Governor DeSantis (R-Tallahassee) announced at a Press Conference in Wellington, Palm Beach County at Renaissance Charter School today that the new Minimum Starting Salary for teachers will be $47,000 here in the State of Florida, a $7,000 pay increase.
The pay increase now makes Florida the 9th highest state in the Country for teacher minimum wage. Previously, Florida was ranked 26th in the nation, when the minimum pay was at $40,000.
The pay increase was made possibly due to an additional $250 Million Dollars that have been included in this year's budget for teacher salaries here in Florida, bringing the total to $800 Million Dollars, according to a Press Release from the Governor's office.
The Governor had mentioned that he's been working over the past few years to increase "teach compensation here in the State of Florida" during his press conference. He referenced "thousand dollar bonuses for every teacher and principal in the entire State of Florida" for both public and charter schools.
DeSantis mentioned that one of his goals has been to "increase the average minimum salary across the State of Florida" for teachers. He went on to say "you want to recruit people to come in," to teaching, "they got to be able to afford to be able to be teachers" and praised the tuition levels at State Universities saying that the State Government does not allow them to raise tuition on students. DeSantis pointed out "you don't need to go a hundred thousand dollars into debt just to get a degree in the State of Florida and we're proud of that, nevetheless, it's not true for every place across the country" regarding tuition at other State Colleges.
With regard to the teacher salaries, the Governor said he "started on that before the Bidenflation" referring to the recent inflation that many have been blaming President Biden and his Administration for.
The increases in teacher pay have been done over the past three years, with a value of over $2 Billion Dollars, with other initiatives they have been able to do for teacher compensation according to the Governor.
The Governor said at his press conference that in 2020, he had announced that he wanted Florida to be in the top 10 states for average minimum teacher salary and mentioned we are now in the top 10, "doing very, very well with that."
He said in this year's budget, "we did $800 million for teacher pay initiatives" and that he would be approving the line item today. He said this would "go a long way to not only to continue to support strong average minimum salaries, but also increased salaries for veteran teachers," giving more money to both of these groups, than either has received in "modern Florida history," according to the Governor.
The Governor acknowledge that for people, such as college students, that want to be a teacher and look at it as a "noble profession" and "have to be able to make ends meet." He also said that "only 12% of school districts across the United States that have teachers start at over $40,000; so 88% are below that." The Governor then asked Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to confirm that 92% of Florida School Districts were already above this amount prior to the money being added to the State Budget.
The Governer said that the State Government has increased the pay for some of the very "rural" districts in Florida, with some of these districts previously having a starting salary of $34,000-$35,000 a year, which has since been increased by "thousands and thousands of dollars" according to the Governor.
DeSantis had said this minimum salary for teachers really puts Florida "ahead of the curve" in comparison to other States across the Country in regard to minimum starting salary for teachers.
The Governor said part of why the pay increase was done was due to the importance of the issue. He went on to say when COVID-19 happened, Florida was the only "major state" that had schools open all days of the week, with students in class, if parents chose to do that or remain attending school virtually.
The Governor made the point of how for months "to even a year or more", other students across the United States, had their schools closed down, being forced to learn virtually at home; these policies the Governor called "destructive." Governor DeSantis said in response to how Florida handled the COVID-19 pandemic versus others states that "Florida said are going to put our kids first and we're going to be there and we understood that required a lot of work by the administrators and principals and then the teachers. The teachers said "the remote is not good enough and the kids are falling behind"" and this was all despite unions attempting to sue the State of Florida over this, to keep the schools closed and the teachers were saying we need to be back in the classroom, according to the Governor.
The Governor was happy to hear that the Florida State Legislature had "delivered" on the $800 Million for teacher compensation. The Governor emphasized that this is "not the exclusive amount the teachers will see; we have a record amount of per pupil funding and we have the highest base student allocation we have ever had. That gives school districts the ability to do even more."
The Governor had pointed out how he just had the signing of the bill to eliminate the FSA (Florida Standards Assessment) and that the State of Florida is moving to progress monitoring. The education institution Governor DeSantis had his press conference at today, pointed out how that institution (which teaches Kindertaren through 8th Grade) uses progress monitoring to track individual learning plans. He mentioned that this school has had "high degree of success." He also mentioned how Lakewood Elementary in Pinellas County was "highlighted last year, going from going from an F to a A within two years by using progress monitoring." Through this change, the Governor said we're using new technology and innovation to our advatnage. He said we're also listening to parents and students about the most effective way to do it.
The Governor had been "suprised" when Commissioner Corcoran told the Governor how much time had gone into preparing the adminstration of the FSA each year. The Governor found the Progress Monitoring to give "more meaningful feedback" and be able to "remediate deficiencies before the school year is over."
The Governor said he wanted to mainly highlight the importance of the increase in minimum teacher pay, at the press conference.
The Governor then had some guest speakers come up and talk during the Press Conference
The principal of Renaissance Charter School, Christopher Glinton had spoken during the Press Conference. He thanked the Governor for the initiative and for following through on his committeement to increasing pay of public and charter teachers in Florida.
Glinton said that he "looking for talent" to join Renaissance Charter and said that he does not want "salary to be the deciding factor" and being unable to be a teacher due to not being able to afford the cost from having such a low salary.
A 5th Grade Teacher at Renaissance Charter, Tiqkia Barrow, who is also a U.S. Army Veteran, spoke at the Press Conference and thanked the Governor for the minimum starting salary increase and for Veteran Teachers. She said that "educators are the backbone of America, we taught morals, we taught ethics." She spoke about the impact that teachers have on the lives of students and ensuring that teachers can pay their basic expenses. She emphasized the importance of teachers in America during her speech.
A 2nd Grade Teacher at Renaissance Charter, Loren Temes, spoke about how much people have started to appreciate teachers since the COVID-19 pandemic happened. She said "people don't realize how much" teachers work throughout the year and spoke about she is "always looking for ways to help" her students in the classroom. She said it was "nice to feel appreciated and respected."
Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran, spoke about the great honor to be at Renaissance Charter. He acknowledged two individuals from the school who had voluntarily provided Progress Monitoring Data, which helped make the decision to switch from the Florida Standards Assessment to Progress Monitoring. He spoke about the importance of celebrating teachers and them being a key factor to the success of the education of children. He praised Governor DeSantis' work to increasing the rankings of schools across Florida since he became Governor and for getting Florida ranked top 5 for teacher compensation. He ended his remarks by thanking the Governor.
The Governor called the teacher pay raise a "big victory," thanked the Legislature stepping up to do the pay raise, even though in the beginning didn't have "universal support" and now has been found as "something that has been expected to be done." He was glad about a good policy outcome and expects to be able to do more. The Govenror said he "appreciates the folks who have been working with these kids" and how they've stepped up admid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
When asked by a reporter about a special session to "try to tackle property insurance or condo safety legislation." The Governor responded "I would welcome that, I think the legislature just didn't come through with it and if they can get an agreement, they should do it and he's confident something will come through in the next year. The Governor said "I have a pen ready" to sign the bill if they do it.
Click here to read Governor DeSantis' Press Release regarding raising the minimum wage for teachers.
Governor DeSantis is putting $800 million towards raising Florida teachers’ salaries. https://t.co/s4Hhtnidgx— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 21, 2022
Governor DeSantis provides $800 million to raise teacher pay across the state. https://t.co/Ux7t3pjCQf— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 21, 2022