Governor wants to give Florida teachers bigger paycheck

Governor proposes $2,500 raise in 2013

TAMPA - Governor Rick Scott is pledging to pay teachers more.

"I can think of no better investment for our state than investing in those teachers who work on the front lines," he said. 

The Governor wants to set aside $480 million in the new state budget just for teacher salaries, but his proposal is already drawing doubt.

I'm pretty skeptical of someone who is taking from us with one hand and is going to be giving to us with his other hand," said teacher Christie Fojaco.

Greta Wooley, Christie Fojaco, and Sue McCrossin teach at Essrig Elementary School in Tampa. Two years ago, Scott cut teacher wages by forcing them to pay 3-percent into their retirement fund.

"It's going to have to be a long term forward process for us to benefit at all and not a short term funding process," said McCrossin who has worked in the school district since 1994.

Average teacher pay in Florida doesn't stack up well against other states. There are only five states where, on average, teachers get paid less. Florida is also $10,000 dollars below the national average.

The pay raise still wouldn't bring Florida's average pay of just over $46,000 up to the national standard. But Hillsborough County's Classroom Teachers Association President says it might get him votes.

"I'm sure he's looking towards this next election and realizing that he's got a lot of people to win over across the state if he's going to be reelected," said Jean Clements.

These Tampa teachers will wait to see if Scott's lip service turns into action.

"To back something like that up and to treat us like professionals, I think would just have amazing ramifications," said Greta Wooley.

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