Florida governor says more education plans coming

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After releasing major teacher-compensation proposals ahead of the 2020 legislative session, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he wants to roll out more education plans before the end of the year.

“The announcements will be more geared toward curriculum,” the governor told reporters on Tuesday. “We will do some more stuff on civics. We will have some more announcements there, and we are looking to do more on the vocational training front.”

DeSantis did not elaborate on what he plans to propose, but his recommended budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year could offer hints.

His spending plan, for example, includes $375,000 for the state Department of Education to implement the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative, which would “expand middle and high school debate and speech programs across the state.”

The governor’s budget proposal also includes $5 million to better align post-secondary programs with “regional workforce demands.”

DeSantis has announced two ambitious teacher-pay proposals, including a $602 million plan that would set a minimum salary of $47,500 for public school teachers.

DeSantis also wants to repeal the “Best and Brightest” bonus program and replace it will a new $300 million bonus program that would offer bigger awards to teachers and principals who work at schools in low-income areas. DeSantis appears confident the Legislature will approve his teacher-pay proposals during the session that starts Jan. 14.

“The response has been very good from the public, and I think legislators have seen that as well, and I think it will make a difference,” he said Tuesday.