Florida Senate Budget Includes Historic Increase to VPK Program

Today’s News

The Florida Senate’s proposed budget includes nearly $400 million in additional funding for Florida’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program over the next three years, with a focus on raising the salaries of state teachers.

The Florida Senate, under the leadership of Senate President Wilton Simpson, Senate President-elect Kathleen Passidomo, Senator Doug Broxson and Senator Kelli Stargel, is making great strides in raising and recognizing the level of professionalism in the early learning. This funding will increase school year funding per student from $2,486 to $3,294 through an additional payment of $808 to increase the salary of VPK teachers to a minimum of $15 per hour from the average salary current about $12.50 an hour. This increase would represent the largest increase in the program’s history.

With increasing minimum wage requirements in Florida, providing competitive salaries for VPK teachers has been a challenge. The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County (ELC) currently has nearly 2,500 children in the VPK program with 126 contract child care providers.

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