It takes the entire community and its leaders to work together to have optimal success for all its citizens. The community should work flawlessly as a fine-tuned pocket watch. Working with every wheel spinning at the precise speed and every wheel harmoniously meeting at the precision of perfection. That is a fine example of how perfected success is achieved and should be a model for all to follow.

With Florida being ranked #1 in overall education, #1 in education freedom, and #1 in higher education, Governor Ron DeSantis is setting the education budget for Florida’s continued success and continuous #1 rankings. As Florida has experienced tremendous net migration since COVID, it has put a huge burden on Florida’s education providers. The State of Florida estimated the current projected enrollment of over 3.1 million students in the coming year and Governor DeSantis is proposing a historic $27.8 billion dollars for education. This includes a state record of $15.1 billion for K-12 public school systems. In addition to the notable overall funding, DeSantis has proposed allocation of an additional increase of $200 million for a total of $1.25 billion for salary increases for teachers and other instructional personnel. Also, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten’s proposed allocation is $450 million, and early child education with a proposed funding of $1.6 Billion.  Both early child education and Voluntary Pre-kindergarten provide children with literacy-focusing skills and help build a strong foundation for their future learning and educational environment.

K-12 Public Education will receive the highest per-student investment of $8,842 in the Florida Education Finance program with total funding of $27.8 billion which includes an increase of $175 per student over last year’s budget. The $27.8 million includes an increase of $107 in the Base Student Allocation; an increase of $200 million for a total of $1.2 billion for pay increases to teachers and other instruction personnel; an increase of $20 million with a total allocation of $180 million for mental health allocation and an increase of $20 million with a total allocation of $556 million for student transporation.

Governor DeSantis also recognized the lack and inefficiencies of Florida’s workforce and has proposed funding to strengthen Florida’s workforce. The Governor has dedicated over $8 Billion to workforce education programs since 2019. Post-secondary enrollment has increased by more than 380,000 students and a record 800,000 students currently enrolled in the high school Career and Technical Education programs since 2018. DeSantis has proposed an allocation of $125 million to address nursing vacancies and reward “quality nursing education programs”. In an effort to continue strengthening Florida’s workforce the proposed budget allocates a historic $853 million to support education programs. The focus is for Florida students to fill high-demand jobs with high wages. This will help Florida achieve its goal of becoming a #1 ranking in the nation for workforce education.

The budget also focuses on secure learning environments and the safety of all Florida education staff and students. Allocation of $290 million for safety school components of the Florida Education Finance Program. Mental Health Awareness and Assistance Training allocation of $5.5 million. Guardian Program allocation of $6.5 million to certify and train school guardians. Florida Safe School Assessment Tool funding of $845,000. An additional $3 million to continue centralized integrated repository and data analytics resources to improve access to timely, complete, and accurate information. School Districts have proposed an allocation of $6.4 million for a mobile panic alert system with capabilities of connection to first responder agencies. There is 42 million for public school hardening grants and Safe School Technology Systems is proposed for $6.5 million. There is also proposed funding of $5 million for District Threat Management. Coordinators.

Looks like Florida’s education system is targeting and planning for a #1 ranking in all categories. Prior planning, funding, and future forecasting have provided a great start to positively influence and strengthen Florida’s workforce. With substantial growth, a community, county, or state government must foresee the upcoming needs of their community. Growth places much need assistance on education, housing, infrastructure, first responders, and law enforcement officials. One of the main concerns for the growth of an area is the workforce or its capacity to recruit the needed workforce. If the workforce is recruited how will the increase in population be handled with an increased need for housing and an increase in the need for goods and services. Growth whether planned or not, always has a tremendous financial impact throughout a community. It takes substantial planning, forecasting and the entire community working together to provide good growth for an area and a growth master plan that is comprehensive for its citizens.

Please remember we must all work like that finely tuned precision pocket watch. I hope in August 2024 and November 2024 you will remember the pocket watch example and vote for those individuals who are not afraid of precisely working together to apply a growth master plan for all people within the community. Wish all of you A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year! I will leave you with those thoughts and that concludes this week’s The Straight Truth With Mary Ann Hutton.