Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing sweeping changes to Florida’s education budget. These changes include $1,000 bonuses for teachers, $600 million to raise minimum teacher salaries to $47,500, increased per-student funding to $8,000, and ending the annual standardized testing requirement called the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA).

DeSantis had already provided $1,000 bonuses for teachers over the summer for their work during the COVID school year and said he wants to do it again to “keep that momentum going.”

“We’ve done an awful lot since I became governor,” DeSantis said. “We’ve invested in increasing teacher pay, we’ve invested in early learning, we’ve expanded school choice, we’ve invested in vocational, technical education, and we really want to be able to keep that momentum going.”

In an official statement, DeSantis touted his track of working to make Florida one of the best states in the country for education standards.

“Since day one, I have been focused on making Florida a leader in education, and I am proud to announce my proposals to invest record funding into our education system over the next year,” said DeSantis. “By continuing to boost teacher pay, give bonuses to principals and teachers, prioritize workforce education, foster a strong civics curriculum, and replace the FSA with progress monitoring, we’re making a significant difference in the lives of our students.”

In September, DeSantis announced his intentions to end the FSA which gathered bipartisan support, including from the Florida Education Association (FEA).

“A big announcement JUST was made re: high-stakes testing,” the union said. “The gov announced the intent to drop high-stakes FSA testing in the 2022-23 school year. It will free up time for genuine teaching and learning, a move that the FEA, local unions & our 150,000 members have long advocated.”

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, who has fought with numerous school districts over mask mandates for months, offered his support for DeSantis’ plan.

“I am incredibly thankful for the bold commitment Governor DeSantis has made to make Florida the Education State,” said Corcoran. “We must continue to act with urgency in seeking innovative ways to improve the quality of education we provide students. As Florida continues to be a national leader in education, these historic investments will undoubtedly help us focus on the individual needs of students to help them grow academically.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.