Education board backs $673 million boost for schools
The Florida Board of Education on Friday advanced a $21.8 billion request for public school funding in the next budget year, including a $200 boost in per-student funds and increased funding for school safety initiatives.
Highlights of the 2019-20 budget proposal include:
— An overall $673 million, or 3.5 percent, increase, compared to the current budget for the 67 school districts.
— An increase in per-student funding from $7,407 to $7,607.
— A $101 million increase to pay for an additional 13,680 new students expected in classrooms next fall. In total, there will be nearly 2.9 million students in the K-12 system next year.
— A $100 million increase in the “safe schools” initiative, boosting total funding to $262 million. The funding allows districts to hire sworn law enforcement officers to protect school campuses.
— $67.5 million for the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program, which provides funding for the screening and training of armed civilian safety employees, under the supervision of the local sheriff, for the schools. Lawmakers earmarked the same amount for the guardian program in the current year’s budget.
— A $51 million increase in a grant program