Some Teachers Feel Left Out with the Pay Raise Bill

June 25, 2020

By: Staff Report

TAMPA Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis announced a bill Wednesday that will take Florida’s average minimum teacher salary from 26th in the U.S. to the top 5.

But some teachers are feeling left out.

The Bill passed Wednesday has $500 million allocated for pay increases for Florida teachers, however, the majority of that, $400 million, is for “new” starting salaries. The breakout of how the funds will be distributed is as follows:

Who Benefits from HB 641:

  • Step 1: Full-time classroom teachers (s. 1012.01(2)(a), F.S.) plus certified pre-K teachers funded in the FEFP (not including substitute teachers)
  • Step 2: Group from Step 1 who did not receive an increase or increase was less than 2%, and other full-time instructional personnel (not including substitute teachers) (s. 1012.01(2)(b)-(d), F.S.)

How funds are distributed:

  • These funds must be used solely to increase teacher salaries and no collective bargaining agreement can alter this requirement.
  • Step 1: Requires school districts and charters to use $400 million to increase the salaries of all full-time school instructional classroom teachers to at least $47,500 or the maximum amount achievable based on the district’s allocation.
  • Step 2: Requires school districts and charters to use $100 million to provide salary increases of the group from Step 1 who did not receive an increase or received an increase of less than 2%, and other full-time instructional personnel.

A teacher in Hillsborough County speaking with anonymity said, “Teachers that have been working for years, will be getting very small increases in pay. There will be some new teachers coming in at the same rate as those of us that have been here for years. This should be an investment, across the board for all teachers, new and old.”

Orange County State rep. Rene Plasencia, a former teacher himself, help to draft the bill.

“So that’s half a billion dollars all going to teacher pay increases during what could be the worst economic recession we’ve had in 100 years,” Plasencia said.

“This is a great signal by the legislature that public education funding is a priority to us,” Plasencia said.

Plasencia says, “That $100 million is not the only funds for veteran teachers, we’ve put millions more of flexible education spending into the budget. But it will be up to unions and school districts to bargain to determine how much of that will go to veteran teachers.”

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