As required by law, Gov. Ron DeSantis released his budget proposal — a whopping $91.3 billion annual budget full of some pretty radical funding ideas. For those who are playing along at home, you might remember that the current fiscal year budget is actually about $2.5 billion (give or take) less than what is being proposed for the spending package for next year. The governor’s budget package includes the following:
- Increases per-student funding by $224.40
- Of that increase, $50 is Base Student Allocation (compared to 47 cents from last year)
- $422 million allocation in the FEFP (the main education budget) for teachers and principals (no program details yet, so no delineation on bonuses versus actual salary increases)
- Teacher classroom supply allocation remains same as last year
- Funding compression allocation is removed (which mainly rewarded small counties by taking funding from big counties)
- Mental health allocation increases by $10 million
- Safe schools allocation increases by $50 million
Now some of the bad news: Construction and maintenance dollars (referred to as capital outlay or PECO funds) for charter schools are more than what is allocated for neighborhood public schools, colleges and universities combined. Not to mention that instead of capturing the much needed tax on construction of new homes as well as the increased property values of homes and businesses (which is projected to be $514 million this year), DeSantis proposes to roll back the mileage rate, capping how much tax can be collected off the natural growth in property values.
Remember we have a LONG way to go in this budget process. The first step is the governor RECOMMENDS a budget. The second step is the Legislature CREATES and passes a budget. Then the governor gets to decide whether what he proposed is more important than what the Legislature passed and sent to him. That’s when the true rubber meets the road.