January 12, 2017

Educational leaders: If state aid isn't increased, St. Johns could lose No. 1 ranking [St. Augustine Record]

This post was last updated on September 10, 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.

Colleen Michele Jones of the St. Augustine Record writes:

“Florida spent 25 percent less in combined state and local funding per student in 2015 than it did in 2008, making it the state with the lowest gains in catching up with pre-recession funding. Current per-student funding would have to increase from an average of $7,297 to $8,147 to be comparable to 2008 levels.

The finding is from a report by the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], which drew its data from ‘A Punishing Decade for School Funding,’ a recent study by the nonpartisan Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Florida Policy Institute notes that the shortfall is compounded by teachers’ average base salary being lower than that of many other states, as well as the state’s lack of investment in maintenance and repairs for school districts.

None of this is surprising to St. Johns County Superintendent of Schools Tim Forson, who called the 2017-18 budget a ‘conservative spending plan’ that allowed virtually no discretionary spending.”


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