TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Unveiling a record $115 billion state budget proposal on Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $1 billion in funding to boost teacher pay, a $200 million increase over the current fiscal year which began July 1.
New this year, if approved, school districts could disperse the money among teachers as they deem necessary. In prior years, districts were required to target a specific amount at starting teachers’ salaries.
The chief of Florida's largest teacher's union applauded the added flexibility as a positive move but was overall not impressed with the new allocation, arguing that the boost in funding would not go far in getting state teacher pay out of its low rankings. Out of 50 states, the National Education Association most recently ranked Florida's average teacher pay 48th in the nation.
Aside from teacher pay, the budget also includes year-round tax cuts on everyday items, including baby cribs and strollers, pet food and medication and gas stoves.
Notably, it also includes a request to spend another $12 million to move migrants from around the U.S.
DeSantis' annual state budget proposal is merely a recommendation and is considered an initial step on the road to adoption. The state legislature will approve a final budget during the annual session that begins next month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report