Florida’s largest teachers union is calling for a 10-year, $22 billion investment into the state’s public schools. The Florida Education Association is calling its plan the "Decade of Progress."
Education makes up the largest expenditure of state money, but it’s not enough to pull Florida’s teacher salaries from among the lowest in the U.S. FEA President Fedrick Ingram says despite an increase in the state’s education funding, this year’s levels are about the same as what the state spent in 2008, when inflation and other costs are included.
“We’ve had a decade of underfunding," he says. "So, where should that money go? Last year at the start of the school year we had 4,000 classrooms statewide without a certified teacher. There’s a crisis in the state of Florida.”
The FEA wants an additional $2.4 billion for education for 2020. That’s a 10 percent increase in per-student funding and would boost that by $767. The union wants at least $614 of that new money to go to the base student allocation (BSA). State lawmakers grew the BSA by $75 in the current fiscal year.
“$75 is significant, but it’s not getting our schools back to where they need to be because we’ve had a decade of underfunding," Ingram says.
The BSA is the funding school districts can spend however they choose.