Gov. Rick Scott was joined by teachers at Ocoee Middle School in Orlando Wednesday to announce his plan to give teachers a $2,500 pay raise and increase K-12 education funding as part of his upcoming state budget proposal.
Scott released the following statement:
“Today, I am excited to announce that as we continue to move our state forward and create more jobs, we are doubling down on our investment in education. I can think of no better investment for our state than investing in those teachers who work on the frontline of Florida’s future every day by teaching our children. I am asking the legislature to join with me in supporting my 2013 budget request that will provide every Florida full-time public classroom teacher the ability to receive a $2,500 pay raise.
“My proposed budget will include $480 million in funding to support a $2,500 pay raise for full-time public classroom teachers in our state. This funding will support districts’ ability to provide a $2,500 teacher pay raise, plus the cost of related benefits. This teacher pay raise is in addition to an overall increase in education funding that will be included in our full budget proposal.
“We are at an exciting place in the history of Florida education – in large part due to the hard work of our teachers. Our students and teachers were recently ranked 6th for educational quality. On a recent international reading survey, our fourth-graders scored among the best in the world. And, the National Council on Teacher Quality ranked Florida teachers number one in the country in their 2012 survey.
“Our teachers are working hard to move toward a new set of Common Core State Standards that will help to prepare our students for college and careers. A few months ago, I rolled out my College and Career FIRST plan, which included a number of our proposals to help teachers purchase supplies, instead of using their own money, and to help districts with innovative professional development to help teachers prepare for the new standards.
“Not only should we support our teachers during this transition, but we should also recognize them for the hard work they are putting into preparing our students for college and careers. By 2014, Florida teachers will be a part of our performance pay structure that will help attract and advance the most high-performing teachers in our education system. We believe in teacher accountability and we know our teachers do too. With the new performance system in place, now is the time to increase our investment in Florida’s teachers.
“This $2,500 teacher pay raise will be in my recommended budget, but it still needs to pass the legislature before we can sign it into law. It will also need to be collectively bargained at the district level to be implemented. I look forward to working with educators and leaders at all levels of government and all across our state to make this commitment to Florida teachers a reality.”
Scott’s proposal was met with approval from several state education officials.
“Student success is driven largely by our talented classroom teachers,” Education Commissioner Tony Bennett said. “To retain talent, we must compensate our educators appropriately. I commend Governor Scott for wanting to raise the salaries of our hard-working classroom teachers.”
“We know that quality teachers are the most important factor in student achievement,” state Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand said. “Adequate compensation is critical to attracting and retaining quality teachers and the Governor’s action clearly illustrates how important teachers are to the success of all our students in Florida.”
“We are extremely pleased that the governor has recognized the hard work of teachers throughout Florida and we will work closely with the Governor’s office and the Legislature to ensure that all of our teachers and employees are recognized for their dedication and hard work,” said Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association.
“A talented workforce is Florida’s best economic development tool toward ensuring businesses can successfully compete in the global marketplace,” said David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber has long-supported paying great teachers more, and applauds Gov. Scott for his initiative to reward Florida teachers.”
“As I travel the state, I hear far too many stories of teachers who can’t afford to live in the school districts they serve,” said Dean Asher, president of Florida Realtors. “Florida Realtors applaud the Governor for recognizing the value of those who make such a difference in our children’s lives. In addition to being the role model at school, we want them to also be able to afford to be a neighbor in the community.”
Scott was joined for his announcement by Orange County Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Ocoee Middle School Principal Sharyn Gabriel and other teachers and education leaders.
“Teachers in Orange County Public Schools are dedicated professionals who work hard every day to provide quality instruction to nearly 185,000 students,” Jenkins said. “This significant gesture in the Governor’s budget acknowledges their work and the value of public education in the state of Florida.”
Scott visited Ocoee Middle School in September 2012 as part of his Education Listening Tour, which kicked off his education agenda. The governor previously announced his College and Career FIRST proposals to strengthen Florida’s education system, which included key reforms recommended by teachers and parents across the state during his education listening tour.
Read the governor’s remarks from the event here.
Additional information on Scott’s proposal available here.
Scott’s College and Career FIRST proposals available here.