DeSantis hedges on voucher funding in Florida education budget proposal

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
State Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, has filed legislation to create universal education savings accounts for Florida K-12 children. Gov. Ron DeSantis did not include funding for the concept in his proposed 2023-24 budget.
State Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, has filed legislation to create universal education savings accounts for Florida K-12 children. Gov. Ron DeSantis did not include funding for the concept in his proposed 2023-24 budget. [ The Florida Channel ]
Published Feb. 2

The big story: The Governor’s Office released its budget proposal for 2023-24, in time for lawmakers to take a look next week.

For education, the recommendation was notable as much for what wasn’t in it as for what did appear.

It did not include specific funding for the House priority of creating universal education savings accounts, which has been estimated by some observers to require billions of dollars. Gov. Ron DeSantis said he has not yet endorsed the bill, and he wanted to see more details before committing money in his budget ask.

He did call for an additional $200 million to go toward teacher raises, an amount the Florida Education Association contended does not go far enough. He also proposed increasing per student funding by $205. Read more here.

DeSantis also singled out Jewish day schools to get additional security funding, Florida Politics reports.

Hot topics

Book, material challenges: The Pinellas County school district administration did not follow its policies or procedures before deciding to remove “The Bluest Eye” from all schools. Officials said that’s not unusual. • Students at a Duval County high school for the arts are demanding more detailed answers about why their spring production of “Indecent” was canceled, WJAX reports.

African American studies: The College Board released its final outline of its new AP African American studies course, which has come under fire from Gov. Ron DeSantis. It did not include some of the ideas DeSantis complained about. College Board officials said the governor did not influence the design, the Miami Herald reports. More from Associated Press. • Pinellas County civic leaders celebrating Black History Month criticized DeSantis’ education policies relating to teaching about race.

Diversity and inclusion: Some of Florida’s state colleges announced no changes were needed to comply with the Governor’s Office demand that they eliminate diversity and equity programs, the Florida Times-Union reports. • Faculty members at Florida Atlantic University issued a statement in support of diversity, equity and inclusion as the governor pushed state universities to eliminate such initiatives, WLRN reports.

New College: As New College of Florida receives national attention for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to remake it as a conservative bastion, the Herald-Tribune offers some insights into what the school has been like to this point.

Parent involvement: A Brevard County parent group that regularly took stances against Moms for Liberty is disbanding, with many in its leadership leaving the area for more liberal places to live, Florida Today reports.

Social media: Florida chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis called for a ban on TikTok in schools, saying it robs children of social development, WFTX reports.

Superintendents: Okaloosa County superintendent Marcus Chambers announced his reelection bid, WEAR reports.

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Teacher resignations: A former Duval County teacher explains how the state’s new restrictions on instruction drove him from his job, WTLV reports.

From the police blotter ... A Seminole County high school student was arrested on accusations of selling pot brownies at school, WFTV reports. • Collier County law enforcement is investigating a burglary at a local high school, WINK reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... It’s the 50th anniversary of Schoolhouse Rock. Which one is your favorite? This one helped me win a school competition about the Constitution.

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