase cannot be a one-time event.  In order to retain our teachers and recruit quality individuals into the teaching profession, this effort must be maintained and sustained for at least five years to bring our teachers into alignment with, and even surpass, other states.  Our teachers deserve no less.