State legislators suggest $15 minimum wage for Florida's public school workers

As schools across the state grapple with staffing shortages in positions such as bus drivers and food servers, senators are considering setting a minimum wage for school workers at $15 an hour.

Senate Education Appropriations Chairman Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, announced the proposal during a review of an initial budget recommendation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.Broxson said the proposal would provide “for an expectation that all school districts will ensure that every employee is paid at a minimum wage of at least $15 per hour beginning in” the 2022-2023 school year.

The money to raise wages would be included in the Florida Education Finance Program, the main funding formula for public schools, according to Broxson.

Overall, the education budget recommendation would provide $24.1 billion for public schools, a $1.4 billion increase over the current year. The proposed increase goes beyond what Gov. Ron DeSantis requested.

In a budget proposal rolled out in December, DeSantis recommended funding the system at $23.9 billion. The initial Senate recommendation will go to the Appropriations Committee. Lawmakers also are pursuing bills (HB 1017 and SB 1576) to address the scarcity of school staff. Those bills would require school districts to identify “critical employment shortages” of educational support staff and fund incentives to help recruit workers.

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