Raises for Florida's teachers may be smaller than expected

Florida lawmakers set aside $480 million for teacher raises last spring, but none of that cash has made it into teachers' paychecks yet.
 
Teachers are also learning their raise will be a lot smaller than the $2,500 that Gov. Rick Scott pushed for.
 
Teachers say they're glad to be recognized with a raise, but some are surprised at the amount.
 
The raises range between $1,700 and $2,200 in negotiations between school districts and the teachers' union, according to the Florida Education Association.
 
Gov. Rick Scott convinced state lawmakers to set aside $480 million for raises, but he expected the money to go only to classroom teachers.
 
The Legislature decided to include principals and other instructional personnel, so that means the cash will be split up among more workers.
 
Michael Monroe with the Florida Education Association said, "The $480 million pot stayed the same. The population of people eligible for it increased and so the pie was the same and more people were invited to the party so you get a smaller slice."
 
Monroe says teacher benefits will also eat up part of the raise.  "Benefits had to be deducted from the $2,500 and so retirement costs and also social security costs will reduce that $2,500 down significantly."
 
He says the raises are averaging around $2,000. A few districts have completed union negotiations and sent their salary plans to the Florida Department of Education.
 
It looks as if those teachers will see the new raise in their September paychecks.
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