Working with the legislature, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) delivered a record-setting $765 million budget for teachers in the Sunshine State.

“These investments include $550 million to continue elevating minimum teacher salaries, as well as $215 million to provide all of Florida’s eligible public school principals and teachers with $1,000 disaster relief payments,” a press release from the governor’s office said.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectAccording to that press release, the average minimum teacher salary in Florida jumped from $40,000 to $46,000 over the past year alone.

DeSantis thanked teachers for their “hard work and dedication” during what was a complicated school year due to COVID-19. He also thanked the leaders of the Florida Legislature for working to pass the record budget.

“Every state can make its own decisions depending on priorities and budget, but Governor DeSantis is confident that Florida has made the right choice on opening schools and giving bonuses to teachers,” DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told The Florida Capital Star.

This appropriation is about $765 million in total (bonuses and pay raises) for over 175,000 educators. Governor DeSantis appreciates the hard work of Florida’s teachers and believes that most kids need the full in-person schooling experience to flourish academically and socially,” she continued. “He’s proud that Florida students have had access to full, in-person school throughout this past school year. The Governor emphasized that many families have moved to Florida from lockdown states, to ensure that their children would have access to full in-person education.”

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran thanked DeSantis and the legislature for prioritizing teachers.

“Governor DeSantis has proven once again that Florida is the Education State His exceptional leadership and bold vision has taken Florida’s minimum teacher salaries to an average of $46,000, and his focus on celebrating and elevating our educators is unparalleled,” he said. “The way to ensure that Florida has the best teachers is to outpace the nation in minimum teacher pay and to reward, recruit, and retain the best teaching talent possible.”

Along with the budget for public school teachers, DeSantis has focused on school choice in Florida over the past year.

He signed a bill into law earlier this month providing $200 million in state funds for school choice vouchers, another record in the state.

Those vouchers are available to children in families of four or more, whose annual household income is less than $100,000. Qualified children will receive fully-funded K-12 education at the school of their choice.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].