On January 31, 2017, Governor Scott released his proposed 2017-2018 budget. In it, he included $75 million for Charter School Capital Outlay – the same amount legislators allocated last year – but also added the following proviso language below:
In addition to current statutory requirements, charter schools authorized on or after July 1, 2017 shall obtain a school grade, a surety bond, be accredited by the Commission on Schools of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and be established primarily to serve students in the attendance zone of a school identified in need of intervention and support services pursuant to section 1008.33(3)(b), Florida Statutes, in a facility that is not provided and maintained by the school district.
Additional highlights in the Education portion of the Governor’s proposed budget are:
An increase in combined state and local funding for schools to boost K-12 education funding in 2017-18 from $20.2 billion to almost $21 billion.
Increased per pupil funding to $7,420.99 — an increase from the previous record of Fiscal Year 2016-2017 by $215 or 3% increase.
$58 million in teacher recruitment and retention initiatives which include:
▪ $15 million to eliminate initial and renewal certification fees for teachers
▪ $10 million for “a one-time hiring bonus for 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 teachers in critical shortage and high-need areas”
▪ $5.9 million to “recruit Bright Futures scholars that major in education and commit to 4 years of teaching following graduation in the rural districts from which they graduate high school”
▪ $16 million for school districts to “implement targeted recruitment and retention initiatives that meet the district’s need”
▪ $6 million to “reward great teachers in low-performing schools”
It’s important to note that the Governor’s budget is just a proposal. While the governor is required to propose an annual state budget, it is the Florida Legislature that must pass a spending plan. Florida lawmakers will consider Governor Scott’s recommendations when they develop the budget during the legislative session that begins March 7. Governor Scott does have veto powers to remove funding from the budget.
“While the number of charter schools have increased every year due to parental demand for quality choice educational programs, the facilities funding available to charter schools has remained the same,” explains Ralph Arza, FCSA’s Director of Government Relations. “We are hopeful legislators increase the capital outlay allocation for charter schools this year.”
Click here to view the Education portion of Governor Scott’s proposed budget.