The Santa Rosa County Democratic Party believes in a universally well-educated population. To achieve this, Florida students must have access to world-class pre-K – 12 public education that will prepare them to live, work, and thrive in a multicultural, multilingual, and highly connected world. Our students must be provided with an education that prepares them for postsecondary education or career technical education, to become purpose driven citizens of the 21st century. We must fully fund public education to correct years of insufficient allocations, increase funding to put Florida in the top 10 states in per student resource allocation, and equitably distribute funding to school districts most in need.
Pre-K – 12
Universal Pre-K: We will work to ensure all 4 year old children in the Santa Rosa County have access to FREE high quality pre-school as an integral part of the public education system.
Public School Funding: Florida ranks 48th of 50 states in per pupil school funding. The Santa Rosa County School District only allocates $7,895 per student on average for public elementary and secondary education costs, which is $5,753 less than the national average. We advocate for our school-finance system to be reformed in such a way that would unlink school funding to local property values, and increase the spending per pupil in Santa Rosa County to the national average. We also support funding per pupil resources that places Florida in the Top 10 School funded systems in the country.
Curriculum: Provide up to date instruction in social studies, sciences, literature, art, music, foreign languages, civics, health, physical education, and recess. This includes ensuring that school children have current textbooks, including history books that are inclusive and historically accurate and science books that fully reflect the strong scientific consensus on issues of climate change and evolution.
Student Loan Debt
In America today, the average college student graduates $28,950 in debt; and students collectively owe $1.4 trillion in debt so in addition to making public colleges tuition-free, the U.S should take steps to cancel all student debt as a one-time policy.
The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 school year for full-time undergraduate students at public colleges and universities was $22,432, so we support legislation that would ensure all public colleges, universities, and trade/vocational schools are tuition-free.
A starting salary for a Santa Rosa County School Teacher, according to the Santa Rosa Professional Educators Union, is $36,076/year, and the state average is $47,780/year; given that our teachers are earning $11,704 less than the state average (even though a state-level special magistrate recommended the school board approve a pay increase) we support state-level legislation that would
(1) ensure teachers earn a starting salary of $50,000/year, and (2) tie salary increases to cost of living expenses and years of experience.
Teachers, on average, spend $500/year on classroom supplies, and one in 10 spend $1,000 or more, which is why we support giving teachers a $1,000 supply stipend per academic school year.
Currently, Santa Rosa is the 6th fastest growing county in the state Florida so it is imperative our local government take steps to address the overcrowding in our schools as a result of population growth while also reducing the student to teacher classroom ratio.
We support the repeal of Florida’s “Right to Work” law, which prohibits teachers (and all other public employees) from protesting their working conditions.
Because over seventeen million children are living in food insecure households, the Santa Rosa DEC supports the re-implementation of the “Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act,” which would provide funding for school meal and child nutrition programs and increase access to healthy food for low-income children.