Gov. Rick Scott proposed a $2,500 pay raise for all full-time kindergarten through 12th grade teachers on Wednesday.
Scott’s proposal is in addition to an increase in K-12 funding, which he suggested in a state budget proposal.
“I can think of no better investment for our state than investing in those teachers who work on the front line of Florida’s future every day by teaching our children,” said Scott.
Scott delivered a speech in Orlando at Ocoee Middle School announcing his salary proposal. The education commissioner, state board of education chairman, Orange County superintendent and others joined Scott for his speech.
In order for the pay raise to go into effect for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, his budget recommendations must be approved by state legislature. Each district will also have to cooperate with its teacher’s union to come to a salary agreement.
Robert Hastings, superintendent for Levy County, said Scott’s proposal is encouraging.
“For the last four years, we’ve got less and less money each year for a variety of reasons,” he said. “We’ve lost millions of dollars. Any increase in funding in education, especially for teachers, is certainly a welcome item to me.”
Still, Hastings said teachers are not the only ones who deserve to be rewarded.
“If you just give teachers’ full-time salary a $2,500 raise, and don’t do anything for your support staff – such as your secretaries, bus drivers, lunchroom workers, etc. – it’s not going to create any goodwill,” he said. “So you have to reward everybody to some extent, not only your classroom teachers. Although they certainly deserve that and much more.”
While Scott’s speech did not include a specified amount to go to support staff, a statement released by his office said that his budget recommendations will include additional funds that may be used to give support staff a pay raise.