Holly Bullard
August 15, 2018

Amendment 5 Would Put Funding for Florida PreK-12 Education and Teacher Pay at Risk

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Providing a quality education to all of Florida’s students is a core constitutional responsibility of state government and critical to economic growth. Adequate state funding for education provides the foundation for students to compete in an ever-changing economy, and it helps to attract highly qualified teachers and maintain the equity and fairness of Florida’s education system.

On November 6, Florida voters will decide on Amendment 5, which would make generating resources to meet the needs of Florida’s schools and students much harder. The measure wouldrequire a two-thirds (supermajority) vote of the state Legislature to approve any new state revenues, taxes and fees, or to eliminate tax incentives, loopholes and other such expenditures.

Florida currently has the wrong priorities, giving special tax breaks to big corporations while spending less on public education than 48 other states. Amendment 5 would lock in these failed priorities before the state has a chance to recover from deep cuts following the Great Recession and a supermajority requirement would likely require huge funding cuts in the wake of another fiscal crisis. Amendment 5 would unnecessarily restrict investments in Florida’s future.

Funding for PreK-12 Education Remains Below Pre-Recession Levels

In the wake of the Great Recession, many states cut education funding dramatically after state and local revenues plummeted. While many states have rebounded, Florida’s investment per-pupil remains 22.9 percent beneath pre-recession levels, after adjusting for inflation. State and local combined funds for Florida’s primary and secondary (PreK-12) education dropped $2,767 per pupil from 2008 to 2016, inflation adjusted.By this measure, only Arizona is worse than Florida in terms of cuts per-pupil since 2008 (see Figure 1). The proposed supermajority threshold within Amendment 5 would lock into place deep state funding cuts for K-12, forcing local school districts to make cuts in teacher positions, programs or services, or ask local communities to increase their property taxes.

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