Kristin Whitaker, PEN’s Legislative Liaison, has summarized the 2017-2018 Education Budget Recommendations taken from “Governor Rick Scott’s 2017-2018 Budget: Fighting for Florida’s Future” Below are some of the highlights from the 37-page summary the Governor’s office released.
Supporting Florida’s Teachers
Governor Scott recognizes the positive impact highly trained principals and teachers have on today’s students and generations of students to come. Therefore, as part of the state’s investment this year, Governor Scott proposes a total of $8.5 million in funding for initiatives focused on professional development.
· $7 million to support principal training;
· $849,450 for approximately 600 math teachers to participate in a four-day training session during the summer;
· $500,000 to provide a year-long, job-embedded, research-based program to principals, principal supervisors, and education leaders to improve student instruction; and
· $100,000 for the Teacher LEAD Network program which provides district Teacher of the Year winners the opportunity to participate in professional development designed to improve leadership skills needed to support improved teaching.
Teacher of the Year Program
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $770,000 for monetary awards to Florida’s highest performing teachers through the Teacher of the Year Program. Under Governor Scott’s recommendation and combined with private funds from Macy’s, the award amounts will be a minimum of $10,000 for district participants, a minimum of $15,000 for finalists, and a minimum of $20,000 for the Teacher of the Year.
Cutting Fees for Teachers
The Fighting for Florida’s Future Budget recommends $15 million to pay for initial teacher certification and renewal certification fees. This investment will save each of Florida’s aspiring teachers approximately $555 on their initial certification and each of Florida’s employed public school teachers $75 for their certification renewal.
Teacher Recruitment and Retention
Governor Scott knows that recruiting and retaining great teachers makes Florida’s education system better for students today and for generations to come. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends $43 million for the following teacher recruitment and retention initiatives:
· $10 million for a one-time hiring bonus for Florida’s teachers testing in the top 10 percent of the Subject Area Examination in the subject they are teaching in the 2017-2018 school year;
· $5 million to increase the diversity of the teachers in critical shortage and high need areas;
· $5.9 million to recruit Bright Futures Scholars that major in Education and commit to four years of teaching following graduation in the rural district from which they graduated high school;
· $16 million for districts to implement targeted recruitment and retention initiatives that meet the districts’ needs; and
· $6.1 million to reward great teachers in low-performing schools.