ORLANDO, Fla. — Many teachers said they approve of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to give starting teachers a bigger raise, calling it a step in the right direction.
But they also question whether it would help all teachers, especially the veterans.
- Many teachers said they approve of Gov. DeSantis' proposal
- Gov. DeSantis proposed to raise starting salary to $47,500
- The proposal would not affect veteran teachers
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JoAnna Marino has taught for six years in Central Florida schools. She’s also juggling being a mom of five kids.
“Our oldest is 19 and our youngest will be 3 months on Saturday,” she said.
So of course the fight for fair teacher pay is top of mind for her. Marino said she was happy to hear DeSantis’ proposal to raise the teacher starting salary in Florida to $47,500.
“(It's) a great starting salary for someone who is just graduating,” Marino said.
State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran believes this proposal would fill many teacher shortages in districts across the state.
“You’re going to see a massive infusion of passionate, talented teachers coming in and filling our openings,” he said.
But this pay raise would not affect Marino and thousands of other veteran teachers who have put many years into the profession.
“It doesn’t seem like those of us who’ve been here and have the experience are valued,” Marino said.
Marino said when they don’t feel valued, they’ll go elsewhere.
“The biggest problem in education is teachers leaving the profession,” Marino said.
Corcoran said while the governor’s proposal does not have anything yet for veteran teachers, unions can use this to bargain more money from districts for veteran teachers.
“Now the district and all that money that they were going to use on a, let’s say a 3 percent across the board hike. Now they can push all that money to veteran teachers and to support staff,” Corcoran said.
For those worried about how they’re going to pay for it, Corcoran says they’ll use the $300 million from the best and brightest program, which this raise will replace, to pay for half of it.
And the rest can come out of any state budget surplus.
But Marino said she’s worried districts will not follow his recommendation and leave veteran teachers behind.
“And if I can’t afford to raise a family… then I’m going to have to look someplace else,” Marino said.
Corcoran said the governor’s office should be coming out with more details sometime between now and December 1, which is when the governor’s budget proposal is due.