Education news from Tallahassee

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his proposal to increase the minimum salary for teachers at Middleburg High School in Clay County on Oct. 7 before traveling to Bayview Elementary School in Broward County and Dunedin High School in Pinellas County.

DeSantis announces proposal to increase minimum salary for teachers

DUNEDIN — Gov. Ron DeSantis visited three schools around the state Oct. 7 including Dunedin High to announce his proposal to increase the minimum salary for teachers.

The governor’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget recommendation will include a pay raise for more than 101,000 teachers by raising the minimum salary to $47,500.

According to the National Education Association, Florida ranks 26th in the nation for starting teacher pay at $37,636. With this investment of over $600 million, raising the minimum salary to $47,500 will rank Florida second in the nation for starting teacher pay.

“We are experiencing a teacher shortage in Florida,” DeSantis said in a press release. “With a strong economy and plenty of jobs available in other fields, unfortunately too many college graduates are unwilling to enter the teaching profession. My proposal to increase the minimum salary for teachers to $47,500 will help alleviate this shortage and elevate the teaching profession to the level of appreciation it deserves. This is long overdue, and I look forward to working with the legislature to make this a reality.”

DeSantis first announced his proposal during a visit to Middleburg High School in Clay County. The he traveled to Bayview Elementary School in Broward County and Dunedin High School in Pinellas County.

Education has been a top priority of DeSantis’ administration. During the 2019 Legislative Session, the Governor worked with the Florida Legislature to secure historic achievements for Florida’s students and families, including the highest ever per pupil spending at $7,672 per student.

SPC supports Last Mile College Completion Program

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida College System announced on Oct. 11 that all 28 Florida Colleges, including St. Petersburg College, have agreed to support the Last Mile College Completion Program and will voluntarily provide scholarships to eligible students.

The Last Mile College Completion Program helps students who left college with 12 or fewer credit hours remaining, to complete their first associate or baccalaureate degree.

The Last Mile Completion Program creates a pathway for many returning students to earn their degree. As Florida’s workforce engine, the Florida College System knows that continuing to develop Florida’s talent pipeline for workforce needs is a top priority for business owners in Florida, and the Last Mile College Completion Program is part of the solution.

While each college provides the returning students with a transcript analysis of the courses they have left to complete the specific degree, the minimum criteria for the Last Mile College Completion Program include that the student must:

• Be a Florida resident.

• Be in good academic standing.

• Be within 12 credit hours of completing their first associate or baccalaureate degree.

• Have attended a regionally accredited post-secondary institution within the past eight years.

Family Empowerment Scholarship reaches enrollment cap

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced on Oct. 11, that Florida’s new scholarship program, the Family Empowerment Scholarship, had reached its first-year enrollment cap of 18,000 students.

The Family Empowerment Scholarship is geared towards K-12 students from low-income and working-class families and allows students life-changing educational opportunities.

This is Florida’s largest first-year private school choice program implementation at 18,000 students, surpassing the 15,000 plus students for the first year of Tax Credit Scholarships. The Florida Department of Education has many school choice programs that offer students and their families alternatives to publicly-provided schools, to which students are usually assigned by the location of their family residence.

The Empowerment Scholarship is administered by the FDOE, with eligible students applying through state-approved nonprofit scholarship organizations. FDOE also oversees the Tax Credit Scholarship, which is administered by the scholarship organizations.

Together, the two programs are projected to serve roughly 120,000 economically disadvantaged students in the 2019-20 school year.

For more information on all of Florida’s school choice options and the Family Empowerment Scholarship, visit www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/fes/.