Veto list: Gov. DeSantis axes $250K for teacher recruitment in Duval, Miami-Dade, Orange counties
There's an acute teacher shortage accross the country, particularly in South Florida. Image via AP.

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Teacher shortages in Florida grew by more than 67% between August 2020 and August 2021.

Gov. Ron DeSantis used his veto pen to strike a one-time, $250,000 earmark for teacher recruitment in the 2022-23 state budget Thursday, canceling a third of the cost for a hiring program servicing high-need, low-income communities in Duval, Miami-Dade and Orange counties.

The now-nixed appropriation would have supplemented $250,000 in state dollars already set aside for a partnership between the Department of Education, public school districts and the nonprofit Teach for America (TFA).

Another $250,000 was committed through “private support from individuals and major corporations,” according to a breakdown of the project filed with the House.

Teacher shortages across the country have persisted for years, but the problem has grown worse amid the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in the Sunshine State, according to the Florida Education Association. The organization found that between August 2020 and 2021, vacancies increased by more than 67% to nearly 9,000 unfilled teaching and support staff positions.

That’s despite more than $800 million in recent pay raises and DeSantis’ commitment to continuing to sign off on teacher pay hikes.

Most of the $250,000 appropriation (HB 3409) requested by Jacksonville Republican Rep. Wyman Duggan would have covered TFA’s operational expenses.

“This includes expenses associated with hosting a six-week-long pre-service institute (in Miami) that will create 100+ seasonal jobs and impact 800+ low-income students,” the request form said. “Teach for America will recruit, train, and develop outstanding and diverse leaders who commit to teaching in a low-income community, leading high-need public school classrooms. Teach for America will then retain and engage these outstanding educators, building their capacity as leaders and accelerating progress for students across the state.”

The last time Florida funded such a program was in 2017, according to the request form.

The vetoed funds represented just 0.008% of $3.1 billion DeSantis removed from Florida’s annual budget, which still contained $109.9 billion in spending plans — $8 billion more than last year — after the Governor signed off on it.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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