On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott urged the remaining two dozen school districts around the state to “immediately” finalize pay raises for teachers before the end of the year.
Scott’s letter to Florida superintendents noted the 28 districts that have finalized pay raises, and said another 15 “have reached tentative agreements.” He called on the remaining 24 districts to “quickly finalize” their plans.
With only about four weeks left until the end of the year, we urge every school district that has not finalized negotiations to implement teacher pay raises to do so immediately. We worked with the Legislature this year to dedicate $480 million to teacher pay raises because our teachers serve on the front lines of our education system every day. We know that tomorrow’s Florida workers are in Florida classrooms today.
To date, 28 school districts have finalized teacher pay raise amounts for their districts, while another 15 have reached tentative agreements that will soon be voted on. These districts worked with their bargaining units to ratify agreements to ensure the teachers had an established pay raise amount according to the law before the end of the year, which will allow teachers to prepare for their family’s financial future.
The districts with finalized agreements include: Baker, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Gulf, Hendry, Highlands, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Madison, Manatee, Okaloosa, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Sumter, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla.
We understand the local negotiation process that every district must go through in order to finalize teacher pay raise amounts, but we urge any district that has not yet reached a final agreement to contact Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart so we can offer any assistance possible to expedite this district-level process.
Our support for Florida teachers and our education system is stronger than ever. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that Florida had the second largest increase in education spending this year compared to other states. Florida also had the second largest per pupil increase in education funding on record in the 2013-2014 budget year. In fact, our budget this year included the most state funding for education ever – a record of more than $10 billion.
But, all of these numbers represent something more important than money. This funding is a commitment. It is a commitment that future generations of Florida workers will have the training, skills and education they need to compete and succeed in a global economy. Thank you for the leadership in working to make Florida’s education system the best in the world. Your work to quickly finalize teacher pay raises will show the world that we know commitment to the success of Florida students starts with a commitment to Florida teachers.
Governor Rick Scott