Florida public education is headed for a serious funding free-fall due to COVID-19. Sadly, the Governor DeSantis and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran have provided little to no guidance to districts on pending issues from the budget to teacher pay to Federal funding.
Florida revenues are down – $878M in April alone – in what could evolve into billions in cuts to already cash-strapped school districts. The time for decisive leadership from Tallahassee is now.
- Release desperately needed CARES Act/Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund – $174M – immediately to districts to help them plan for the 2020-21 school year
- Provide flexible guidance on reopening public schools that includes specific health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 at minimum reflecting CDC recommendations.
- Follow the law – mandate that all CARES Act funding be spent in district public schools. Reject U.S. DOE Secretary DeVos’ suggestion urging states to fund private schools with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund/CARES Act money – $770M meant explicitly for Florida public schools. Five states have publicly said no to Secretary DeVos: Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
- Be clear about where funding will come from when schools are required to re-open under costly and necessary COVID-19 safety requirements plus the added expense of blended online learning.
- Be transparent about the effects of COVID-19 on Florida’s 2020-21 budget, including legislated teacher pay raises, so local districts can plan now for next year.
- Veto the requirement in HB5007 mandating districts to pay $232.7M rate increase to FRS/teacher retirement. This must be waived as districts grapple with a projected 25% funding cut.
After you send your letters, call and tweet:
Governor Ron DeSantis | Phone: Gov. DeSantis: 850.488.7146 |Twitter: @GovRonDeSantis
Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran | 850-245-0505 | Twitter: @RichardCorcoran
Senate President Bill Galvano R-21| 850-487-5021 Twitter: @BillGalvano
Speaker of the House Jose Oliva R-110 | 850-717-5110 Twitter: @RepJoseOliva
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