TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez pummeled Charlie Crist on education when she appeared this week on NBC 6 Impact with Jackie Nespal. In addition to being the former governor of Florida, Charlie Crist was also the Florida Education Commissioner from 2001–2003.
When Nuñez was asked about teacher salaries, she said that “Crist defunded education to the tune of $300 million.” She added that the DeSantis administration has increased per-pupil funding in the state of Florida to historic levels.
In 2008, when Crist was looking to reduce the budget as governor of Florida, he cut school funding by $300 million, just as Nuñez said. But he gambled on the Powerball in Florida to generate enough revenue to cover the shortfall – a move that put schools behind for years. Education funding fell by nearly $1 billion during Crist's second year in office.
HISTORIC FUNDING FOR EDUCATION
In December 2021, DeSantis’ announced $1,000 bonuses for Florida’s teachers and principals for the second straight year. His Freedom First budget included $600 million to raise minimum teacher salaries for the third year in a row from $40,000 to $47,500 and brought the per-student funding for each student to $8,000, a historic increase.
“Our plan on education is working,” Nuñez said. “We’re providing parents with not only school choice, but also making sure that we give them their due as it relates to parental rights – something that we stand strongly in favor of.”
“No one has done more for teachers and students than Governor Ron DeSantis. Along with the Legislature, this administration has secured close to $2 billion for increased teacher pay. In addition, parents now have more educational choice options than ever before,” Chris Moya, Education Policy Expert and Director of Management and Consulting at DeanMead told The Florida Standard.
A “COMMITTED” UNION
In a March news release, the Florida Education Association’s President Andrew Spar said, “we continue to be laser-focused on the fact that our schools need more teachers and support staff to provide students with the high-quality education they deserve and need.”
Spar went on to say that the teacher shortage was nearing 9,000 – a statistic that The Florida Standard reported as false. The FEA eventually admitted that the increased funding “stands as a victory for public education” – yet they continue to ask for even more money.
FLASHBACK AND “WARNING”
The DeSantis re-election campaign posted a flashback today from June of 2020 where Karla Hernandez-Mats, Crist’s running mate, stirred up ire from parents. Her union, the United Teachers of Dade, posted a public service announcement on social media that said “If you don’t start wearing masks, then you are going to have to homeschool your kids this fall. Hope this helps.”
One commenter tweeted “we saw Karla’s true colors for months as parents cried to her, pleaded and begged for her to listen to our stories of kids struggling, disconnected and increasingly suicidal. Thanks to #KarlaMarx, Miami parents have risen & are voting accordingly.”