TAMPA, Fla. — Thousands of Florida's teachers are expected to get a raise within the next year, but some leaders with the state's largest teacher's union say experienced educators are still at risk of being left behind.
On June 24, Gov. Ron DeSantis formally signed the Teacher Salary Plan into law. The new statute and funding raise the minimum pay for full-time classroom teachers in each school district to at least $47,500 per year.
Hillsborough County School Board members are expected to approve the teacher salary increase allocation plan at their regular meeting on Oct. 6. The school district is expected to receive around $38M from the state to fund these salary increases.
Overall, this plan focuses on increasing compensation for full-time classroom teachers as well as assisting school districts in recruitment and retention of classroom teachers and instructional personnel.
The Florida Department of Education said this is the largest teacher compensation package in the history of the state. It also ranks Florida number five in the nation for teacher salaries, according to the FDOE.
However, the Florida Education Association is calling the $47,500 figure "an aspirational goal set by the governor and the Legislature over a period of years."
Teacher's union leaders say very few districts received enough of an investment this year to reach that minimum salary. That means school districts will be working to give as many teachers as they can the new $47,500 salary, based on the district's slice of the $500M doled out by the state for this initiative.
"We must hold lawmakers accountable to their multi-year commitment," said the Florida Education Association on their website factsheet about this initiative. "That will be the only way to see significant salary growth."
Additionally, the FEA is raising concerns that experienced teachers won't be given the raises they deserve on a level playing field.
"You could in some counties have teachers who are 12 or 15 years in the profession making the same as someone just coming in the door," FEA leaders said in Facebook live on March 12, four days after the legislature passed this teacher salary plan.
The $500 million teacher salary allocation is for the 2020-21 school year.
"Like all wages, these will be negotiated between your local union and your school district," according to the Florida Education Association. "As far as the amount of the raise, that will vary widely."
Timeline for school districts to pass this plan:
- On or before October 1, 2020, each school district must submit an approved district salary distribution plan, along with the approved salary distribution plan for each charter school in the district to the Florida Department of Education.
- On or before December 1, 2020, each school district must submit a preliminary detailed teacher salary increase allocation expenditure report to the FDOE. Each charter school governing board must submit their preliminary report to the district in time to be included in the school district report to the FDOE.
- By August 1, 2021, each school district must submit a final teacher salary increase allocation expenditure report to the FDOE. Each charter school governing board must submit their final report to the district in time to be included in the school district report to the FDOE.