With the Legislature ready to start its regular session next week, the leader of Democrats in the state House is looking to expand Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to raise teacher salaries across Florida.
Back in October, DeSantis proposed a minimum starting teacher salary in Florida of $47,500 which would raise the salaries of more than 101,000 teachers across the state.
“According to the National Education Association, Florida ranks 26th in the nation for starting teacher pay at $37,636. With this investment of over $600 million, raising the minimum salary to $47,500 will rank Florida second in the nation for starting teacher pay,” the governor’s office noted.
DeSantis insisted the new minimum salary would boost efforts to recruit quality teachers.
“We are experiencing a teacher shortage in Florida,” said DeSantis. “With a strong economy and plenty of jobs available in other fields, unfortunately too many college graduates are unwilling to enter the teaching profession. My proposal to increase the minimum salary for teachers to $47,500 will help alleviate this shortage and elevate the teaching profession to the level of appreciation it deserves. This is long overdue, and I look forward to working with the Legislature to make this a reality.”
“Getting a great teacher in front of every child is the number one proven way to get great outcomes for students,” said Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. “Today, Governor Ron DeSantis is elevating Florida’s teachers like never before and is making a statement nationally that Florida is the ‘Education State’ and he is the ‘Education Governor.’ Florida going from number 26 to number 2 in the nation in starting pay sends a clear signal to Florida’s teachers and our entire education family that we are ready to celebrate our teachers and foster lifelong success for our students.”
With some GOP leaders in the House less than enthusiastic about the governor’s proposal, this week, Florida House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee, D-Cutler Bay, filed a bill to raise all teacher salaries and boost the pay of school support staff. The bill “would create a three-year plan, giving raises to both classroom teachers and educational support personnel” starting on July 1, according to McGhee’s office.
“As of July 1, 2020, instructional personnel will have a salary increase to either $47,500 or a 5 percent raise of their current salary, whichever is greater. In addition, support employees will receive a 5 percent salary raise,” McGhee’s office noted. “Effective July 1, 2021, instructional personnel will receive a base salary of $49,400 or a 4 percent raise of their current salary, whichever is greater. In addition, support employees will receive a 4 percent salary raise. Effective July 1, 2022, instructional personnel will receive a base salary of $51,376 or a 4 percent raise of their current salary, whichever is greater. In addition, support employees will receive a 4 percent salary raise.”
McGhee weighed in on why he had introduced the proposal on Thursday.
“Public school employees work long hours for little money because they love their calling. We must do better, and this will put Florida on the right path,” said McGhee.