Education

Fighting for Florida’s Future Students

Governor Scott understands that today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce and is committed to fighting for the future of education in Florida to give teachers and students at every grade level the necessary tools for success. That is why the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget invests historic amounts of funding in K-12, state colleges and universities to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed in the Sunshine State.

Historic Areas of Funding Funding Amount
K-12 Public Schools – Total Funding $20.99 billion
K-12 Public Schools – State Funding $11.55 billion
K-12 Public Schools – Per-Student Funding $7,421
Florida College System – Total Funding $2.05 billion
Florida College System – State Operating Funding $1.25 billion
State University System – Total Funding $4.84 billion
State University System – State Operating Funding $2.36 billion

Florida’s teachers and students have made outstanding achievements over the last year as evidenced by the following rankings:

K-12 Public Schools

Florida ranks first in digital learning, according to Digital Learning Now’s Digital Learning Report Card. The National Council on Teacher Quality has three times ranked Florida’s teacher quality policies best in the nation. Florida is 2nd in the nation in Advanced Placement (AP) exam participation for the 2015 graduating class and 3rd in the nation for their performance. Florida’s graduation rates are at a 13-year high – increasing 21.5 percentage points since 2003-2004. Florida ranks 11th in the nation for K-12 achievement according to the Quality Counts report. According to The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): Florida’s 4th grade students outperform the nation in both reading and math. Florida’s 4th grade Hispanic students led the nation in reading. Florida’s 4th grade Hispanic students’ average score ranked second among the 50 states. In 4th grade reading and mathematics, Florida’s students’ with disabilities average score ranked second among the 50 states. Florida’s economically disadvantaged students led the nation in 4th grade reading.

Florida College System

WalletHub ranked the Division of Florida Colleges as the fourth best community college system in the country. Broward College and Indian River State College were named as finalists for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Miami Dade College awarded more associate degrees to minority and Hispanic students than any other college in the nation according to Community College Week 2016 Top 100. Florida is the number one producer of certificates and associate degrees in the Southeast Region. According to Community College Week 2016 Top 100: Fourteen Florida College System institutions ranked in the top 100 colleges nationwide for the total number of associate degrees awarded. Eleven Florida College System institutions placed in the top 100 colleges nationwide for the number of associate degrees awarded to minority students. Eleven Florida College System institutions are among the top 100 colleges in the nation for the number of associate degrees awarded to African American students. Eight Florida College System institutions ranked in the top 100 colleges nationwide for the number of associate degrees awarded to Hispanic students.

State University System

The State University System of Florida produces more degrees in business and health professions at both the bachelor’s and graduate levels than any other discipline. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degree production increased more than non-STEM degree production during the past four years for both baccalaureate degrees and graduate degrees. Florida’s preeminent universities are leading the way: U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Florida as the 14th top public school in the nation for 2016. U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida State University (FSU) 38th among all public national universities. FSU had the greatest gain of all of the Top 50 public universities.

teacher reads to students

Investing in Early Learning for Florida’s Future
Governor Scott knows that success starts early and believes in doing everything possible to prepare a child for their education, which begins with a solid foundation of early learning programs. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget invests in initiatives that are focused on results and ensure effective early learning providers and increased access for more children. Governor Scott recommends $1.1 billion in funding for early child education and care.This is more than $36 million increase over current year funding. The budget highlights for Early Learning include:

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK)
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends an additional $11.3 million for a total of $406.5 million for Florida’s VPK program, a quality free education initiative, which serves more than 150,000 four and five-year olds. VPK prepares each child for kindergarten by building a strong foundation for school and focusing on early literacy skills.

School Readiness
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget includes an increase of $25 million in federal funding to allow access to more than 4,600 additional children into School Readiness programs. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget maintains funds in Fiscal Year 2017-2018 for the following early learning initiatives:
T.E.A.C.H. – $10 million for early childhood teacher scholarships. Performance Funding – $15.5 million to award child care providers and instructors for improving School Readiness program outcomes. Help Me Grow – $2.5 million to connect children and families with information, resources, and developmental services to enhance health, behavior, and learning in the development of young children. Lastinger Center Teacher Training – $3 million for a statewide professional learning system for Florida’s early learning workforce. Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) – $3.9 million to deliver high quality School Readiness curriculum directly to parents so they may strengthen the cognitive and early literacy skills of at-risk children. Performance Funding
Governor Scott is a steadfast proponent of performance funding at all levels of education to ensure students are getting the best results and are prepared for future careers. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget maintains $15.5 million in performance funding for child care providers and instructors who demonstrate successes in school readiness, professional development and access to high-need populations.

Education

Investing Record Funding in K-12 Public Education

To build upon the strong foundation students receive through Florida’s early learning programs, Governor Scott makes key investments in K-12 teachers and students in the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget. The Governor prioritizes initiatives that help make sure students are college and career ready upon graduating from high school. While these investments will help all students in Florida’s K-12 system today, Governor Scott is prioritizing funding to help ensure Florida’s future students have access to a great education system.

Historic Funding for the Florida Educational Finance Program (FEFP)
Florida is a great melting pot where more than 200 languages are spoken and Florida’s public education system delivers a quality education to a population of 2.8 million students from diverse backgrounds. With increasing graduation rates and policies that rank among the best in the nation, the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget invests nearly $21 billion in state and local funding for Florida’s K-12 public schools which equates to $7,421 per student. This is the highest total funding, state funding and per-student funding for K-12 in Florida’s history.

Governor Scott has made record investments in state funding for K-12 for the past five years and this historic high of $20.9 billion in total funding is an increase of $815.2 million in state and local funds over Fiscal Year 2016-2017.
The increase of $815.2 million in total funds includes:
$203.1 million to fund new student growth of 28,193 FTE; $4.6 million, for a total of $57.4 million,in funding for the Sparsity Supplement, which provides funding to assist rural districts with sparse student populations (24,000 or fewer FTE students); $10 million, for a total of $74.5 million, in funding for school safety initiatives that promote a safe learning environment; $54.1 million for the Florida Retirement System; and $543.4 million for various education initiatives included in the FEFP, such as transportation, reading allocation, and instructional materials.

Governor Scott is focused on ensuring that Florida’s children receive a quality education in K-12 public schools. Since Governor Scott took office, state funding for Florida’s K-12 public schools has increased by $2.8 billion or 32.6 percent, from a total amount of $8.7 billion in Fiscal Year 2011-2012 to $11.6 billion billion in the 2017-2018 Fighting for Florida’s Future budget. During this same time period, the local contribution to the FEFP has risen at a slower pace, increasing by $1.6 billion or 19.9 percent.

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. Initiatives include:
$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 reads to students

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.

Virtual Education
Governor Scott is a strong supporter of school choice. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget proposes expanding eligibility for students to participate in virtual education at Florida’s K-12 public schools, and includes $5.9 million in funding to cover newly eligible students. Current law mandates that students have to attend a public school the year before participating in a virtual education program at a Florida public school, unless they meet certain exceptions. This expansion eliminates that requirement for students in grades two through five who wish to participate in the part-time instruction at the Florida Virtual School. The expansion also applies to students in grades K-12 who wish to participate in a full-time or part-time program at school district virtual instruction programs.

Investing Historic Funding in Higher Education

Since taking office, Governor Scott has challenged Florida’s higher education institutions to continue to become more affordable and prepare students for jobs. A few of his challenges include:

Challenge Challenge Criteria Result
Ready, Set, Work State College Challenge Challenged Florida’s 28 state colleges to graduate 100 percent of their full-time students to attend a four-year university or get a job that leads to a great career. All 28 state colleges accepted Governor Scott’s challenge and increased the three-year graduation rate from 48 percent to 51 percent.
Ready, Set, Work State University Challenge Challenged Florida’s 12 state universities to get 100 percent of their graduates (not going on to graduate school) full-time employment within a year for those receiving each university’s two most popular degrees. All 12 state universities accepted Governor Scott’s challenge and have implemented strategies such as increased advising and mentorship opportunities to place students with jobs.
Ready, Set, Work Technical College Challenge Challenged Florida’s 48 Technical Colleges and Centers to issue a guarantee to businesses that their workers are ready to work on the very first day on the job, or they will be retrained at no cost to the business or the student. All 48 Technical Colleges and Centers accepted the challenge and are working to meet community workforce needs.
Finish in Four, Save More Challenge Challenged Florida’s state colleges and universities to:
Remove all fees for online classes; Inform incoming freshmen of the amount of money they will save if they graduate in four years; Urge the Legislature to expand Bright Futures to cover summer classes; Ensure students get credit for college and AP courses taken during high school; and Make it easier for students to get class credit for internships in their fields.
All of Florida’s state colleges and universities accepted Governor Scott’s challenge and are examining ways their institutions can make college more affordable. Several state universities have created programs designed to keep students on track to graduate in four years.
$10,000 STEM Degree Challenge Governor Rick Scott challenged Florida’s 28 state colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field at a cost of $10,000. All 28 state colleges accepted the Governor’s challenge. Nearly all institutions that offer bachelor’s degrees now offer a $10,000 degree.

Governor Scott knows that ensuring Florida has a strong higher education system is the best way to make Florida a global destination for jobs and make certain highly educated and skilled workers are ready for a great job upon graduation. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget includes historic funding for higher education including record state operating funding for Florida’s higher education system of more than $1.2 billion for Florida colleges, and more than $2.3 billion for Florida universities.

Performance Funding
Governor Scott has been a champion for performance-based incentives throughout his administration. The past four years have demonstrated the positive impact performance-based funding has had on Florida’s 12 state universities. Eighty-seven new advisors have been hired to focus on student retention and graduation, seven career service centers have been revamped to focus on student advising and establishing partnerships with local businesses, and 408 additional faculty have been hired in high-wage, high-need areas.

To ensure all of Florida’s higher education institutions are focused on the same goals, the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget includes performance funding at career technical centers, Florida colleges and state universities:
Career Technical Centers Maintains $4.5 million for students earning industry certifications in high-skill, high-demand areas at career technical centers. Florida College System A record $100 million in performance funding for the 28 Florida Colleges in the third year of performance funding. o The recommended budget also maintains $10 million for students earning industry certifications in high-skill, high-demand areas at Florida colleges. State University System The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget includes a record $600 million in performance funding for state universities to continue the trend of getting students into great jobs with less debt.

Fighting to Keep Florida’s Higher Education Affordable
Governor Scott continues to fight to keep education affordable for Florida’s students today and for years to come. Skyrocketing tuition rates make it difficult for families to plan for higher education and contribute to students leaving college with a stifling amount of debt. That is why there are NO tuition increases in the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget. While Governor Scott has fought to make higher education more affordable by holding the line on undergraduate tuition, he realizes that there is much more that can be done to help students today and in the future. The Governor is proposing to freeze all fees at state colleges and universities, and freeze state college tuition so students aren’t burdened with increasing costs.
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends the following to keep higher education affordable for Florida students:
A sales tax exemption for students purchasing required textbooks and instructional materials that will save students $48 million next year. A student taking five courses per semester will save a minimum of $60 per year. $34.7 million to expand the Bright Futures Scholarship program into the summer terms. Allowing this scholarship funding to be used for summer terms means students can graduate in less time, which equates to less student debt. $12.9 million for the Bright Futures Florida Academic Scholar program to give students a 10 percent increase in the per credit hour award amount.

Investing in Education Infrastructure

The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recognizes that in order to ensure Florida’s current and future students succeed, students and teachers need safe and efficient facilities that foster a creative learning environment. Maintaining current education facilities is prioritized over new construction in Florida’s postsecondary institutions since institutions should first create efficiencies by managing campus utilization rates. Governor Scott continues to be a champion for schools that have urgent construction needs but lack the ability to provide sufficient local resources to fund these needs.

Maintenance
$75 million for public school maintenance. $75 million for charter school maintenance. $5.8 million for lab school maintenance. $2.2 million for Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind maintenance. $35.9 million for Florida College System maintenance. $53.9 million for State University System maintenance.

Construction $16 million for Special Facility Construction projects. This funding is for critical infrastructure needs in Hamilton and Taylor counties. $7.9 million for renovation and construction of A.D. Henderson University School and FAU High. Funds require a dollar for dollar match from Florida Atlantic University, the lab school’s affiliated state university. $3.2 million for lab school maintenance. $2.2 million for Public Broadcasting projects. $20.5 million to complete Florida College System construction projects. Funding requires a dollar for dollar match. $41 million to complete State University System construction projects. Funding requires a dollar for dollar match. $45 million in budget authority to the State University System to spend collected student fees on a list of student-approved facility projects.