Some Florida lecturers are nonetheless ready for raises – CBS St John
MIAMI (CBSSt John) – Teachers in 23 Florida school districts saw no legislature-promised salary increases when they approved $ 500 million to raise salaries for educators last year.
The state has approved payroll plans for 44 districts, paving the way for teachers to raise salaries. However, that leaves about a third of the state’s 67 counties unable to distribute their stake in the money.
Jacob Oliva, Chancellor of the Florida Department of Public Schools, told the State Board of Education on Wednesday that about 50 percent of teachers in the state have received increases.
“This investment is the largest pay increase ever made in Florida and a statement to the nation that Florida is increasing the teaching profession,” Oliva said during a board meeting in Daytona Beach.
The Ministry of Education is currently reviewing the plans of 12 districts, while funding for pay increases in 11 districts is tied in local negotiations. Six of these eleven districts have come into conflict with local teachers’ unions.
Of the $ 500 million legislative approval approved last year, $ 400 million was earmarked for raising the minimum teacher salaries to $ 47,500, or the maximums allowed by district allocations. The remaining $ 100 million was intended to increase pay for experienced teachers and other employees.
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, a former Florida House Republican spokesman who has long criticized teachers’ unions, accused some unions of putting increases on hold while teachers in other districts had raises in time for the holidays.
“The same teachers had Christmas with their families. The same teachers would have loved to have the money they have for Christmas, whatever, for a car payment, ”Corcoran said, deciphering“ the union bosses who are literally fighting the clear law to get those dollars to our teachers. ”
Corcoran said his agency had encouraged districts negotiating with unions to “push them aside and hit a dead end,” adding that the unions will “lose” if the disputes are resolved.
“They are unruly, they are completely unwilling to see clear facts, they are irrational … not kindhearted,” Corcoran said of union officials.
The state’s largest teachers union, the Florida Education Association, responded to Corcoran’s criticism on Twitter on Wednesday.
“If lawmakers want to help students by the start of the 2021 legislature by curbing massive teacher shortages, the focus should be on ensuring that funding for TSA increases and the associated bureaucratic burden decreases,” the nationwide union tweeted. “Let’s face it, the conditions attached to the funding allocation for teachers’ salaries resulted in an unfair distribution where educators competed against each other.”
Andrew Spar, the union’s president, tweeted ahead of the State Board of Education meeting on Wednesday: “I wonder if you will mention how poorly this plan is thought out and how many educators have been left out.”
The union’s criticism echoes questions frequently asked during last year’s session about whether long-time class teachers would be excluded from increases if the state presses for minimum wages to be increased. The 2021 session begins on March 2nd.
Oliva informed the board that the 11 districts still in discussion are “in different parts of the negotiations.”
“Some reached a preliminary agreement but it was not ratified on the ground,” said Oliva.
“Or they have a tentative agreement that has been ratified but is not on the school board’s agenda.”
Oliva said he anticipates these districts’ plans will be presented in the coming weeks.
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Teacher salary increases were a priority for Governor Ron DeSantis in 2020, which he called “The Year of the Teacher”. But while the salary increases have been approved, the lack of teachers in the state appears to be worsening.
The State Board heard Wednesday that the Department of Education’s list of critical teacher shortage areas has grown this year. Earth and space sciences have joined eight other subjects where more certified teachers were needed. These subjects include general science, English as a second language, exceptional student education, reading, and English.
(© 2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. Do not publish, broadcast, rewrite, or redistribute this material. Florida News Service Ryan Dailey contributed to this report.)