You could say an education is priceless. The reality is, books, technology, transportation, and salaries all require money to make it happen.
School funding is an issue that every parent can relate to. As Florida lawmakers are near the end of the legislative session, just two weeks away, education continues to be a hot topic. The Florida Education Association is urging those in Tallahassee to invest more in the classroom for next year.
Wednesday, nearly 400 schools across the state, including Ketterlinus Elementary, are scheduled to take part in a 'walk-in'. The event hopes to get the attention of lawmakers in Florida. Many will gather outside their schools prior to the start in red following the campaign 'Red for Ed' to raise awareness for public education.
The president of the St. John’s Education Association, Michelle Dillon, has her red dress picked out to prove the point of investing in student education.
“We have got to focus on funding our neighborhood public schools and funding them appropriately so that our students are successful," Dillon said.
The event expects to have staff from all across the education sector including bus drivers, custodians, teachers, and administrators.
“Really, our show is to the legislators, we’re in this together you need to pay attention to us, you need to fund us properly," Dillon said.
The Florida Education Association is asking lawmakers for an increase in funding across the state to 743 dollars per student next year, a ten percent increase from 2018. Money that could be used on books, transportation, and salaries.
“This is everyone in this together because I don’t think the legislature is really considering how important public education is to our future.”
Out of the state’s 67 counties, historically, St. John’s County is in the top five in terms of funding.
However, the SJEA president argued St. Johns County needs an increase to keep pace with their own growth.
“We have to serve these students with all the resources that they need, we have to bring in new teachers, recruit and retain teachers and that’s a worry for the union as well as the district," Dillon said.
93 teachers have resigned in St. Johns County since the start of the year. Dillon added she's concerned that could continue here and statewide if Tallahassee doesn’t get this message to invest in education.
“If we aren’t funded properly and have a decent increase in salaries and resources for our students, the job becomes more and more frustrating and I unfortunately think that more teachers will leave education.”
SJEA and the Florida Education Association will continue to put pressure over the next week as the legislative session ends May 3.