Putting Education Reform To The Test

Proposed Senate Education Budget Includes Teacher Performance Pay


Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, chairs the education budget committee. He's proposing a K-12 budget that's $1.1-billion larger than last year.

A Quinnipiac University poll released today finds Florida voters approve of one of Gov. Rick Scott’s top budget priorities.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents like his proposal to give $2,500 raises to the state’s public school teachers.

Legislative leaders like the idea of more money for teachers — but not necessarily across-the-board raises.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education met this morning to go over Chairman Bill Galvano’s proposed education budget.

It contains $1.1 billion more for K-12 funding than last year’s budget and includes a boost for teachers in the form of performance pay.

Here are the highlights:

  • $480 million for teacher salaries.

Under Galvano’s proposal, districts would be given discretion in how they award the funds.

“We are having the districts base the award on student achievement,” Galvano said, “and have asked that when they determine how to make a distribution for the increased salaries, that a plan be submitted to the department (Department of Education) in August.”

  • $152.7 million to cover rising enrollment.

The funds would cover the additional 27,000 students that are expected to enroll in public schools for the 2013-14 academic year. Per student funding would also go up.

  • $76 million for technology modernization.

Districts would get money to beef up wireless connectivity at each school.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, asked what happened to Department of Education’s request for $448 million for school technology upgrades and digital instructional materials.

“Is this the $76 million that would be instead of that?” Simmons asked. He was told that DOE’s amount included devices and other equipment. The $76 million figure is strictly for expansion of wireless connectivity.

  • $14 million for teachers to purchase classroom materials and supplies.
  • $14.2 million to help schools meet class size requirements.
  • $12.6 million for school safety, including improving communications and surveying every school’s security.

“It’s good to be able to – in this environment – have significant increases in our education budget,” Galvano said, “and to be able to restore funds, where in the past we’ve had to take additional funds.”

The proposal Galvano presented today will likely be tweaked over the next week.

He expects to present his final recommendation to Senate budget chief Joe Negron on March 27th.


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