The mammoth budget would also help smaller schools, providing $50 million in grants to help districts and charter schools increase security. It also will provide $2 million to bolster Jewish Day school security.
The plan also seeks to address teacher salaries in the state, devoting $233 million for bonuses for teachers and principals based on the academic improvement of schools.'
The Senate proposal also includes $600 million in "flexible funds" that can be used for various reasons, including teacher pay, salary raises, and more.
The new budget also seeks to address concerns that Gov. DeSantis had about school choice. The panel voted to include a voucher bill that would allow students to attend private schools on taxpayer dollars that are typically used on public schools. The voucher bill would allow thousands of students eligible under the new Family Empowerment Scholarship Program to take advantage of the flexibility.
Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., who has led the charge to expand school choice, saw today's proposal as a victory for families wanting to provide their kids with a quality education.
Opponents, however, spoke out against the new budget. Democratic Sen. Bill Montford called it a "fundamental change" in Florida education spending that will wind up hurting public schools were the majority of students attend.
"I believe we're going down the wrong path," he said.
As it stands, Florida currently has four scholarship programs that provide for more than 100,000 students to attend private schools, charter schools, and religious schools. None of those programs are funded with money used for public schools.
The House has yet to issue their education budget proposal. They must do so before the 60-day session concludes, and both chambers must agree on a single state budget moving forward.