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10 Questions to ask about the Governor’s Teacher Salary Proposal

For the past several months, FEA, our locals and our members have been bombarding media and elected officials with information about Florida’s national ranking in average teacher salary and that nearly 50,000 Educational Staff Professionals earn a poverty wage.

Clearly at least ONE politician is paying attention.

Governor DeSantis is expected to release his proposal for increasing teacher pay sometime soon and news sources are reporting that his goal is to raise teacher salaries to $50,000 per year!

It may sound good to many Floridians, but education employees know all too well that the devil is in the detail when it comes to pay schemes from Tallahassee

Here are the top 10 questions educators should be asking:

  1. Does the proposal pay ALL teachers a minimum of $50,000?  Or just NEW teachers?
  1. Does the proposal simply move the BASE pay to $50,000?  That would be a big increase for some that are making $40,000 or less but what about the veteran teacher with 15, 20 or even 30 years of experience who is already at $49,900?
  1. Will the new money be dedicated to actual “salary” increases? Or will it be called “compensation” and really be part of yet another bizarre and unreliable bonus scheme?
  1. Does this proposal allow school districts to focus their efforts where their needs are the greatest or is Tallahassee dictating spending priorities?
  1. Will it honor collectively bargained pay agreements so we can have a voice in ensuring that ALL teachers and education staff professionals benefit?
  1. Will it avoid a failed evaluation system and a reliance on VAM?
  1. Where is the money coming from? Are the funds being used from a stable, sustainable source or is this just another “year before the election” campaign piece?  What will be sacrificed? Will it be reoccurring?
  1. How will all members of our educational team benefit from this proposal? Is it only for instructional personnel? Will it recognize our staff professionals (Bus drivers, Pre-K teachers, Para-professionals, teacher aides etc.) that are integral to our public education system?
  1. Will this proposal change the conditions that drive experienced teachers away from high needs schools?
  1. The Governor can only do so much to enact legislation, so what does the legislature have in mind?  Has the governor secured a commitment from state legislative leaders to fund this proposal and when would it take effect?