The 2023 Legislative Session is underway in Tallahassee. As a non-partisan organization, JPEF provides information to help individuals follow and understand the issues impacting education.
We encourage active engagement in the legislative process. If you have concerns, comments or questions about legislation, please contact your legislators.
Duval County Public Schools Legislative Priorities
Among the legislative priorities for Duval County Public Schools are several that relate to the certification process for teachers. With Florida and Duval County facing one of the largest teaching shortages in the country, there is a need to address obstacles teachers face, while maintaining high standards for classroom instruction.
JPEF’s research into obstacles Black male and Latino teachers face supports the district’s legislative priorities regarding certification.
Change the term of temporary certification for candidates with a college degree from 3 years to 5 years providing teachers additional time to complete certification requirements.
Extend Senate Bill 896 (2022) which allowed military and veterans to apply for a 5-year temporary teaching certification with 60 credit hours to paraprofessionals and those pursuing education majors/minors with 60 hours of college credit and experience during the statewide critical teacher shortage.
JPEF’s original research shows that the current certification process is a barrier to teachers remaining in the classroom. Additionally, approximately two-thirds of current DCPS Black male and Latino teachers entered teaching through pathways other than traditional schools of education, and many were already working in the schools in non-teaching roles prior to becoming teachers. By fast-tracking these teacher candidates, Duval County schools could address the teacher shortage and increase teacher diversity.
DCPS has identified literacy as a critical concern for Duval County, with less than 50% of third graders reading at or above grade level. Because literacy skills begin developing prior to children entering kindergarten, DCPS has identified the need for more funding for Pre-K programs.
Provide funding for full-time Prekindergarten to give every family access to a free, public, high quality, full-time program as the current 3-hour program can be a barrier for families and children who need a full-day program.
JPEF’s research on literacy in Duval County as part of READ JAX supports this legislative priority.
Legislation Related to JPEF Priorities:
For over a decade, JPEF's research has shown that compensation is one of the key factors in recruiting and retaining teachers.
- In a 2021 report, JPEF looked at the teacher retention rate for Duval County. While DCPS had an 84% retention rate, JPEF found the rate to be closer to 75% due to inter-district transfers. Each teacher that permanently leaves DCPS costs the district about $11,000 in hiring and training to replace, and for the 2018-19 Academic Year, the cost of all teacher turnover was approximately $12 million.
- A 2018 JPEF report showed that teaching is not as appealing a profession for the millennial generation. Between 2010 and 2014, the percentage of high school graduates interested in education as a major declined by 16 percent. One large factor was teacher salaries. The report recommended, among other things, attaching advancement and growth to increased teacher pay.
- JPEF’s prior research on teacher retention has shown that compensation is the primary factor for teachers’ decisions to stay or leave the profession.
Two bills have been introduced that would address teacher compensation:
This legislation would set the minimum base salary for full-time preK-12 teachers at $65,000 per year.
Status: In House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee as of Feb. 1
SB 234 - Minimum base salary for full-time teachers
Dubbed the "Save our Teachers Act" this bill would also raise the minimum base salary for full-time, preK-12 grade teachers to $65,000.
Status: On Feb. 9 Referred to Education Pre-K -12; Appropriations Committee on Education; Appropriations
Other Active Legislation:
This bill expands the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship to provide public funding for any student enrolled in K-12 schools in Florida to use for private school tuition, tutoring, virtual school, certification tests, Advanced Placement exams, supplemental education materials and more. Students in foster care and students whose parents' income does not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level ($51,337.50 for a family of four) would continue to get priority. Second priority would be given to students whose family income is between 185% and 400% of poverty ($110,000 for a family of four).
Status: Passed the House; referred to Senate Appropriations Committee
- Florida Public Policy Institute's analysis of HB 1
This resolution would require school board candidates to declare a party and run in partisan elections beginning in 2026.
Status: In Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee
- More information from the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations: