Governor DeSantis has proposed using around $600 Million to raise the starting teacher pay to $47,500. While it is great news that he is hearing about the dismal pay in this state, I’m not sure his program actually hits the intended mark. Gov. DeSantis talks about doing this to “recruit and retain” teachers in this state. While the recruitment part may inspire new applicants, due to the pay increase, I don’t think the “retain” portion will fare as well. In Pasco County, a teacher would have to work close to 20 years to attain the $47,500 level. I don’t think it is fair & equitable to raise the “floor” salaries with-out also raising the “ceiling”. What are we going to do for those experienced teachers who now find themselves making only slightly more, or even less in some cases, than a newly hired employee? Since when does it become fair to discriminate against experienced employees?
And, once again, similar to the Best & Brightest plans, there is no salary improvements at all for our non-instructional support employees. How can we advertise such a plan as an improvement?
Here’s a thought:
The Governor plans to utilize $600 M to accomplish his goal. Senator Bradley, the Appropriations Chair, has filed a bill to end the Best & Brightest Bonus program, so take that $284 M and add it to the coffers. Additionally, the A+ School Recognition Program, another outdated and controversial program, could be dissolved and contribute it’s pot of $131 M. That would make just over $1 Billion dollars ($1.015 B) available to be distributed in the FEFP to every district and available to be negotiated for salary improvements for ALL Public Education employees. Now THAT’S an idea I can get behind!