Florida Legislature May Move Up Date of Pay Raise

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Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's teachers may get a proposed pay raise sooner than expected.

Senate President Don Gaetz on Tuesday said that legislators did not intend to delay a proposed teacher pay raise until June 2014.

House and Senate budget negotiators Sunday night agreed to spend $480 million on teacher pay raises. But they included a provision in the new $74.5 billion budget that would have delayed the pay raise until next year.

Gaetz said the intent was to require school districts to hand out the raises by that date.

A spokeswoman for the Senate said legislators will likely pass a separate bill this week that makes it clear that the raises can be distributed out prior to next summer.

Gaetz contended that the June 2014 provision came from Gov. Rick Scott's office.

By: Mike Vasilinda

Florida schools will see more than a billion new dollars in the state budget starting in July. 480 million is earmarked for teacher pay raises. Senate President Don Gaetz, says it shows Florida cares about its schools. “So there a lot of reasons that go into why a teacher would get a raise and student performance is a huge part of it.”, says Senate President Gaetz, R-Niceville.

There is 25 hundred dollars for teachers who are deemed effective. Another thousand for those who are highly effective. The merit based raises are directly contrary to the line Governor Rick Scott has been drawing in the sand, saying only across the board raises would do.

“Here’s the positive. I proposed 480 million dollars in the budget for teacher compensation. There is 480 million dollars that the legislature put in the budget. The positive is the school districts are going to have flexibility. Our teachers, all teachers are going to have the opportunity for pay raise.”, says Governor Scott.

The merit raises will be based on criteria that still being developed, and there won’t be available until June of 2014.The Union representing teachers is skeptical they will see any money at all.

“It appears that the legislative leaders really don’t like teachers and they don’t want to pay them more money. So they went through these gimmicks to make it look like they’re going to give money but most likely is not going to happen”, says Andy Ford, Florida Education Association President.

Most Florida teachers are already considered effective or highly effective and will be eligible for the pay increase.

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