Florida Senate Budget Includes Historic Increase for VPK Program

Todays News

The Florida Senate’s proposed budget includes almost $400 million in additional funding for Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK) over the next three years, with a focus on increasing wages for the state’s early learning teachers. 

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

With Florida’s increasing minimum wage requirements, offering competitive salaries to VPK teachers has been a challenge. The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County (ELC) currently has almost 2500 children in the VPK program at 126 contracted child care providers.

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